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Jury Selection

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How was I selected and what is the first step that I must take if I receive a summons for jury duty?
A.
Baltimore County citizens are selected at random from a merged Motor/Voter list in accordance with the Maryland law. No one can volunteer for jury duty. Each year, approximately 100,000 citizens are sent juror summonses. Enclosed with each summons is a questionnaire which must be completed immediately and returned to the Jury Office. The answers to all questionnaires are evaluated to make sure that each individual is eligible for jury service. If you do not qualify for service, you will receive a notice that you do not have to report. Otherwise, you must follow the call-in procedures on your jury summons.

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Q. What is the eligibility criteria for selection?
A.
To be eligible for jury duty, you must be 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Baltimore County and be able to read, write and speak English. If you have been convicted of a felony, you must have had your civil rights restored. If you are 70 years or older and wish an exemption (an excuse) from jury service, you may indicate this on the qualification form.

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Q. What is the difference between being selected for grand jury or serving as a petit juror?
A.
Grand jurors meet two (2) days a week and serve for a period of four (4) months. They are responsible for reviewing the testimony and evidence in a case to determine if there is sufficient information to indict (or charge) the accused. Petit jurors, on the other hand, determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant in criminal cases as well as determine the liability and damages of the parties in civil cases.

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Q. If I serve on petit or grand jury, how long will it be before I am called again?
A.
Upon completion of jury duty, state law provides that you will not be eligible to be called again for three years.

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Q. Can I be excused because of my employment?
A.
Jury duty is a civic obligation. Because the system in Baltimore County is one trial/one day, no excuses are permitted due to employment hardship. If sufficient justification is given, you may be able to reschedule your reporting time until another date; however, jurors are generally not excused because of their employment status. It is also important to note that Maryland law states that an employer may not deprive an employee of their employment due to time lost responding to jury service.

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Q. Can I be excused for medical reasons?
A.
 A juror must provide a physician's verification note on a prescription pad or letterhead signed by a doctor which details why you cannot serve, and the length or duration of the illness or problem. This verification can be sent to the Jury Office with your questionnaire or can be faxed by you or the doctor to 410-887-5721. It is important to remember that you do not always have to make a doctor's appointment in order to obtain this verification. Often this can be processed by calling your physician and having it faxed directly to the Jury Office at the above number.

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Q. What if I am summonsed and I am not a U.S. citizen?
A.
If you are not a citizen of the United States you cannot serve on jury duty. You must complete the Juror Qualification Form and return it in the envelope provided with a photocopy of your resident alien or green card.

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Q. What if I am summonsed and I am no longer a resident of Baltimore County?
A. If you have moved from Baltimore County, you must complete the Juror Qualification Form and return it in the envelope provided with a photocopy of your new driver's license, lease/mortgage agreement or real estate tax bill.

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Q. What if I have been summonsed and have a criminal charge pending or have been convicted of a crime?
A. If you have a charge pending for a crime punishable by a sentence exceeding six months imprisonment, you must supply the type of charge and the name of the jurisdiction in which it is pending on the completed Juror Qualification Form and return it in the envelope provided. If you have been convicted of a crime you must supply the case number, charge and time served over six months on the completed Juror Qualification Form and return it in the envelope provided to you.

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Q. What do I need to provide if I have been summonsed and I am an active duty member of the Armed Forces?
A. You must complete the Juror Qualification Form and return it in the envelope provided, or you may complete the form online, but you must submit a copy of your orders or a copy of a letter from your Commanding Officer stating that you are currently on active duty.

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Q. What if I am summonsed and I am a full-time student?
A. If you are a full-time student, you must furnish a copy of your student ID, class schedule or tuition statement.

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Revised August 24, 2012

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