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© 2005 McLennan County. All rights reserved.

 

District Clerk

Karen Matkin

300 Courthouse Annex
501 Washington Avenue
Waco, Texas 76701
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2451
Waco, TX 76703
 
 

(254) 757-5054

  (254) 757-5126 - Juror Information
 

 



 
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Juror Information/Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

When you receive your jury summons you should open it, read the card and review this website prior to calling the number on the card.  

When you enter the Courthouse you will pass through a metal detector and anything you carry will pass through an x-ray machine.  Guns, knives and other weapons are strictly prohibited.

 

 

 

 

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Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to view or print this file.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

   

Question:

 

Why Is Jury Service Important?

Answer:

 

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 the large measure upon the quality of the jurors who serve in our courts.

 

 

 

Question:

 

What Is My Duty As  A Juror?

Answer:

 

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.

 

 

 

Question:

 

How Was I Selected?

Answer:

 

You were selected at random by computer from a list of voter registrations, driver registrations and identification cards from the county in which you live.  The list is compiled every three years by the Secretary of State.

 

 

 

Question:

 

Am I Eligible?

Answer:

 

Jurors must:

*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 and good moral character.

You cannot serve on a jury if:

*You have served as a juror for six days during the preceding 3 months in the county court or 6 months in the district court                                                                                                 

*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; or
*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 judge.

 

 

 

Question:

 

Who Can Be Excused From Jury Service?

Answer:

 

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 registered in class. 

*Are an officer or employee of the Texas Senate, House of Representatives or department, commission, board office or other agency in the legislative branch of government.    
*Are the primary caretaker of a person who is unable to care for themselves (an invalid).    

*Are a member of the US military forces on active duty and deployed away from your home station and out of your county of residence.          
*Can show a physical or mental impairment or an inability to comprehend or to communicate in English.                                                                                                                           

*Have served as a juror during the 24-months preceding the date you are required to appear.                                                                                                                                        

 

 

 

Question:

 

What Are The Different Types Of Cases?

Answer:

 

There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil (including 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 District or County 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 questions are called the verdict. 

 

 

 

Question:

 

Will I Be Paid For Being A Juror?

Answer:

 

Yes. For the first day of service you will be paid a minimum of $7.50 for the day that you present yourself willing to serve and you will receive $15.00 if you serve on a jury the first day.  For the second day and subsequent days of service you will be paid $40.00 per day regardless of whether you are actually serving on a jury. 

 

 

 

Question:

 

Must My Employer Pay Me While I Am On Jury Duty?

Answer:

 

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.

 

 

 

Question:

 

Who Can Have A Jury Trial?

Answer:

 

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.

 

 

 

Question:

 

Are There Rules About Jury Conduct?

Answer:

 

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.

 

 

 

Question:

 

How Is A Juror Selected For a Particular Case?

Answer:

 

Cases will usually be heard by juries of 6 or 12 jurors. The 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 or is otherwise disqualified. 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 6 or 12 of the remaining jurors on the panel.

 

 

 

Question:

 

What Is Voir Dire Or Questioning Of The Jury Panel?

Answer:

 

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.

 

 

 

Question:

 

What If I Have A Special Need Or Emergency?

Answer:

 

After you have been selected as a juror on a trial panel, if you have a special need or an emergency, tell the bailiff.

 

 

 

Question:

 

How Do I Obtain An Excuse For My Employer?

Answer:

 

On the day that you appear for jury duty you may obtain an excuse that will show the time actually spent on jury duty.  If you are not selected for a jury and your service was at the McLennan County Courthouse, then you obtain your excuse from the District Clerk’s Office.  If you serve on a jury, your excuse will be provided by the court administrator.  If you report for a jury panel out of the main court house, your excuse will be provided by the court you report to.

 

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General Information

 

 

 

Rescheduling

If you cannot serve the week that you have been scheduled for jury duty you are eligible to be rescheduled one time within six months of the date of your original summons.  You may obtain a second postponement only in the event of the death of a family member or similar catastrophic event.

 

 

 

Claiming Exemptions

If you wish to claim an exemption you must circle the exemption that you are claiming, sign the card and place it in the mail.  If your exemption is a result of ill health or a physical condition then you must furnish a doctor’s letter stating that you are unable to serve as a juror.  The doctor may fax the letter to the district clerk’s office at 757-5060.  Your name must be stated clearly on the letter.

 

 

 

If you are disqualified

If you believe that you are disqualified from jury duty circle the disqualification, sign the card and place the card in the mail.

 

 

Juror Parking

 

 

 

If you have been either summoned or selected for jury duty, you may park in the parking lot directly across from the courthouse at 501 Washington Avenue. 

 

 

 

 

Assistive Listening

 

There is one courtroom that has assistive listening devices available.  Inform the clerk’s staff when summoned for jury duty that you will need assistance in hearing in the courtroom.  Arrangements can be made for other assistance for jurors if you require an interpreter for the hearing impaired.  Please contact the McLennan County District Clerk’s Office (254)757-5054.

 

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Order Of Events Of The Trial

 

 

 

 

Opening Statements: 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 time 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 appropriate.
Instruction 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.
Closing Arguments: 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 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:
*physical comfort
*special needs
*any questions regarding evidence; or
*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 is 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 prevail.

 

 

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McLennan County provides the information contained in this web site as a public service. These records are not the official records of the McLennan County District Clerk’s Office and no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information is made.  The District Clerk’s Office is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of any of the information on this website.  Every effort is made to insure that information provided is correct. However, in any case where legal reliance on information contained in these pages is required, the official records of McLennan County should be consulted. Distribution of the information does not constitute a warranty. The forms available on this website are a courtesy.  You should determine whether the form available is appropriate for your circumstance.  Placement of forms on the website does not constitute legal advice or representation. Use of the information is the sole responsibility of the user. McLennan County is not responsible for the content of, nor endorses any site which has a link from the McLennan County web site.