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Jury panels for Magistrate’s Court are comprised of six members; Circuit courts are 12 members. Circuit courts usually require their jurors to return to the court each day for service. Magistrate’s Court selects jurors and notifies them of dates and times to return. If not selected to serve on a case, jurors do not have to return. Jurors in Magistrate’s Court hear criminal misdemeanors, traffic cases, small claims and minor civil disputes.
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Unless you are disqualified or exempted from jury duty, you must appear on the date and time of your jury summons. The Magistrate must grant all other excuses.
When appearing in the Summary Court, someone directs you to the courtroom and instructs you on where you are to sit. When the roll call session begins, a court clerk will call the roll of all parties involved in the cases and then call a roll of the jurors. The Clerk may ask you to stand and identify yourself and briefly state your occupation and the occupation of your spouse.
After the roll call, the judge will read a series of "voir dire" questions that are meant to inform the court whether a juror has prior knowledge of a case, is related to any of the parties involved, or if there are any prejudices and opinions of the juror that would prevent them from making a fair decision. Once this process is completed, the court proceeds in selecting jury panels for each case. The parties involved step forward and the jurors are randomly drawn. The court calls each juror and both sides have an opportunity to accept or decline the potential juror. If the juror is accepted, they will step into the jury box throughout the completion of jury selection.
A clerk will review the names and verify phone numbers where jury panel members may be reached during the week; the jurors will be given a slip of paper that indicates the date and time of the trial they are to hear. The jurors return to their seats and the court draws the next jury until all cases have jurors selected. The court selects a total of six jurors and one alternate for each case.