Juror Information - Questions and Answers
General Jury Questions
Q. Why Is Jury Service Important?
A. The United States
Constitution and the Texas Constitution guarantee all
people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national
origin, or economic status, the right to trial by an
impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends to a large
measure upon the quality of the jurors who serve in our
Q. What Is My Duty As A Juror?
A. As a juror, you must be
fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be
free of any bias or prejudice. Your actions and
decisions are the foundation of our judicial system.
Q. How Was I Selected?
A. You were selected at
random from a list of voter registrations and a list of
driver registrations from the county in which you live.
Q. Am I Eligible?
- Be a citizen of the United States and of this State.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Reside in the county of jury service.
- Be able to read and write.
- Be of sound mind.
You cannot serve on a jury if:
- You have been convicted of a felony or of any type of theft (unless rights have been restored);
- You are now on probation or deferred adjudication for a felony or for any type of theft;
- You are now under indictment for a felony or are now under criminal charges for any type of theft.
If you are in doubt, or think you
may not be qualified to serve on a jury for one of the
above or any other reasons, please notify the Jury Clerk
Who Can Be Excused From
A. You are entitled to be excused as a juror if you:
- Are over 70 years of age;
- Have legal custody of a child under 10 years of age and jury service would leave the child unsupervised;
- Are a student in class;
- Are the caretaker of a person who is unable to care for themselves (an invalid);
- Can show a physical or mental impairment or an inability to comprehend or to communicate in English.
- Are a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty and deployed to a location away from your home station and out of your country of resident.
What Are The Different
Types Of Cases?
A. There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil (including family cases).
A criminal case results when a person is accused of committing a crime. You, as a juror,
must decide whether the person charged is guilty or not guilty. The accused
person is presumed innocent, and the State, represented by the District or
County Attorney, must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."
A civil case results from a disagreement or dispute between two or more parties. In a civil
case, you, as a juror, must answer questions of disputed facts based upon
the testimony and evidence admitted by the Judge. The answers to these
questions are called the verdict.
Will I Be Paid For Being A Juror?
A. Yes. If you come in and are not rescheduled for a later date you do get paid.
The pay is $10.00 for the first day and $28.00 for each
subsequent day. You will receive a Payment/Donation form
when you report in for jury duty. Be sure to fill that
out and return it to the clerk's office before you
complete your jury service.
Must My Employer Pay Me While I am On Jury Duty?
A. Your employer is not
required to pay you while on jury duty: however,
employers are prohibited by law from firing an employee
for serving as a juror.
Who Can Have A Jury Trial?
A. Any person charged with
a criminal offense or any party to a civil case has a
right to a jury trial. All parties are equal before the
law and each is entitled to the same fair treatment.
Are There Rules About Jury Conduct?
A. Yes. The Texas Supreme
Court has rules to assist you in your conduct as a
juror, which will be given to you by the Judge.
How Is A Juror Selected For A Particular Case?
A. Cases will usually be
heard by juries of 12 jurors. A larger group, called a
panel, will be sent to the trial court (courtroom) where
the jurors will be questioned under the supervision of
the Judge. A juror may be excused from the panel if it
is shown that the juror cannot act impartially
concerning the case to be heard. In addition, each side
is allowed to remove a given number of jurors from the
panel without having to show any reason. The trial jury
will be the first 12 of the remaining jurors on the
What Is Voir Dire Or Questioning Of The Jury Panel?
A. It is a way for the
parties to select a fair and impartial jury. Under the
justice system, you may be questioned by each of the
lawyers before they decide to remove a certain number of
jurors from the jury panel. For example, the lawyer may
ask you questions to see if you are connected to the
trial or if you have any prejudice or bias toward anyone
in the trial. These questions are not intended to
embarrass you, but rather to help the lawyers in the
jury selection process. You may ask the Judge to allow
you to answer some questions away from the other jurors.
What If I Have A Special Need or Emergency?
A. After you have been
selected as a juror on a trial panel, if you have a
special need or an emergency, tell the bailiff.
FREQUENTLY ASKED JURY QUESTIONS
There are 4 District Courts, 2
County Court At Law Courts, 4 Justice of the Peace Courts in Comal
County that pull jurors from the Comal County Jury Wheel. You may
also be summoned by the municipal court for the town you live in (i.e.
New Braunfels) or for Federal Jury Duty, which do not fall under Comal
County authority. ury service is mandatory and prospective
juror names are obtained from Voter Registration and Department
of Motor Vehicle records. Before calling our office review the
questions and answers below.
Q. What is a Petit Jury?
A. A Petit Jury is the jury
for the trial of cases, either civil or criminal.
