Answers to several common questions regarding jury duty at the 59th District Court are listed below. If you do not see the answer to your questions in this list, you may find it in the State Bar of Michigan Juror Manual, or you may call the court office at (616) 453-5765 (Walker) or (616) 538-9660 (Grandville) and ask to speak with the jury clerk.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT JURY SERVICE - 59th DISTRICT COURT
1. When and where must I report for juror service?
You must report on the date, time, and location indicated on the summons you received.
2. Will I be given any other confirmation before the day of jury duty?
No. You must plan to come ready to serve at the time indicated on your summons. You may, however, be called by a court clerk if trial is cancelled and your service is no longer needed.
3. Who should I notify if I cannot appear for jury service?
If your summons date falls within a previously scheduled vacation or necessary medical services, call the court as soon as possible, as your service as a juror is extremely important. You will be asked to present proof of plans, i.e. doctor's note, plane tickets, hotel reservation confirmation, etc. The judge ultimately decides whether you may be excused or have your jury service postponed.
4. If I have a problem concerning my jury service, will I be given an opportunity to discuss it with the judge?
If you require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to successfully participate in jury duty, fill out and submit a request for accommodations form found here, as soon as possible before the trial date.
If your issue is not regarding a disability, you should first write a letter to the judge before the day of your jury service explaining your problem. At the time of the jury selection, you will be given an opportunity to discuss any problems regarding urgent personal matters of jurors and employers as to possible postponements, limitations on the length of jury service, compensation, qualifications for jury service, and any other condition of jury service.
5. How long will the trial last?
Most trials last one day. If a trial is expected to last more than one day, you will be informed at the time of the jury selection. Generally the court is in session until 5 p.m. but sometimes it goes later. The judge may give the jury the option of whether to complete the trial or return the next day.
6. Can I be summoned for jury duty again after this service?
Once you complete your obligation under this summons, you will be exempt from jury duty in this court and other courts in the state of Michigan for one year.
7. What happens if there is an emergency while I am serving on the jury?
If there is an emergency, you may be contacted via the court's phone number (Grandville Court 538-9660 or Walker Court 453-5765). The judge will decide what to do.
8. What do I do if I am not feeling well or if I have some personal problem while serving on the jury?
You should feel as comfortable as possible during your jury service. If you need help, bring the matter to the attention of the court staff and we'll try to help. If you cannot hear a witness or have to take a break during the trial, please raise your hand and let the judge know of your problem.
9. What is the likelihood that I will actually be selected to the jury?
The probability is a little under 50 percent. Six people will be selected on a trial but we initially summon more than six people in case some are excused for cause or on peremptory challenges.
10. How was I chosen for juror service?
You were chosen at random from the list of licensed drivers and state ID card holders.
11. Are many people excused from serving on a jury?
No. Jury service is a civic duty which every citizen must perform. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, clergy, homemakers, legislators, police, firefighters, public officials, executives, laborers, teachers, and even judges must serve. The law does allow, however, jury duty exemptions for those over the age of 70, full-time students, and nursing mothers, all with applicable proof.
12. Before I am selected for a jury, will I be asked questions and why?
Before a jury is selected, the judge and lawyers will acquaint the jurors with the parties, witnesses, and circumstances in the case. Some or all of the following questions may be asked: Do you know any of the parties or witnesses or lawyers in this case? Do you have any prior knowledge of this case? Have you formed or expressed an opinion about this case or this type of case? Do you have any bias or prejudice against either side? Do you have any personal interest in the case? Is there any other reason why you would not be impartial if you served as a juror in this case? These questions are intended to insure that the jurors will be fair and impartial. If your answer to any of these questions is "yes", or if there is any reason why you cannot be indifferent in the case, you should raise your hand and bring the matter to the attention of the judge. The judge will then decide whether or not you should be excused from that case.