17th Circuit Court
Jury Duty Frequently Asked Questions
Kent County Courthouse
180 Ottawa NW, Suite 1100
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Jury Office Phone: (866) 215-3884
Jury Office Fax: (616) 632-5064
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.