Jurors perform an important role in the justice system. The protection of our rights and liberties is accomplished through the teamwork of the judge and jury performing their respective duties. The judge determines the law to be applied and the jury decides the facts of the case.
Jurors must be men and women who possess sound judgment, honesty, and a complete sense of fairness. Serving on a jury is a high duty of citizenship. The United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution guarantee all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, the right to a trial by an impartial jury. Justice, therefore, largely depends upon the quality of the jurors who accept their civic duty and serve in our courts.
During a Trial
Jurors should listen closely to the testimony of witnesses and observe any evidence presented. They are sworn to disregard their prejudices and follow the directives of the judge. Jurors should keep an open mind and then render a verdict according to their best judgment.
Prospective jurors are sworn in prior to answering questions about their qualifications to sit as a juror in the pending case. (See Qualifications for Jury Service) This questioning period is called voir dire. The voir dire is a way for both the state and the defense to select a fair and impartial jury. A juror may be excused from the panel if it is shown that the juror cannot act impartially concerning the pending case. In addition to the jurors that both the state and defense may request to be removed for a specific reason, each side is also permitted to remove a juror without having to show any particular reason. When the voir dire is completed, six jurors will be selected to serve.
If you are not selected for the scheduled jury trials on that day, you will be excused. If you are selected to serve, you will serve for the duration of the trial, generally 3 to 4 hours. You will receive $6 juror pay mailed to your home address within approximately 3 weeks. If you need a letter of jury service for your place of employment, one may be provided for you by the court clerk.