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Jury selection takes place at different times and frequencies, depending on the number of jury trials scheduled by the Courts. The county Grand Jurors are selected once each year, whereas the Common Pleas and General Sessions juries are drawn on almost weekly.
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Each year, the State Election Commission provides Georgetown County with a list containing the names of registered voters, persons holding valid driver’s licenses, and persons with state identification cards. Duplicate names and persons under the age of 18 have already been stricken from the list by the state. This list is used by Georgetown County to create a computer file from which jurors are selected. The jury selection computer program ensures that jurors are selected completely at random. The Circuit Courts (General Sessions and Common Pleas) select jurors from throughout the entire county. Once selected, summonses are created and mailed to the persons selected for service.
Persons chosen for jury service in the Courts of General Sessions and Common Pleas are exempted from further service in those courts for a period of three years following the year in which they served. The computer selection program marks the names of persons selected for service so that they cannot be chosen again until their exemption period has passed. However, this does not prevent you from being picked to serve on a Magistrate’s Court jury, Coroner’s Court jury or a Municipal (City) Court jury. The exemption period for Grand Jurors is five years following the year of service.
Municipal (City) Courts select juries independently of the County Courts, and may have different rules regarding jury selection and service.
Unless you are disqualified, exempted, or have been excused by the Clerk of Court, you are required to appear in court at the day and time specified on the jury summons. Failure to appear may result in a citation for contempt of court, and a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest. Persons seeking to be excused should contact the jury clerk. If you do not contact the jury clerk, or should the jury clerk be unable to excuse you, you are required to appear on the first day of the jury term and request the judge to excuse you. If you choose not to appear at all, the judge will order a sheriff’s deputy to pick you up and you can be held in contempt.
For more detailed explanations regarding jury duty, call 843-545-3215 or call 843-545-3037 to speak to the jury clerk.
You may be disqualified from jury service (not allowed to serve) if:
Failure to state such disqualifying facts upon questioning by the judge, clerk of court or hearing officer is punishable as contempt of court. Likewise, furnishing false or misleading information on a Juror Response Form may also subject you to penalties for contempt of court. None of the following is eligible to serve as a juror:
No member of a grand jury, which returned an indictment, may be on the petit jury for the trial of the case.
If you have been summoned to appear as a juror in the Court of Common Pleas, or the Court of General Sessions, you should have received a Juror Response Form with your summons. If you meet any of the above-named criteria for disqualification, you should indicate as much on your Response Form and return it within two calendar days in the return envelope provided, and it will not be necessary for you to appear on the date specified on the summons.
You have the choice to serve or not serve if you are 65 years old or older, or if you were inadvertently summoned after having served within the past three calendar years as a circuit court juror. If you meet any of the above-listed criteria for exemption, you should indicate as much on your response form and return it in the return envelope within two calendar days. If you return the form in time it will not be necessary for you to appear on the date specified on the summons.
You may ask the presiding Judge to excuse you from jury service if you can show good and sufficient reason by application filed with the clerk of court, showing why you should not have to serve. Typical reasons might include temporary or permanent physical disability, or an unemployed custodial parent with children under the age of 7 without means of providing adequate care while performing jury duty. Before you can be excused for one of these reasons, you may be asked to furnish an affidavit to the Clerk of Court.
Typically, you will not be excused for work-related reasons. It is against the law for an employer to penalize you for performing jury service or to prevent you from serving as a juror. If you are currently involved in an important project, going out of town on business or having to work extra hours, you may be able to reschedule your jury service to a more convenient date. You should contact the jury clerk at 843-545-3037 if you wish to reschedule your jury service for another term of court. The clerk may accommodate the transferal request if one has not already been granted.
Upon completion of your service as a juror, request a letter from the clerk of court, which will indicate the number of days and dates you served as a juror, and the amount of compensation you will receive. This letter may be given to your employer as proof of your service as a juror.
Yes, persons seeking a postponement of service should contact the Clerk of Court. You will be asked to state your reasons for seeking the postponement, but postponements are generally granted for good cause. Typical reasons might be a student with final exams scheduled for the same week as the jury term, someone recovering from a serious illness, or a businessperson who expects to be out of town on business. If the postponement is allowed, you will be informed of a new date on which to report for jury duty. Your jury service may be postponed only one time.