It can consist of 6 or 12 persons, plus alternates if
necessary. District, County, Justice of the
Peace and Municipal Courts can all summon you for Petit
Q. What is a Grand Jury?
A. A grand jury is summoned
to consider whether the evidence, presented by the state
against a person accused of crime, warrant his
indictment. The responsibility for grand juries
belongs to the District Clerk and District Judges.
Q. How are Jurors selected? I
get called every year and my neighbor never gets called.
A. Jury selection is done
through both your voter registration number and your driver's license number. Each time is
a random selection (honest) by the computer, your odds
do not decrease if you've already been called once this
year because your name is always in the jury pool.
Q. What should I
do if I receive a jury summons in the mail.
A. READ THE SUMMONS. The summons contains a great
deal of information about where, when and how to report
for jury service, as well as a questionnaire that
needs to be completed and returned to the clerk for the
court that summoned you.
Q. Who may be called to serve as a
Every person who is at least 18 years of age, is a United
States citizen, a resident of Comal County, and
eligible to vote in Comal County can be summoned for
juty duty. (Note: you don't have to be registered
to vote, you just have to be able to register if you
Q. I live in New Braunfels but I am a Guadalupe County resident not a
Comal County resident – do I still have to come to jury duty?
You must be a Comal County resident to serve on jury
duty in ComalCounty.
Q. I just served on jury duty 2 years ago, last year, 6 months ago – why was I called again so soon!
you were chosen to actually sit on a juror and served
for at least 6 days during the preceding 3 months in
County Court or during the preceding 6 month in District
Court; you remain in the jury pool and can
continue to be called be the random selection process.
(In other words your name goes back into the same large
pool and your odds are the same at getting selected as
if you had never been chosen.
Q. Do I have to respond to a jury summons?
Absolutely Yes. The juror summons is an official
court order; failure to obey such an Order could result
in a finding of contempt of court; you could be arrested
Q. I am the sole proprietor of my business – if I
have to go to jury duty I have to close my office down – Is there any way I can be excused?
No. It is against the law
for us to excuse people for economic reasons.
Under certain circumstances the Court may allow you to
postpone jury duty but only for a limited time.
Q. I am a cross-country truck driver,
traveling nurse, insurance disaster adjustor (my job requires that I
travel out of the county frequently). If I go to jury duty I don't
get paid, or I will still be out of the county at the time of the
summons – Can I be excused from duty?
No. The best we can do is
postpone you to jury duty within the following one to
two months. So long as you are a resident of this
county and qualified to vote in this county you are
responsible for serving on jury duty. (you
do not have to be registered to vote to be qualified as
a juror). Again it is against the law to excuse
people for economic reasons.
Q. I am an RV'er, I don't actually live in Comal County, I just
use the Address for voting and to pay taxes, can I be exempt?
No. If you are registered
to vote in this county or register your vehicles or pay
U.S. or county taxes from this address then you are a
resident of this county and obligated to serve jury duty
in this county.
Q. I was convicted of a crime, do I still have come to jury duty?
It depends. If it was a
felony and your rights have not been restored you are no
longer eligible to serve on jury duty. If it was a
misdemeanor crime (other than theft) you are still
eligible to serve on jury duty.
Q. The person you summoned no longer lives at this address what do I do?
Fill out the card with the name and address of the person, if
known, or write across the card no longer at this
address and return it in the mail.
Q. The person you summoned is deceased, what do I do.
Put the name of the person on the card and write deceased
across the card, and return it in the mail.
Q. May I postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?
under certain circumstances, such as temporary health
problems, paid vacations or business trips and other
serious personal commitments. Such postponements
are subject to the needs of the court. Depending
on the court most postponements can only be postponed
for 30 days.
Q. What if I have a disability or
Everyone who is eligible to be on jury duty cannot be
discriminated against because of a disability. If
you wish to serve just call the court that summoned you
to find out what accommodations are available. If
you do not wish to serve because of your disability you
will need to obtain a letter from your doctor
stating that your disability precludes you from serving
on jury duty.
Q. Do I get
paid for jury service?
If you come in and are not rescheduled to a later date
you will get paid. The pay is: $10.00 for the
first day and $28.00 for each subsequent day. You
will receive a Payment/Donation form when you report in
for jury duty. Be sure to fill it out and return
it to the clerk's office by the time you complete your
Q. What about my job and how can I
serve if my employer won't let me off or won't pay me?
