17th Circuit Court
Jury Management Division
PLEASE NOTE: If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be from the jury office, although they may ask for verification of your current address, please note that no one from the jury office or court will ever call you to ask for social security numbers or credit card numbers.
Never give out your Social Security number, credit card number(s) or other personal, confidential information to anyone if you receive a telephone call regarding jury service.
About the One-week/One-trial Term of Service
In January, 2002 Jury Service was switched to a one-week or one-trial term of service. This term of service has lessened the inconvenience on the prospective jurors and increased the number of participants from the community.
The one-week/one-trial system uses approximately 14,000 jurors per year, increasing the community participation, and eliminating the need to reschedule for a variety of reasons.
A one-week/one-trial term of service means that:
- Jurors will be summoned to be on call for no more than a week, if not selected for a trial. If selected to sit on a trial the jurors will serve for that trial only, and then be dismissed from further service.
- If a juror is called to jury service, he/she is only expected to be available for jury selection Monday thru Thursday of the week the juror is called. If on Monday the juror is selected to sit on a trial that lasts two days, the jury service would be complete at the end of deliberation for that trial. If the juror is selected to sit on a trial that is expected to last two weeks then he/she would serve until completion of deliberation of that trial.
- If the juror is never selected for a panel during the course of the week then his/her jury service is complete on Thursday. A new panel would then begin the following Monday.
- A juror will not be expected to come to the Courthouse all week long. A "call in" process will be used to notify jurors when to report.
- The granting of excuse from jury service will be reduced. Because the inconvenience on the general public has been dramatically lessened by this new term, it seems logical that requests for financial hardship, personal hardship and employer hardship not be entertained.
- A juror can request a deferral of jury service to a more convenient week if they are summonsed on a planned vacation week, etc.
If you have any feedback for the Court regarding the one-week/one-trial term of service, please feel free to share it with the Jury Clerk.
About the Jury Management DivisionThe Jury Management Division qualifies perspective jurors, issues summons and conducts juror orientation for each of the terms. At the orientation process, the jury clerk addresses all aspects of the jury service system. Such services include attendance and payroll issues, issuance of show cause orders, handling request for deferral or excusal and placement of jurors in the appropriate courtrooms as jury pools during voir dire. The staff does a superb job in making the jury assembly room as accommodating to the jurors as possible.
Casual, comfortable attire is acceptable, but use good judgment and dress appropriately, please do not wear shorts. We cannot be responsible for expensive packages or articles such as cameras, radios, lap tops, cellular phones, etc.
Free Juror Parking
The only free parking for jurors is located at the Bridge Street Gerald R. Ford Museum Parking Lot (only accessible off Bridge Street). If you choose to park at a location other than the Bridge Street Gerald R. Ford Museum Parking Lot, you will be responsible for your parking fees.
Upon arrival into the parking lot, an attendant will be present (standing or in a vehicle). To gain entry into the parking lot, show the attendant your jury summons or state that you are a circuit court juror and you will be allowed to park. Please bring your jury summons with you to the courthouse.
Dash West Bus Service:
Bus service to the Kent County Courthouse is located on Bridge Street near the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue (proceed to the left out of the lot walking west on Bridge under the US 131 expressway to the corner of Bridge and Mount Vernon). This service is free of charge. When boarding the bus, inform the driver you are a juror for the 17th Circuit Court and to take you to the stop near the Kent County Courthouse. This stop is on Pearl Street near the corner of Ottawa Avenue (proceed North on Ottawa to the courthouse on the corner of Ottawa and Lyon).
Jury orientation starts promptly at 7:45am. Please leave your homes and businesses early enough to arrive at the Gerald R. Ford Museum Parking Lot no later than 7:30am.
Postponement of Service Requests
Since the term of service is only one week, requests for excusal from jury service will not be granted as a general rule. Remember, jury service is a vital function of democracy and it is crucial that the jury pool be representative of the entire community It is also understood that circumstances may exist where postponement is appropriate. Requests for postponements can be made through e-Juror or by contacting the Jury Clerk at 632-5062 for last names A-L or 632-5081 for last names M-Z.
If you are requesting an excusal due to a medical condition, you must complete and submit your Qualification Questionnaire and have your doctor fax a statement indicating you are unable to serve. Fax your statement to 616-632-5064 and check with the Jury Clerk to make sure the fax was received.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Jury Service Important?
Because the right to a jury trial by a jury of one's peers is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Michigan Constitution. Jury service is one of the most important duties that members of a free society are called upon to perform.
How Was I Selected?
You were selected at random from a list of those who have a Michigan Driver's License or State of Michigan I.D.
Who Is Qualified To Serve?
To be qualified, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be able to speak and understand English
- Be a resident of Kent County
- Have not served in District or Circuit Court in the past 12 months
- Have not been convicted of a felony
Who Can Be Excused From Jury Service?
- Those who are 70 years of age or older and do not want to serve
- Generally speaking, other excuses are not considered, except for those who have their doctor fax an excuse for health-related reasons. Excuses should specify whether the health-related reasons are short-term or lifelong disabilities.
- Full-time, year round students must submit a copy of the class schedule that indicates that they are in class during the day. Full-time students who do not attend in the summer will be deferred (postponed) to a summer Term.
What Happens If I Do Not Show For Jury Duty?
A failure to appear letter will be sent to you. If you do not respond or if you respond and do not follow through with reporting, you will be sent an Order to Show Cause. This form will order you to report before a Circuit Court Judge to show cause why you should not be held in contempt of court for failing to appear for jury service. If you fail to appear for the Show Cause hearing, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and you can be fined or sent to jail.
What Are The Different Types of Cases?
Jury trials may be scheduled for criminal, civil and family cases (child protective and delinquency), and probate matters.
Will I Be Paid For Being A Juror?
For the first day of service, jurors are paid $18.00 for a half day (prior to 1:00 pm) and $35.00 for a full day, plus 20 cents per mile. Subsequent days of service will pay $23.00 for a half day and $45.00 for a full day. Parking is free if you park at the designated lot for jurors at the Gerald R. Ford Museum Parking lot, located off Bridge Street, just east of Scribner Avenue, across from Bridgewater Place.
Must My Employer Pay Me While I Am On Jury Service?
Your employer is not required to pay you while on jury service. However, employers are prohibited by law from firing, disciplining, or threatening an employee for serving as a juror.
My Employer Wants To Know The Days And Times That I Serve. How Will I Obtain This Information?
Some companies require "proof" that you served as a juror. The Jury Clerk prepares this information on the last day of the week. The information can than be faxed to your employer or mailed to your home.
Is Child Care Provided At The Courthouse While I Am Serving?
No child care is provided. Please do not bring your children to the courthouse.
How Are Jurors Selected For A Particular Case?
Cases are heard by juries of 8 (civil/family cases) or 14 (criminal cases). A larger group is sent to the courtroom where the jurors are questioned under the supervision of the judge.
What Is Voir Dire?
It is a way for the parties to select a fair and impartial jury. You may be questioned by each of the lawyers before they decide to remove a certain number of jurors. Questions are not intended to embarrass you, but rather to help the lawyers in the jury selection process.
During Orientation, jury staff will provide further details and answer questions when you arrive at the courthouse for your scheduled jury service date.