To request temporary or permanent medical excuse please have your Doctor fax a statement to 361-364-9477.
If the exemption is permanent, the statement must specify the doctor is requesting a permanent exemption.
Juror Selection Process:
The process for selecting prospective jurors is mandated by state law. If you are a registered voter, have a Texas driver's license or Texas personal identification card and you live in San Patricio County, your name is entered in a computer system designed to randomly select prospective jurors.
When directed by the State, District, County or Justice of the Peace Courts of San Patricio County, the District Clerk makes a random selection of names, which are retrieved as needed each month. Those selected for that month receive a summons which is mailed by the San Patricio County District Clerk's Office.
Because this is a random selection system, and there is not an endless supply of potential jurors, it is quite possible that you will receive more than one jury summons while you live in San Patricio County.
You can be exempted from jury duty in certain circumstances. If any of the listed exemptions apply to you, you may claim the exemption but you do not have to.
The exemptions for jury service are as follows:
You are over 75 years of age.
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.
You are a student of a public or private secondary school.
You are a person enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education.
You are an officer or an employee of the senate, the house of representatives or any department, commission, board, office or other agency in the legislative branch or state government.
You are the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself. (NOTE: This exemption does not apply to you if you are a primary caretaker only in your capacity as a health care worker)
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.
You have been summoned for jury service in this County and have served as a Petit juror in this County in the last (3) years from the date you are required to appear.
There are several common reasons given for exemption requests which are not allowable:
being the sole owner of a business
have an employer who will not pay you for your jury service (although financial hardship caused by jury service may be considered)
lack of transportation.
Jury Duty and Your Job:
The law protects your job while you are fulfilling your jury duty and you cannot be fired for serving. Your employer is not, however, required to pay you for the time missed from work while on jury duty.
If you do not have a vehicle or do not drive, or you are unable to drive because of a physical disability, please contact the Jury Administration's office at (361) 364-9377.
Dress the Part:
You may be selected for and actually serve on a jury the day you are summoned, so it's important that you dress appropriately. Jury service is serious business, and you should dress accordingly. Business attire is recommended.
Shorts, hats, tank tops and flip-flop sandals are not allowed. T-shirts with derogatory images or messages are also not considered appropriate. When in doubt, dress seriously but with comfort in mind. Jury service can involve a good deal of sitting.
What Your Jury Service Involves:
Once you have arrived at the San Patricio County Courthouse your jury service is underway. You'll find that the system is set up to guide you along with clear instructions throughout the process. Whether you are selected for a jury or not, you will still be providing an essential part of the trial by jury system.
After checking in, prospective jurors will be given a brief orientation by the qualifying Judge. The qualifying Judge will give further instructions and hear possible exemptions and qualifications.
Prospective jurors are assigned to panels, smaller groups from which jurors are selected. The jurors are briefed by the judge and questioned by attorneys for both sides until the jurors who will hear the case are chosen. It is possible for prospective jurors to be sent to court more than once during their week of service.
Getting Paid for Jury Service:
Jurors are paid for their service. Each prospective juror sent to a court receives $20.00 for the first day. If you are instructed to return to court another day, you will receive sixty dollars ($60) per day beginning the second day of service and thereafter until the trial has concluded.
A Day in the Life of a Juror:
Each trial is as unique as the people involved, and there's no way to predict how long the trial you are chosen for will last. A trial can last a day or take up to a week or more. They are seldom much longer.
During the trial, the judge will tell you what time you need to be in court each day and what time to expect each day to end. You will also be given a break for lunch.
Trials follow a set procedure which you may find familiar.
Opening Statement: Attorneys for each side may explain the case, outline any evidence they will present, and discuss the issues you will decide. This is usually a broad statement which sets the stage for witnesses and the details to follow.
Presentation of Evidence: Testimony of witnesses and exhibits are all evidence. Any exhibits will be available to the jury during their deliberations. Because you will be deciding the case based on the facts presented, it is very important to pay close attention to all evidence.
Rulings by the Judge: The judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. He may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while lawyers make legal arguments. If this happens, understand that these issues must be decided so that proper evidence can be considered by the jury.
Instruction to the Jury: After all evidence has been presented, the judge may give the jury the Charge of the Court. This includes legal instructions about the case and the question the jury must answer.
Closing Arguments: This gives the lawyers an opportunity to summarize the evidence and to try to persuade the jury to accept their client's view of the case.
Jury Deliberations and Decision: After hearing the closing arguments, the jury is sent to deliberate. During deliberations, members of the jury will decide how they will answer the questions presented in the Charge of Court and then return a final verdict.
Sequestered juries are very rare. Before you are assigned to such a jury, you will have an opportunity to discuss with the judge any problems this might create.
Free, uncovered parking is available in areas around the San Patricio County Courthouse.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about your summons or jury duty, please call the San Patricio County District Clerk's Office at (361) 364-9377.
We understand you have questions, and we'll do everything we can to make your jury service easy and as interesting as possible. We rely on our citizens to keep our justice system running, and we thank you in advance for the very important part you play.