Harnett County, North Carolina
 
Clerk of Court 
 

JURY DUTY
Most Commonly Asked Questions

When and where do I report?
The night before your service date, you should call the jury message line (910) 814-4606. You will be instructed as to a specific time and place to report or whether you need to report at all.

How was I chosen for jury duty?
Every two years, a three person Jury Commission supervises the compilation of a master jury list of county residents who are registered voters, licensed drivers, or both. Persons selected for jury duty are selected at random from the master list through a computerized system.

Do I have to respond to the jury summons?
Yes
. A jury summons is an official court summons, and your failure to report as required may result in being fined $50 or held in contempt of court.

Who is eligible to serve as a juror in North Carolina courts?
All jurors must be citizens of North Carolina and residents of the county where they are summoned; be at least 18 years old; have not served as a juror during the previous two years; be physically and mentally competent and be able to understand English; and not be a convicted felon without restoration of citizenship. If you are ineligible for jury service, you must complete the request section of the summons and mail it to the Clerk of Superior Courtís office at 301 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Suite 100 Lillington, NC 27546

What if I can't serve on the date I have been told to report to the courthouse?
There are no automatic exemptions from jury duty if you meet the qualifications as a juror. You may apply to the court to request deferral of your service to a more convenient date if serving at the original time would cause an unusual or difficult hardship. Jurors over 72 year of age may request an excusal if you have a medical reason that prevents your service. To make a request, complete the appropriate section on the jury summons and mail/deliver/fax it to the Harnett Co. Clerk of Superior Courtís office. Mailing address is: Jury Clerk, 301 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Suite 100, Lillington, NC 27546 and fax number is (910) 814-4560.

Will the State pay me for jury duty?
North Carolina law provides for the compensation of citizens who are called for jury service at the rate of $12.00 for the first day, $20 for the next 4 days and $40 for every day after those first 5 days. You will not be compensated if you appear and request a deferral or excusal. The Clerk of Superior Court will mail you a check for the appropriate amount.

Can my employer fire me if I serve as a juror?
North Carolina law prohibits employers from firing or demoting an employee because they serve as a juror. However, the law does not require that the employee be paid in full while serving.

Should I bring anything with me to the Courthouse?
Bring a book, laptop computers (wireless access provided), needlework, cross-word puzzles, or other materials to occupy your time while waiting. These items are not allowed for use in the courtrooms. While efforts will be made by the Court to reduce delays in trial starts and to avoid long waiting periods for you, some waiting time should be anticipated while jurors are chosen to sit on a jury.

What should I wear?
You should dress comfortably, but not too casually. Dress for Court as if you were going to work or to church. It is NOT acceptable by the Court to wear halter-tops or tank tops, cut-off jeans, shorts, or shirts with offensive wording. Remember, you will be acting as part of the Court while serving as jurors, so dress appropriately. Also, you might want to wear layered clothing since courtroom temperatures may vary considerably, requiring the removal or addition of a sweater or jacket.

How long will I have to serve?
If you are seated for a trial, you must serve until the trial ends, which may be two days to several weeks. Most jurors only serve for one to five days.

If there is an emergency at home, how will my family contact me?
In an emergency, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Superior Court's office at (910) 814-4620. The court staff will make certain that you get the message.

Will I be locked up in a hotel during the trial?
It is extremely rare for a jury to be "sequestered" or kept in a hotel during a trial. You should expect that you would be allowed to go home at the end of each court day.

How will I know what to do as a juror?
When you report to the Courthouse, you will be shown an orientation video that explains what to expect as a juror. You will also be given additional information from the court staff. Then all jurors present will take an oath as jurors and be given a red juror badge to wear until they are released from jury duty by the judge. Once a trial begins, the judge will instruct you on your duties as a juror.

Why are some jurors dismissed and not allowed to sit for a trial?
When your name is randomly drawn to take a numbered seat in the jury box at the start of a trial, the attorneys will ask you questions about yourself. If you know the parties to the case or any of the court officials, or if your answers to questions lead the attorneys or the judge to feel that you could not be objective in considering the evidence in this trial, you will dismissed with the Court's thanks.

Things to Remember During the Trial

After you are selected as a juror in a case, there are some rules of conduct which you should observe:

∑ Silence cell phones ad pager before entering the courtrooms.

∑ Do NOT be late.

∑ Always listen to the instructions of the Judge.

∑ Always sit in the same seat in the jury box. This enables the judge, the clerk and the lawyers to identify you more easily.

∑ Listen to every question and answer. Since you must base your verdict upon the evidence, you should attempt to hear every question asked and every answer given.

∑ Do not talk about the case. While you are a juror and before you retire to the jury room after the argument of the lawyers and the instruction of the judge, you should not talk to anyone about the case, not even to another juror. You should not permit anyone to talk to you or talk in your presence about the case. If any person persists in talking to you about it or attempts to influence you as a juror, you should report that fact to the judge immediately.

∑ You should not watch news broadcasts or read newspapers when instructed by the Judge.

∑ Do not be an ďamateur detective.Ē Since the only evidence you can consider is that presented in court you are not allowed to make an independent investigation or to visit any of the places involved in the case.

If there is an emergency at home, how will my family contact me?
In an emergency, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Superior Court's office at (910) 814-4620. The court staff will make certain that you get the message.

Conduct in the jury room:

Your first duty upon retiring at the close of the case is to select your foreperson. It is the forepersonís duty to see that discussion is carried on in the sensible and orderly fashion, to see that the issues submitted for your decision are fully and fairly discussed and that every juror has a chance to say what he or she thinks about every question. You will vote on the questions presented to you. When a unanimous decision has been reached, the foreperson will record your decision and present it to the court.

The foreperson and each juror should see that discussion in the jury room is never so loud that it can be heard outside. Until a verdict is announced, no outsider should know what goes on in the jury room.