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When the U.S. Constitution was written, 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.
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. Implicite 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.
The Florida Statutes specify who is qualified to be a juror. The requirements are:
If you are interested in complete legal background for jury service in Florida, you can read the actual Statute on the Florida Legislature site.
On a regular basis, the Florida Department of Highway Safety provides to the Clerk a list of all people within the county that meet the qualifications for jury duty, and also lists of those people who are to be excused from jury duty because they are either judged mentally incompetent, have been convicted of a felony, or have died.
We need to get a brief summary of the process that is involved, and how we advise people that they have been called up for a jury pool.
The laws provide for exclusion or disqualification from jury service on a number of grounds, including:
Again, the complete list of reasons for exlusion or disqualification is contained in the actual statute.
Have you received a Jury summons? If so, you might be interested in what your role will be in a jury trial. Or you may just be interested in what a jury does. Either way, this video explains a juror’s responsibilities and what they can expect.
What happens if the person is going to be away? How do they request to be excused? What happens if they don't attend?
From the FBI (Jury Duty Scam):
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for "verification purposes"-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number.
This is when you should hang up the phone. It's a scam.
If you receive a phone call from someone purporting to be from .... (what should our instructions be?)