As US Citizens, we have the right to a jury trial and hold the responsibility to serve as a juror. To assist you in completing the personal history questionnaire, we have provided a list of frequently asked questions. Please review this document before contacting the jury clerk. If your question cannot be answered in the text below, please e-mail us at email@example.com, fax us at (269) 657-2613, or leave a detailed message for the jury clerk at (269) 657-8260, ext. 2211.
Q: How did we get your name?
A: Once a year, the Secretary of State Driver’s License Bureau provides us with the names of Van Buren County residents who have a driver’s license or State ID. The computer then randomly chooses names and the questionnaires are mailed out.
Q: What if I’ve moved out of Van Buren County?
A: You must be a Van Buren County resident to serve as a Van Buren County juror. Please provide the court with an official document with your new mailing address and we will remove you from our mailing list. You may submit your new proof of address (a bill, lease agreement, new license) via e-mail, fax, or mail.
Q: What if I’m over 70?
A: If you are over 70, you have the choice to serve as a juror. If you choose not to serve, please return your blank questionnaire with a note on the back stating you are over 70 and choose not to serve.
Q: What if I’ve changed my name and/or my address within Van Buren County?
A: Please provide your corrected name and address on the back side of your questionnaire and we will edit your information in our database.
Q: What if the recipient is away at college?
A: Please complete the form in their absence and include the dates the recipient will be home. We can transfer their service to a more convenient time. They do not need to sign the document.
Q: I am concerned about a medical problem or disability (personal or as a caregiver) interfering with my ability to serve as a juror. What should I do?
A: We will only excuse you from jury service if you have a doctor’s note. Mail or fax a doctor’s note in and we will honor your doctor’s request.
Q: My job is too demanding and I don’t have time to serve on a jury. Do I still have to serve?
A: Yes. A summons is an official court order compelling you to appear for service. Jury duty, although sometimes inconvenient, is not an optional experience. Jurors should also know the following Michigan law:
600.1348 Jurors; threats, discharge, or discipline by employer; requiring additional hours of work; misdemeanor; penalty.
Sec. 1348 (1) An employer or the employer’s agent, who threatens to discharge or discipline or who discharges, disciplines, or cause to be discharged from employment or to be disciplined a person because that person is summoned for jury duty, serves on a jury, or has served on a jury, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may also be punished for contempt of court.
Q: What should I wear and what should I bring if I am called to serve?
A: Please wear comfortable clothing, but t-shirts, shorts, midriff baring tops, and inappropriate language and content on clothing is not allowed. You may bring snacks, lunch to eat during breaks. Only water is allowed in the courtroom. You may also bring your cell phone, book or magazine to read while you wait but they will need to be powered off and put away while in court.
Q: How long do trials last? How many days will I be called to serve?
A: The judges try to seat their juries by noon; therefore, if you are not seated on a case you are normally released by noon. This does vary. If you are chosen as juror, you should plan to be at the courthouse until 5p.m. The average trial length is one day in District Court and three days in Circuit Court. The judge will inform you of the expected length of the case during jury selection. There are 5 different color panels per 3-week term; on average, a panel will serve on one to two trials per term.
Q: Are there breaks during the day in court?
A: Yes. The judges typically break at least once mid-morning, an hour for lunch, and at least once during the afternoon.
Q: I don’t have a car or transportation. Do I still have to serve as a juror?
A: Yes. You will need to set up rides with a friend, a family member, or Van Buren Public Transit (morning only) at 269-427-7921 or 1-800-828-2015. Ride costs are $3-$6.
Q: How much are jurors paid?
A: Jurors are paid $25.00 for the first full day; $40.00 each subsequent full day; $12.50 for the first half day; $20.00 for each subsequent half day. Jurors are also compensated for mileage. Jurors will be paid $0.20 per mile from juror's home to the Courthouse. Jurors will receive a check for the total amount three weeks after assigned term ends.