Under the law your employer must
let you off for jury service. Employers cannot
discharge or otherwise penalize an employee who is
summoned to court to serve as a juror. Many
employers are good corporate citizens and continue the
jurors wages and benefits throughout the period of
service. However, they are not required to pay
you, and some companies and smaller businesses may not.
Check with your employer regarding their policies
regarding jury duty. If your employer asks you to
postpone your jury service – you may be asked to provide
written confirmation from your employer.
Q. Do you have something I can take to my employer
to confirm that I had Jury Duty?
Yes. Once your jury duty is
completed we can give you a work excuse to turn in to
your employer. All school districts in the area
require their faculty to bring back a work excuse as do
many other employers. Please check with your
employer regarding their policy about jury duty.
It is your responsibility to get your work excuse BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you are not sure your
employer requires a work excuse; it takes only a few
minutes to get one before you leave as opposed to the
hassle for all involved if you call up days or a weeks
later requesting one.
Q. Why do they ask so many personal
questions and do I have to answer them?
You do have to answer the
questions on the jury summons card. Everybody who
is summoned into court as a juror comes with past life
experiences and opinions which may effect the way a
person views evidence or testimony of some witnesses.
The process of questioning prospective jurors is called
“voir dire” and is controlled by the judge. The
process is designed to select the most fair and
impartial jurors for that particular case.
Q. Is there a specific dress code
when reporting for jury duty?
persons should be dressed in clothing reasonable
befitting the dignity and solemnity of the court
proceedings. Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs,
caps, hats, river/ beach shoes are not permitted.
Courtrooms are air conditioned, for your comfort you may
wish to bring a light jacket.
Q. Are jurors subject to search when
entering a court facility?
Anyone entering a court facility, including employees,
attorneys, and prospective jurors are subject to being
searched. Do not bring any items that may
possibly be used as a weapon.
Q. Can I be permanently excused from
depends on your circumstances. To be permanently
excused you have to fill out a permanent exemption form.
You may also need a letter from your doctor if it is for
health related reasons (mental or physical). Once
the documentation is received it is sent to a District
Judge to decide whether or not you can be permanently
exempted. Once it is approved, the District
Clerk's office will send it on to the Voter Registration
Office to have you removed from the jury pool.
However the jury wheel is reconstituted every year and
occasionally exemptions that were entered are deleted by
the computer; so please keep a copy of your form and
your documentation in case you get summoned again.
Q. What if I have other questions
that have not been answered here?
On your jury summons card in the
top right hand corner is the juror information number
for the court that summoned you. There are 4
District Courts, 2 County Court At Law courts, and 4
Justice of the Peace Courts, from within the county that
can call you for jury duty, so be sure to check
the phone number on the card
Order Of Events Of The Trial
The lawyers for each side may
explain the case, the evidence they will present, and
the issues for you to decide.
Presentation Of Evidence:
The evidence consists of the
testimony of witnesses and the exhibits allowed by the
Judge. Exhibits admitted into evidence will be available
to the jury for examination during deliberations. You
have a right to ask for them. You will be asked to make
decisions regarding disputed facts: therefore, your
attention at all times is critically important. Juror
note taking or the use of any notes will be determined
by the Judge.
Rulings By The Judge:
The Judge may be asked to decide
questions of law during the trial. Occasionally, the
Judge may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while the
lawyers make their legal arguments. The jurors should
understand that such interruptions are needed to make
sure that their verdict is based upon proper evidence,
as determined by the Judge under the Rules of Evidence.
You may give the evidence whatever weight you consider
Instructions To The Jury:
At the close of all the evidence,
the Judge may submit to the jury the Charge of the
Court. This will include legal instructions on this
particular case and the questions that the jury is to
answer from the evidence admitted.
After the Charge of the Court, the
lawyers have the opportunity to summarize the evidence
in their closing arguments and to try to persuade the
jury to accept their client's view of the case.
Verdict Of The Jury:
Following closing arguments, the
jury is sent to deliberate. When the jury has answered
the questions asked of them they shall return their
verdict. The verdict must be based solely on the
evidence presented by the parties, the Charge of the
Court, and the rules of law provided by the Judge.
When In Doubt, Ask The Judge:
You have the right to communicate
with the Judge regarding any matters affecting your
deliberations, including but not limited to: 1) physical
comfort: 2) special needs: 3) any questions regarding
evidence; or, 4) the Charge of the Court. During
deliberation, if it becomes necessary to communicate
with the Judge, the bailiff or the officer of the court
will deliver jurors' notes to the Judge. The information
in this handbook is not intended to take the place of
the instructions given by the Judge in any case. In the
event of conflict, the Judge's instructions will
NOTE: Not all of these rules
apply in Justice or Municipal Courts: