Frequently Asked Local Jury Questionsy Questions
What are the
different Courts and their jurisdictions?
What is a
What is a Grand
How are Jurors selected? I get called every year
and my neighbor never gets called.
I do if I receive a jury summons in the mail?
Who may be called to serve as a juror?
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?
I just served on jury duty 2 years ago, last year, 6
months ago – why was I called again so soon?
Do I have to
respond to a jury summons?
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?
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?
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?
you summoned no longer lives at this address, what
do I do?
The person you summons is deceased, what do I do?
postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?
What if I have a disability or handicap?
my job and how can I serve if my employer won't let
me off or won't pay me?
Do you have something I can take to my employer to
confirm that I had Jury Duty?
Why do they
ask so many personal questions and do I have to
Is there a specific dress code when reporting for
subject to search when entering a court facility?
Can I be permanently excused from Jury Duty?
What if I
have other questions that have not been answered
Events Of The Trial
Presentation Of Evidence:
Rulings By The Judge:
Instructions To The Jury:
Deliberations And Verdict Of The
When In Doubt, Ask The Judge:
Juror Information -
Questions & Answers
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
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
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 Jury Service?
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
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
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
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
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. Jury 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
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 Jury.
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
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.
What should I do if I receive a jury summons in the mail.
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 juror?
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 Comal County.
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 and
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
Q. What if I have a
disability or handicap?
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 jury service.
Q. What about my job and
how can I serve if my employer won’t let me off or won’t pay
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
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 jury duty?
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
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
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.
Deliberations And 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
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
NOTE: Not all of these rules apply
in Justice or Municipal Courts: