Nancy Walent is the jury manager under Ken Bruke Clerk of Circuit Court in Pinellas County. Part of her job is to determine how many jurors are needed on a given day, oversee summoning of those jurors and make sure the jurors get paid at the end of their service.
We asked her a few questions about jury duty.
1) How are jury pools selected and why?
According to state law, names for jury pools are gathered from a FHSMV database of driver licenses and state ID card holders.
Walent says this ensures a better cross section of citizens to serve on a jury, and includes people who don't register to vote in order to avoid jury duty.
2) If I'm in Hillsborough County, can I be selected for Pinellas jury duty?
Highly unlikely. Jury pools only consist of citizens from that county. However, a judge can move jury selection to another county if he feels there has been is too much pre-trial publicity surrounding a case, like the Casey Anthony jury selection going on in Pinellas County.
That trial will be held in Orlando with a jury and alternates from Pinellas county.
3) Who is excluded from being on a jury?
A partial list includes convicted felons who have not had their rights restored, people who have pending criminal charges against them and non-citizens. The Governor, nor Lieutenant Governor, nor any Cabinet officer, nor clerk of court, or judge shall be qualified to be a juror.
Some citizens can choose to be exempted from service. A person 70 years of age or older may also be permanently excused from jury service upon written request.
4) How much does it pay to be on a jury?
If you have a job and your employer pays you while you serve on a jury, you are not paid for the first three days. On the fourth day and everyday thereafter, you are paid $30.
If your employer doesn't pay you while you're on jury duty you receive $15 a day for the first three days and $30 a day on the fourth day and everyday there after.
5) Do companies have to pay people if their employees are on a jury?
No. By law employers are not required to pay employees while they are serving on a jury.
6) What if you skip jury duty?
If a citizen doesn't answer a jury summons, they will be sent a second summons telling them their new date to appear, usually within 30 days of the first summons. If they are seated on a jury and then don't show up for the trial, they are subject to contempt of court charges.
If your summons date creates a conflict in your schedule, you may request to be rescheduled to a future date -- however, you can only do that one time.
7) Once you've been selected for jury duty, how long until they can pick you again?
If you are summoned and appear, you are exempt for one year.
8) Can my employer prevent me from serving as a juror or can I be terminated from my job for having jury service?
No. Florida law prohibits any employer from preventing a person from serving as a juror or firing an employee who is serving on jury duty.
For more information:
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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