- Why is jury duty important?
- What is my duty as a juror?
- How was I selected for jury duty?
- Who is eligible for jury duty?
- How long does jury duty last?
- Can jury duty be rescheduled?
- Can I avoid jury service?
- What types of cases do jurors hear?
- Are jurors compensated for jury service?
- Must my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?
- Is my employment protected if I serve on jury duty?
|Dodge County Courthouse
|22 6th Street East - Main Floor Mantorville, MN 55955-2220|
|Jury Phone Line:
Phone: (507) 635-6257
Court Administration Office:
Why is jury duty important?
The United States Constitution and the Minnesota State Constitution guarantees all people the right to a trial by impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends in large measure on the jurors who serve in our courts.
What is my duty as a juror?
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. You must apply the law given by the judge to the facts given during the trial to make a decision in a case.
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Reside in Dodge County
- Be able to communicate in English
||You cannot serve on a jury if you have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored.|
If you are in doubt about your eligibility for jury service, you can contact the Court Administration office by mail, phone, or e-mail at:
Dodge County Court Administration
22 6th Street East, Dept. 12
Mantorville, MN 55955-2220
How long does jury duty last?
Your length of term for Jury service in Dodge County is 4 months. Jury trials are scheduled on an average of once or twice per month. A letter is sent to you at least two weeks before a scheduled jury trial if we need your service as a juror.
What types of cases do juror hear?
Jurors hear felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and civil cases. Some types of case are driving under the influence, assault, domestic violence, or theft. Jurors will also hear civil case in property disputes, contracts and personal injury.
Are jurors compensated for jury service?
Jurors are paid $10 per day and 27 cents per mile round trip from home. Payroll is processed and checks are mailed in 2-3 weeks. Call the Court Administrator’s Office at (507)635-6260 with questions about checks or other information.
Must my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?
Your employer is not required to pay you while you are in jury duty, however, many employers will pay the difference between your jury payment and your salary, but they are not required to do so.
Is my employment protected if I serve on jury duty?
Yes, your employment is protected under Minnesota Statutes 593.50, Subdivision 1. An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce the employee with respect thereto, because the employee receives a summons, responds thereto, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
HOW A JURY IS CHOSEN
After you have reported for jury duty, the panel is sent to the courtroom for orientation. The Judge will enter the courtroom and will instruct the court assistant to read names of perspective jurors who will be asked to sit in the jury box. A jury of twelve people will be selected for felony trials, and six people for gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and civil trials. The judge in the courtroom will explain the case and introduce the lawyers and other participants. As part of jury selection, the judge and lawyers will then question the jury panel members to determine if anyone has knowledge of the case, a personal interest in it, or any feelings that might make it hard to be impartial. This process is called “voir dire”, a phrase meaning, “to speak the truth.”
Questions asked during voir dire may seem personal but should be answered completely and honestly. The questions are not intended to embarrass anyone but are used to make sure that members of the jury do not have opinions or past experiences, which might prevent reaching an impartial decision.
During voir dire the lawyers may ask the judge to excuse a juror from sitting on the case. This is called “challenging a juror”. There are two types of challenges: a challenge for cause and a peremptory challenge.
A challenge for cause means the lawyer has a specific reason for thinking that a juror would not be able to be impartial. For example the case may involve a driving under the influence of alcohol. If a juror had been in an accident with a drunk driver and was still upset about it, the defense attorney could ask that the juror be excused for that reason. There is no limit to the number of jurors who may be excused for cause.
Peremptory challenges do not require the lawyers to state any reason for excusing a juror. Peremptory challenges are intended to allow lawyers, both prosecution and defense, to do their best to assure that the trial is fair.
REPORTING FOR DUTY
Dodge County has a juror notification line system to inform jurors when their services will be required. Instructions and the call in phone numbers are included in the jury questionnaire packet jurors receive in the mail.
Where to Report
Report to the Court Administration office in the Dodge County Courthouse, 22 6th Street East, Mantorville. Parking is available in the parking lot north of the Courthouse and on the street at the north and south ends of the Courthouse. There are some parking restrictions posted on the north side of the Courthouse.
When to Report
First day jurors are instructed what time to report on the jury call in line. Please be prompt. One late juror can waste the time of the many persons involved in a trial. Generally, your service day will be completed between 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Cell phones and pagers are not allowed in the courtrooms or in the jury room during deliberations. All cell phones and pagers will be required to be checked with the jury attendant or the Court Administrator’s office.
What to Bring
Jury service can entail some waiting time in the Jury Assembly Room, while you wait for assignment to the courtroom. You may want to bring reading material, stationary, etc.
After a jury is selected, the trial will generally follow this order of events.
The lawyers for each side may explain the case, the evidence they will present, and the issues for the jury 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. The jury will be asked to make decisions regarding disputed facts; therefore, juror’s 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. Jurors may give the evidence whatever weight they consider appropriate.
At the close of all the evidence, the lawyers have the opportunity to summarize the evidence in their closing arguments and attempt to persuade the jury to accept a view of the case.
Instructions to the Jury
After closing arguments, the judge will read the instructions to the jury explaining the law and other considerations in the case.
After instructions, the jury is isolated to decide the verdict in the case.