Juror Orientation Video
INTRODUCTION AND FORMS
- May I have your attention, please? If you have a cell phone, a pager, a laptop, or any other electronic device, would you please turn them off, or put them on vibrate, or silent mode whenever one of us is at the podium speaking to you, today? Thank you.
- Good morning, everyone, and welcome to jury service. My name is ____ and I am one of the two jury coordinators. The other one is ____
Video is approximately 20 minutes. Windows Media Player v.7.0 or higher required.
- We will begin with a brief orientation which will answer most of your questions. The orientation and the administration of the oath will last until about 9:10. You may go to the restroom, get a drink, or a snack from the Break Room at any time.
- I need to make sure that each one of you has checked-in this morning. The way that you check-in is by stopping at the Check-In Counter and having your summons, letter, or card scanned, or your juror number entered. It is important that you check-in, so you will receive credit for being here today.
- I also need to make sure that each one of you has completed the necessary forms and that you have placed those forms in the designated places. The forms are available on the forms' table, which is located across from the Check-In Counter. The IRS requires a Social Security number to receive payment for jury service. If we did not ask for your Social Security number, we already have it in our data base.
- There is a questionnaire on the forms' table that each one of you needs to complete, if you did not complete one from the website and bring two copies with you. This questionnaire is used during the selection process in the courtrooms, so it is very important that you complete one and keep it with you throughout the day. The paper is carbon, so please make sure there are no extraneous marks on the second page. If there are, please complete another one.
- If you have had a name and/or address change or if something on your summons is incorrect or omitted, please complete a Name and/or Address Change form that is located on the forms' table. Please place it in the locked, black box on the table and your information will be updated in our system. The box is labeled Name and/or Address Change Forms.
- There is an Exit Questionnaire available on the website and on the computers in the Business Center. You may also access it from your smart phone, for those of you who have one. It is designed to give us feedback on your jury service experience. We welcome and encourage your opinions, comments, and suggestions, especially pertaining to the website. If you choose to complete one, and we really hope you do, please do so after you have completed your service.
I need to make sure that each of you is legally qualified to serve as a juror. You must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Be a resident of Mecklenburg County.
- You cannot have served on a state or federal jury within the past two years.
- You cannot have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a felony. However, if your citizenship rights have been restored, then you're eligible to serve. Your citizenship rights are automatically restored when you are released by your supervising agency, the Department of Corrections. In other words, you cannot be on probation or parole for a felony today.
- Misdemeanor crimes, such as traffic citations, DWI's, do not make you ineligible to serve.
If you have ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, please see me at the counter.
Please come back to the Check-In Counter, if you have any questions about your eligibility or any other concerns. During this brief interim, please make sure you have completed the appropriate forms and that you have placed them in the designated places. Please return the pencils to the holder on the table. If you have still not checked-in, please come to the Check-In Counter at this time.
The second part of orientation will begin shortly. Thank you!
- Due to the nature of jury service, and the court process itself, there are often periods of waiting. Sometimes, the parties to a lawsuit will continue to negotiate and settle a matter after a jury panel has been assembled, or the judge may be hearing last minute arguments on points of law.
- The reason for these delays may not be always be explained to you, but please remember that any time you spend waiting is time being used by others to discuss and simplify issues. Sometimes, a case may reach a settlement, or plea, during such conferences, because the litigants, or defendants and their attorneys, may feel that you, as jurors, might make a decision that is less favorable to them. While this may seem like a waste of your time, obviously a case that does not go to trial saves time and tax dollars.
- As jurors, you are by your presence and readiness to sit in trial of a case, actively serving our system of justice.
LENGTH OF JURY SERVICE
- This is an all day event, so you should have made arrangements to be here today until 5:00. Each of you will serve either one day or the length of one trial. If you are not chosen to serve on a jury today, then you will go home at the end of the day, and you do not have to come back tomorrow. You service will be completed.
- If you are chosen to serve on a jury today, the average length of a trial is usually about 2-3 days. In rare circumstances, they can take considerably longer - from weeks to months. That usually only occurs in very serious or complex cases (e.g., capital murder cases). The good news is that most jury service is completed within one day.
- When it is time to send a panel into a courtroom, an announcement will be made requesting all of you to gather in the central Jury Assembly Rooms. Then, one of us will come to the podium and call out a list of randomly selected names that the computer has generated from today's attendance. That is when some of you will be going into the courtroom for the selection process. During the selection process, you will need to mention to the judge and attorneys, any problems you might have with the length of your service. Please tell them the first chance you get, and do not wait until you have been selected as a juror to inform them that you have a problem. Generally, the courtrooms take anywhere from 25 to 30 panel members at a time.
