Jury Information - Questions / Answers

Click on the links below to view the answers.

General Jury Questions:

Why is Jury Service important?
What is a Petit Jury?
What is my duty as A Juror?
What should I do if I receive a jury summons in the mail?
Do I have to respond to a jury summons?
Am I eligible to serve?
Who can be excused from jury service?
What are the different types of cases?
Who can have a jury trial?
Are there rules about Jury Conduct?
Is there a specific dress Code when reporting for jury duty?
What is Voir Dire or questioning of the Jury Panel?

Frequent Local Questions

How was I selected to receive a Jury Summons?
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?
Why am I summoned so often when my neighbor never gets called?
Will I be paid for being a Juror?
Must my employer pay me while I am on Jury Duty?
What if my employer won’t let me off to come to jury duty?
Do you have something I can take to my employer to confirm that I had Jury Duty?
How is a juror selected for a particular case in County Court at Law?
What if I have a special need or emergency?
May I postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?
I am the sole proprietor of my business, if I have to go to jury duty I have to close my business down. Is there any way I can be excused?
My job requires that I travel out of the county frequently. If I go to juryduty I don’t get paid. Can I be excused from jury 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?
I was convicted of a crime, do I still have to come to jury duty?
The person you summoned no longer lives at this address what do I do?
The person summoned is deceased, what do I do?
What if I have a disability or handicap?
Are jurors 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 here?

 

Juror Information - Questions and Answers

COUNTY COURT AT LAW, COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

General Information

There are 4 District Courts, 3 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 Texas Department of Motor Vehicle records. Before calling our office review the questions and answers below.

General 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 courts.

Q. What is a Petit Jury?

A. A Petit Jury is the jury for the trial of cases, either civil or criminal. In County Court at Law it usually consists of 6 jurors plus alternates if necessary. District Court cases usually have 12 jurors plus an alternate on the panel.
(Grand Jury is summoned by the District Clerk to consider evidence, presented by the state against a person accused of crime.)

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. It is not just a duty but your right as a citizen of the United States and a resident of Comal County.

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 of the Court that summoned you as soon as possible.

Q. Do I have to respond to a jury summons?

A. YES. The juror summons is an official court order; a person who fails to comply with a summons is subject to a contempt of court action punishable by a fine of not less that $100 nor more than $1000 (Gov Code, Section 62.0141). Additionally, a person shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $100 if the person: Fails to attend court in obedience to the notice without reasonable excuse and or files a false claim of exemption from jury service (Gov. Code 62.111)

Q. Am I eligible to serve?

Jurors must:

  1. Be a Citizen of the United States and of Texas.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Be a resident of the County that summoned you for jury duty. (Comal County).
  4. Be able to read and write.
  5. Be of sound mind.
  6. Not have served as a juror for six days in the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court
  7. Not been convicted of or under indictment for felony or a misdemeanor theft.

Q. Who can be excused from jury service?

A. You are entitled to be excused as a juror if you respond to your jury summons with a request for exemption for the following reasons:

  1. You are over 70 years of age.
  2. You have legal custody of a child or children younger than 12 years of age and service on the jury would require leaving the child or children without adequate supervision. (This exemption does not apply to childcare workers.)
  3. You are a student at a public or private high school.
  4. ou are enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education.
  5. You are an officer or an employee of the legislative branch of state government. (This exemption does not pertain to peace officers, you must be a member of the legislative branch of state government.)
  6. You are a primary caretaker of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself. (This exemption does not apply to you if you are a primary caretaker only in you capacity as a health care worker, such as a home health care worker.)
  7. You 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 county of residence.

Q. What are the different types of cases?

A. There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil (including Probate and family cases).

Criminal 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 Criminal District Attorney, must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Civil Cases:

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 are called the verdict.

Q. 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.

Q. Are there rules about Jury Conduct?

A. Yes. The Texas Supreme Court has rules to assist you in our conduct as a juror; these will be given to you by the Judge.

Q. Is there a specific dress Code when reporting for jury duty?

A. All 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. 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.

 
Frequent Local Questions

Q. How was I selected to receive a Jury Summons?

A. You were selected at random from a compiled list of voter registrations and a list of driver registrations from the county in which you live. Every person who is at least 18 years of age, is a United States citizen, a resident of Comal County and is eligible to vote in Comal County can be summoned for jury duty. You do not have to be registered to vote to be eligible for jury duty.

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?

A. No. You have to be a resident of Comal County to be on a Comal County Jury.

Q. Why am I summoned so often when my neighbor never gets called?

A. The Comal County Jury pull is accessed by District, County Court at Law and Justice of the Peace Courts. Each jury pull is by random computer generated selection. Unless you were chosen to actually sit on a jury and served for at least 6 days during the preceding 3 months in County Court or during the preceding 6 months in District Court, you remain in the jury pool and can continue to be called by random selection process.

Q. Will I be paid for being a Juror?

A. Yes. If you are present for roll call and are not rescheduled for a later date you do get paid. The pay is $10 for the first day and $40 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 service.

Q. Must my employer pay me while I am on Jury Duty?

A. Your employer is not required to pay you while you are on jury duty; however many do.

Q. What if my employer won’t let me off to come to jury duty?

A. 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. Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 122.001 Juror’s Right to Reemployment; Notice of Intent to Return.

Q. Do you have something I can take to my employer to confirm that I had Jury Duty?

A. 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. Requesting an excuse at a later date is a lengthier process.

Q. How is a juror selected for a particular case in County Court at Law?

A. Cases will usually be heard by juries of 6 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 consist of the first 6 of the remaining jurors on the panel.

Q. What if I have a special need or emergency?

A. When you receive your summons, you may contact the clerk’s office listed on your summons for assistance. After you have been selected as a juror on a trial panel, if you have a special need or an emergency, tell the bailiff.

Q. May I postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?

A. Yes, 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. I am the sole proprietor of my business, if I have to go to jury duty I have to close my business down. Is there any way I can be excused?

A. No. It is against the law for us to excuse people for economic reasons. Under certain circumstances, the Court may allow you to reschedule your jury duty for a limited period of time.

Q. My job requires that I travel out of the county frequently. If I go to jur duty I don’t get paid. Can I be excused from jury duty?

A. 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). 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?

A. 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 to come to jury duty?

A. 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?

A. 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 summoned is deceased, what do I do?

A. Put the name of the person on the card and write deceased across the card, and return it in the mail.

Q. What if I have a disability or handicap?

A. 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. Are jurors subject to search when entering a court facility?

A. Yes. 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?

A. That 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.

Link Juror’s Affidavit of Exemptions:  Juror's Affidavit of Exemption.

Q. What if I have other questions that have not been answered here?

A. On your jury summons card there should be a phone number for you to call for information for your court. District Court # 830-221-1250, County Court at Law 830-221-1248, JP#1 830-608-2025, JP#2 830-387-7600, JP#3830-626-4888, JP#4 830964-4798

For More Information in the Texas Uniform Jury Handbook

County Court at Law Portal