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The United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution guarantee all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, the right to trial by an impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends to a large measure upon the quality of the jurors who serve in our courts.
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. Your actions and decisions are the foundation of our judicial system.
You cannot serve on a jury if:
If you are in doubt or think you may not be qualified to serve on a jury for one of the above or any other reasons, please notify the Judge.
You are entitled to be excused as a juror if you:
Municipal courts preside over criminal fine-only misdemeanor cases that arise under state or municipal ordinance.
A criminal case results when a person is accused of committing a crime. You, as a juror, must decide whether the person is presumed innocent; and the state, represented in municipal court by the city attorney or deputy city attorney, must prove guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Your employer is not required to pay you while on jury duty; however, employers are prohibited by law from firing an employee for serving as a juror.
Any person charged with a criminal offense has a right to a jury trial.
Yes, the Texas Supreme Court has rules to assist you in your conduct as a juror, which will be given to you by the Judge.
Juries of six will hear cases in municipal court. A larger group, called a panel, will be sent to the trial court (courtroom) where the jurors will be questioned under the supervision of the Judge. A juror may be excused from the panel if it is shown that the juror cannot act impartially concerning the case to be heard. In addition, each side is allowed to remove three jurors from the panel without having to show any reason. The trial jury will be the first six of the remaining jurors on the panel.
It is a way for the parties to select a fair and impartial jury. Under the justice system, you may be questioned by each of the parties before they decide to remove a certain number of jurors from the jury panel. The city attorney represents the state, and the defendant is represented by an attorney or represents him or herself.
For example, a party may ask you questions to see if you are connected to the trial or if you have any prejudice or bias toward anyone in the trial. These questions are not intended to embarrass you, but rather to help the parties in the jury selection process. You may ask the Judge to allow you to answer some questions away from the other jurors.
After you have been selected as a juror on a trial panel, if you have a special need or an emergency, tell the bailiff.
You have the right to communicate with the Judge regarding any matters affecting your deliberations, including but not limited to:
During deliberation, if it becomes necessary to communicate with the Judge, the bailiff or the officer of the court will deliver jurors' notes to the Judge. The information in this handbook is not intended to take the place of the instructions given by the Judge in any case. In the event of a conflict, the Judge's instructions will prevail.