One of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights was that of Trial By Jury
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense”.
– U.S. Constitution, Amendment VI.
That concept was revolutionary in the 18th Century, where trials were often a foregone conclusion, juries (if used) were hand-picked by the government or rulers, and the accused did not have the right to challenge his accusers or have proper assistance in his defense. Today, the right to a fair trial before a jury of one’s peers is a foundation of our democracy, and one of the hallmarks of an open, just and free society.
However, a person can only obtain a trial before such an impartial jury if sufficient people step forward to serve on these juries. Implicit in us having the right of a trial before an impartial jury is that we also accept our responsibility of serving on a jury when required.
You will be expected to report for jury duty on the date shown on your summons. If you believe that you do not qualify because of one of the reasons below, you may return the juror excusal form to our Jury Clerk.
Exemptions from reporting for jury duty are as follows:
- You have served as a juror in Clay County within the past 12 months
- You have been convicted of a felony and have not had your civil rights restored
The Clerk’s Office can excuse you from jury duty for one of the following reasons:
- You are 70 years of age or older
- You are an expectant mother or a parent that is not employed full-time and has custody of a child under six years of age
- You are a law enforcement officer or investigator
- You are responsible for the care of someone mentally or physically unable to care for themselves
- A person may be excused from jury service upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity
- You are not a citizen of Clay County
- You are not a citizen of the United States
Selection of Jurors
To be selected as a juror, you must be at least 18 years of age, possess a valid Florida Driver’s License or Identification card, and be a resident of Clay County. A list of Clay County Juror names are supplied annually by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to create a “pool” of names from which prospective jurors will be summoned. Each week a list of prospective jurors are selected randomly from this “pool” of names and summoned to appear on a specific date and time. The names of non-driver Florida (Clay County) residents who wish to voluntarily submit affidavits offering their names for possible use in compiling jury lists also may be included.
Please report to the Jury Assembly Room, Second Floor, Courtroom 2, Clay County Courthouse. You may wish to bring reading or writing material as delays may occur during jury assignment and selection. Jury service lasts for one day or, if you are selected for a jury, for the length of the trial. Please dress appropriately. Casual clothes are not appropriate. No jeans. A coat and tie for a man, a dress or pants suit for a woman, or military or other uniform are appropriate. Please bring an acceptable form of identification such as a Florida Driver’s License, Florida Identification Card or a Passport.
Failure to Appear
In accordance with Florida Statute 40.23(3), any person who is duly summoned to attend as a juror in any court and who fails to attend without any sufficient excuse shall pay a fine not to exceed $100, which fine shall be imposed by the court to which the juror was summoned, and, in addition, such failure may be considered a contempt of court.
Jurors who are regularly employed and who continue to receive wages while serving as a juror are not entitled to receive compensation from the state for the first three days of juror service. Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not continue to receive regular wages while serving as a juror are entitled to receive $15 per day for the first three days of juror service. Each juror who serves more than three days is entitled to be paid by the state for the fourth day of service and each day thereafter at the rate of $30 per day of service. Jurors are not entitled to additional reimbursement by the state for travel or other out-of-pocket expenses. The sheriff, when required by order of the court, shall provide juries with meals and lodging, the expense to be taxed against and paid by the state.
Length of Service
The first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials to be held during that trial week. Jurors selected to serve will be required to return on the date(s) of that trial.
Types of Trials
Cases which come before a petit jury are divided into two general classes: Civil and Criminal.
In a civil trial, parties in dispute come into court to determine and settle their case. The person who brings an action against another is the “plaintiff”. The person against whom the action is brought is the “defendant”.
In a criminal trial, the people of the State of Florida, represented by the State Attorney, brings charges against the defendant. The State Attorney is commonly referred to as the “prosecutor”. The “defendant” is a person or corporation accused of a violation of law.
The grand jury consists of 15 to 21 members who serve a six-month term of duty with the court. (The term can be extended by the court for up to 90 days to allow for completion of unfinished business.) At least 12 members of the panel must vote in agreement to return an indictment. Grand jurors are paid on the same basis as trial jurors for every day they meet in session during the term of court. A grand jury has broad powers to investigate a wide range of criminal offenses and to examine the performance of public officials and public institutions. Its deliberations are conducted in secret, in conjunction with the State Attorney or a designated assistant state attorney. Grand jurors are given the following oath, as prescribed by Florida Statute 905.10:
You, as grand jurors for Clay County do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire into all matters put in your charge and you will make true presentments of your findings; unless ordered by a court, you will not disclose the nature or substance of the deliberations of the grand jury, the nature or substance of any testimony or other evidence, the vote of the grand jury, or the statements of the state attorney; you shall not make a presentment against a person because of envy, hatred, or malice, and you shall not fail to make a presentment against a person because of love, fear, or reward. So help you God.
Americans with Disabilities Act
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities who need any accommodation to participate in this proceeding are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the ADA Coordinator at 904-255-1695 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least 7 days before your scheduled appearance. If you are hearing impaired, please call 711.