P.O. Box 1319
Dahlonega, GA 30533-1319
Phone: (706) 482-0185
Fax: (706) 482-0187
E-mail: ninthjad@windstream.net

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Jury Duty in the Bell Forsyth Circuit.

What is a traverse jury?

The traverse, or petit jury is a trial jury impaneled to hear evidence in a civil or criminal case.

Is my employer supposed to pay me while I am here serving?

Under Georgia law, an employer cannot penalize an employee attending court in response to a summons for jury duty (O.C.G.A. 34-1-3(a)). Further, a 1989 Georgia Attorney General's Opinion states "an employee is entitled to be paid his salary while missing work to serve on jury duty" (Opinion of the Attorney General Number 89-55). The best thing to do is discuss your jury service with your employer as soon as you receive a summons.

How old do you have to be before you don't have to serve anymore?

Persons aged 70 or above may sign an affidavit available in the clerk of court's office asking that their name be removed from the jury list.

How are the jurors picked?

Jurors are picked randomly from a list of eligible citizens maintained by the county Board of Jury Commissioners. The court notifies the clerk of how many jurors are needed for a particular week of court. Utilizing the list of potential jurors, a computer randomly selects the required number of citizens needed for service that week. For more information on the selection of jurors, see the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit Internal Operating Procedure 98-11.

Are the jurors picked from the voters list?

The voter list is just one of several sources used by the Jury Commission to make up the jury list of eligible citizens.

How do I get my name out of the jury box?

In Georgia, no citizen otherwise eligible for jury duty is exempt from jury service. Individuals aged 70 or older are the only ones allowed to request the removal of their name from the jury box (see question number 3). On the other hand, under guidelines established by the court, any person called to jury duty may request a deferral of service to another date. For more information on deferrals and/or excusals, see the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit Internal Operating Procedure 98-12.

How much do I get paid?

Jurors are paid an expense allowance of $25.00 for each day they are required to report for duty.

I have small children at home. Do I have to serve? Is child care provided?

A deferral from jury service may be requested if an undue hardship exists related to the care of small children. If granted, the deferral may delay your date of service, but it will not remove your responsibility to eventually fulfill a duty of citizenship in this country. There is no child care service furnished at the courthouse. Childcare plans should be finalized well in advance of your reporting date.

I am a college student and cannot miss my classes. Do I have to attend?

Students may receive a deferral from service during the school year, but students are not totally excused from jury service.

How long do I have to be there?

Jury duty usually lasts one week. If your services are not needed on a particular day during the week you are summoned, you will be excused and told when to return. Some trials may last longer than one week, and jurors assigned to those cases will, of necessity, be required to continue to serve until the conclusion of the trial.

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