- If you are in this room at lunchtime today, an announcement will be made when it is time for lunch. Lunch will be from 12:30 to 1:55, unless announced otherwise. Please make sure you are back on time, because the judges frequently ask that a panel be ready to go into the courtroom at either 1:55 or 2:00.The lunchtimes vary considerably in the courtrooms. They are all courtroom specific. If you are in a courtroom at lunchtime, you will need to pay particular attention to the judge's and the bailiff/deputy's instructions and return at whatever time he/she tells you.
- Employers' statements will be provided at the end of the day to those who requested one. They include today's date and the amount you will be paid. An announcement will be made when the sign-up sheets are available and at the end of the day informing you that you may pick one up from the forms' table. They are not available before then.
- If you are in a courtroom, and for some reason your service is completed after 5:00, the courtroom clerk will provide you with a statement upon your request through the bailiff.
- If you are selected to serve on a trial, the courtroom clerk will give the Employers' Statements to you at the end to the trial, upon your request to the bailiff and they will state the days you were here and the total amount you will be paid.
- You may also print an employers' statement from the website once your payment has been processed.
- You will be given a 15-minute break in the morning and in the afternoon. They are usually around 9:10 and 3:15.
- There are vending machines located in the Break Room, which is behind the wall in front of me.
- The Courtside Café is located on the first floor. Take one of the main elevators to the first floor. When you leave the elevator bank, walk into the atrium and turn right. The entrance to the Café will be straight ahead. Please order your food to go, because you cannot hear announcements if you are in the Café.
- Two change machines are located in the Break Room. The bill changer changes fives, tens, and twenties. The other one changes ones and fives to coins.
- If you have any problems with the vending machines, you will need to report the problem to the personnel in the café and they will be glad to take care of it for you.
- A water fountain is located in the Break Room.
- There is an ATM located on the second floor of this building in an alcove beside the Clerk of Court - Criminal Department. No service fee is charged.
- You should have parked in the 4th Street Parking Deck this morning and you should have gotten a ticket on your way into the deck. You may validate your parking ticket between the hours of 10:00 and 4:30. The ticket validator is located on the end of the Check-In Counter. Insert your ticket into the slot, magnetic strip goes in first face-up, (see diagram on validator), until it contacts the backstop. Press the top down firmly and hold for one second. When you remove your ticket, it should have Meck. Co. Juror stamped in blue. You must use a lane with access to a booth attendant when exiting the deck. Give your validated parking ticket to the attendant in the booth.
- You must park in the 4th Street Parking Deck on levels 3 through 7. Please make sure you vehicle is parked correctly
. You cannot park on the street. If you get a parking ticket, if your vehicle is towed, or if you park in any other deck or lot, you will be responsible for the cost. If at all possible, we will give those of you who parked in the wrong place, an opportunity to move your car to the correct parking deck.
- The parking area and the security stations can be hectic during lunchtime. If you leave the parking deck at lunch, you will need to allow yourself about fifteen extra minutes to get parked, get through security, and get back on time. You will get another parking ticket at lunchtime, which you will need to bring with you to validate.
- You will be mailed a check for your jury service within 10-12 business days after your service is completed. The rate of pay is $12 for the first day, $20 a day for days two through five, and $40 a day for each day thereafter.
- The restrooms are located to the right. Just walk down the hallway on the window side and turn right. There is a large rectangular sign on the Check-In Counter directing you to the restrooms.
- Personal computers are available for your use in the Business Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not log off of them, when you are finished. Wireless Internet access is also available throughout the Suite. There is a printer/copier/fax machine on the counter in the Business Center. The fax number is posted on the machine.
- The room on the right as you enter the Check-in Area of the Jury Assembly Room becomes the Quiet Room after the orientation and the administration of the oath . You just go through the doorway to the right of the podium, turn right, and then left at the Check-In Counter. If you would like to read or work quietly, you may go to the Quiet Room. You can hear announcements in the Quiet Room and on the balcony.
