The Missouri Constitution guarantees each citizen a right to trial by jury in both criminal and many civil matters.
Jury service is an important duty for citizens of the United States and of Missouri. Often, however, the jury duty process can be confusing and complicated. Deputy & Mizell would like to run a series of Blogs about the Jury Duty process in our area to help you understand what is required when summoned to serve on Jury Duty.
The first in our series will focus on how you get summoned for jury duty, and what to do once you have received your summons. Information for our blogs is gathered from www.courts.mo.gov.
Eligibility and Ineligibility/Disqualification
A person is eligible for jury service if he or she is over age 21; a United States citizen; a resident of the county or city sending the summons, unless serving in another county by order of the court; and able to read, speak, and understand English. A person is not eligible for jury service if convicted of a felony, unless restored to civil rights; in the active military; a judge; or a person who the court or jury commissioners find incapable because of mental or physical illness.
Summons and Qualification Form
A summons for jury service and a juror qualification form are the initial documents that call you, as a prospective juror, to service. The qualification form is a questionnaire sent to citizens to determine if they are qualified to serve as a juror. You may or may not receive a qualification form with your summons. When you receive a summons and/or qualification form, read it and follow the instructions. Respond honestly and within the time indicated. It is important to take the summons seriously because a person who fails to appear or respond may be guilty of civil contempt, enforceable by an order to show cause for the failure to comply and by a fine up to $500. If you have any questions, contact the jury office of the court that summoned you at the phone number on the documents you received.
If you are unable to serve during the time requested on your summons, contact your local jury office. You can apply for a postponement. When requested, postponements shall be granted, provided that:
(1) The prospective juror has not previously been granted a postponement;
(2) The prospective juror appears in person or contacts the board of jury commissioners by telephone, electronic mail, or in writing to request a postponement; and
(3) Prior to the grant of a postponement the court shall set the date on which the prospective juror will appear for jury service that is not more than six months after the date on which the prospective juror originally was called to serve and on which date the court will be in session. If a prospective juror is a full-time student of any accredited institution, the court shall set the date on which the prospective juror will appear for jury service that is not more than twelve months after the date on which the prospective juror originally was called to serve and on which the court will be in session.
An employer may not terminate, discipline, threaten or take adverse action against an employee on account of that employee’s receipt of or response to a jury summons. An employee discharged in violation of this law may bring a civil action against the employer within ninety days of discharge for recovery of lost wages and other damages and for an order reinstating the employee. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be entitled to receive a reasonable lawyer’s fee.
An employee may not be required or requested to use annual, vacation, personal, or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty, time spent participating in the jury selection process, or time spent actually serving on a jury.
Stay tuned for a future blog on the process of a jury trial and what you can expected if selected for the Jury. Serving on a jury can be an enjoyable and educational experience!
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