Our Constitution contains several protections for defendants in criminal and civil trials. Key among them is the right to a fair trial by a jury. By serving on a jury, you help to preserve this right for your fellow citizens and ensure that our justice system works with integrity, fairness and transparency.
We appreciate the time and attention you may be asked to spend if you are summoned for jury duty. Here is some information to help you understand what to expect during jury service:
How was I picked and when should I report?
If you received a summons, your name was randomly selected from a list of registered voters by a computer program operated by the Summit County Jury Commissioners. Please fill out and return the summons response form you received and mail it back in the returned envelope provided.
You will need to check in each day to verify that the jury trial will proceed as scheduled. You may do this by calling the Court’s jury line at (234) 738-4115 after 5:00 p.m. on the evening prior to your summons date, or by visiting the Juror Reporting Information website (Stow Municipal Court jury information is in GREEN). If you are directed to report, you should report to the Stow Municipal Court at 8:30a.m. on your summons date to fulfill your duty for service.
Whether the trial goes forward or not, you will not be randomly selected again to serve as a juror for this Court for at least 12 months.
What should I wear and bring with me?
Please wear clothing that is appropriate to maintain the dignity of the Court and your role in the judicial process. You may wish to bring a sweater with you, as well as something to read since there is usually some waiting time involved before the Court process begins. Also, please bring your jury summons with you on your appearance date. If you have a cell phone or pager, it will need to be turned off in the courtroom.
Where should I park?
Parking is free and available in the rear of the Court building.
What happens when I arrive at the Court for jury duty?
Once you arrive at the Court on the date of your jury duty, you will step through a security monitor. Next, you will check in with the Clerk of Court’s Office, and be escorted to the Jury Lounge.
Once taken into the courtroom, you will be seated in the jury box and asked to take an oath.
Will I be seated on the jury?
Once the Judge and attorneys for the parties enter the Courtroom, the trial process will begin with jury selection.
You will be asked questions that will help assure all parties receive a fair and impartial jury. For example, you may be asked if you have any knowledge of the case or the defendant. As questions are asked, individuals seated in the jury box may be excused, in the order that they are selected by the computer. At the end of this process, a jury of eight individuals will be selected (seated) and the trial will begin. (An alternate juror is chosen as well.) The Judge will provide detailed instructions of the trial process for those who are seated on the jury.
Typically, jury trials do not last more than one day in our municipal court.
What happens if I’m not seated?
The remaining individuals who appear but are not seated on the jury will be dismissed. A letter for employers is also available for those who need one.
What if I have a conflict or some other reason why I cannot serve on the date I am chosen for?
Ohio law permits summoned jurors to reschedule their jury service date one time within a six-month period. The law also allows you to be excused from jury duty for a very narrow set of reasons:
• You are over the age of 76 and do not wish to serve
• You are a convicted felon
• You no longer live in the Court’s jurisdiction or are under 18
• You will incur extreme financial hardship (you must demonstrate an adverse impact on your ability to pay daily living expenses)
• You are a member of a cloistered religious organization
Ohio law permits no other exemptions.
Your employer is required to give you time off from work to serve as a juror. If you need to request a rescheduled jury date or an excuse from jury service, please complete your jury summons form stating your reasons and mail it back in the envelope provided. If you cannot serve because of a medical reason, please have your doctor submit a written statement with a detailed explanation. A staff member will notify you of the decision on your request.