- If you want to talk or watch television, please remain in one of the other rooms in the suite. The televisions will be turned to a suitable station, because you are limited in what you may watch. You can't watch any local channels or news. Actually, you will be treated to movies and popcorn, today. The morning movie will be shown around 10:30 and the afternoon one around 2:00. The popcorn for the 2:00 movie is courtesy of the Courtside Café. All of the movies that are shown are rated PG-13 and under, but they are unedited, so you may hear some profanity or see something a little off-color. The movies are donated or purchased from grant money. We don't use your tax dollars to purchase them. You don't have to watch the movies, if you'd rather not. You may go to the Quiet Room.
- There are magazines in the magazine rack and on the tables in the Lounge. The magazines are purchased with limited funds provided by grant money, so please leave them for others to enjoy. Return them to the rack or to the tables and do not take them into the courtrooms.
- There are a couple of courtesy phones available for your use. One is located in one of the study carrels in the Lounge and the other one is on the counter in the Business Center. You will need to dial 9 to get an outside line.
- Lockers are available for your use and are located across the room from the Check-In Counter. You insert a quarter into the slot in the side of the door to enable you to remove the key. When you return the key, you will get your quarter back.
- A Cell Phone Room is located directly across from the Check-In Counter opposite the lockers.
- A game room with a pool table, a foosball table, and video games is located upstairs on the Mezzanine. To get there, exit through the stairway door directly across from the balcony and go up two flights of stairs. If you have any problems with the games, please report the problem to the personnel in the Café.
- This is a smoke-free facility; therefore, law prohibits smoking anywhere in this building, and that does include the restrooms and the balcony. You will be given a break in the morning and one in the afternoon to go to the smoking areas. The smoking areas are located outside of the building at either the first or second floor exits. You just exit the building, turn right or left, and about twenty-five feet from the doorways, you will see the smoking stands.
You will be restricted to this suite of rooms, except for your breaks and lunchtime, because these are the only places where you can hear announcements when they are made, so please stay in these areas.
* You must exit this building through the exits downstairs. You cannot use any of the emergency exits.
* In the event of an emergency, you will be given instructions through the paging system regarding what to do. We have emergency procedures in place.
** If you have a personal emergency, please don't hesitate to let us know, or if you're in the courtroom, please let your bailiff/deputy know. Don't just leave, not come back after lunch, or not come in one morning, if you're on a trial. Doing that makes you subject to the contempt powers of the court, which can include a fine and/or jail time.
- If anyone has not checked-in, please come back to the Check-In Counter, so we may check you in.
- If anyone has not turned-in their Name/Address Change form, please deposit it in the locked, black box on the forms table. Remember to keep your questionnaires with you all day.
- At this time, you will watch a 15-minute video to complete your orientation. Afterwards, the clerk will come and administer the oath.
Mecklenburg County was recently selected to take part in the nationwide Juror Education Project. In keeping with our mission to educate the citizens of our County about the value and importance of jury service, this project enables the Trial Court Administrator's Office to provide a unique opportunity to offer educational resources that can help the citizens better understand the jury system and the importance of their participation. The Juror Education Project was created by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands in partnership with the New York Times, the American Bar Association, and Apple Computer, Inc. Video materials are available on 15 iPods which jurors may access from 10:00 to 3:00. The majority of the content on the iPods consists of award-winning videos from the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands' Constitution Project. These include conversations with Supreme Court Justices and short documentaries on the history of the Constitution and the importance of judicial independence.
If you would like to check-out one of the iPods, please see one of the Jury Coordinators from 10:00 to 3:00. iPods must be returned by 4:00 daily.
While jury service is a fundamental responsibility and a staple of our American democracy, we understand it can sometimes be inconvenient and disruptive to personal and business schedules. Therefore, we want to make every effort to see that your time with us is not only used wisely, but that you may remain productive and have as pleasurable experience as possible while serving.
Your opinions are very important to us. In 2004-2005, we conducted a survey to determine what type of facility and amenities jurors would like to have available to them while performing jury service. The Jury Assembly Room in which you are now seated was designed to incorporate the elements requested. What you see around you in these rooms is a direct result of your comments and requests. Through a creative partnership with the operators of the Courtside Café, we are able to offer several of the amenities that were requested. The video games are provided by H&R Vending at no cost to tax payers. Because no County tax dollars are being used to provide most of these amenities, future availability will be depend upon demand and the revenue that is generated for the Courtside Café through their use.
Thank you for your service to Mecklenburg County and the State of North Carolina. We look forward to finding more ways to serve you in the future. We certainly hope you have a pleasant experience today!!