Juror Orientation Video
INTRODUCTION AND FORMS
- May I have your attention, please? If you have a cell phone, 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 three jury coordinators. Your other coordinators are _____________.
Video is approximately 20 minutes. Windows Media Player v.7.0 or higher required.
- 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.
- 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 9:15. 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 you for your Social Security number, then we already have it in our database.
- 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. You may also access it from your smart phone, for those of you who have one. If we have your email address on file, it will automatically be sent to you once your payment has been processed. 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.
- 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 of 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.
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 as a juror on a state or federal jury within the past two years.
- You cannot have served a full term of service as a grand juror within the past six years (effective January 1, 2014).
- 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.
- You should have parked in the 4th Street Parking Deck this morning and you should have received a ticket on your way into the deck. You should have brought that ticket with you to the Jury Assembly Room to have validated by one of the Jury Coordinators during check-in. If you did not bring the ticket in with you during check-in, please make sure to get it during one of your breaks and bring it to be validated upon your return into the Jury Assembly Room.
- 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 after orientation is complete and you have been sworn in for the day.
- 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 receive another parking ticket at lunchtime, which you will need to bring with you to validate.
At this time we ask that you 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. Your 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. Generally, the courtrooms take anywhere from 25 to 30 panel members at a time. At that time, we will call you by first and last name. We will ask that you please acknowledge we have called your name by saying “here” or “present” loudly enough for us to hear and understand you. During the selection process in the courtroom, 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.
- You will be given two 15-minute breaks. One break is in the morning and the other is in the afternoon. They are usually around 9:15 and 3:15.
- 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 and other breaks vary considerably in the courtrooms. They are all courtroom specific. If you are in a courtroom, 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.
- If you should want or need food on one of your breaks, 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.
- If you are in need of an ATM, there is one located on the second floor of this building in an alcove beside the Clerk of Court – Criminal Department. You will need to access the ATM on one of your breaks.
SUITE ROOMS & AMENITIES
Next, I would like to take some time to talk about the suite that you are in and some of its amenities.
- 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. If you would like to read or work quietly, you may go to the Quiet Room. Even though the room remains quiet throughout the day, you will be able to hear all announcements that will be made. 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: we are unable to show you any local channels or news.
- 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. However, if you wish to take your belongings with you into the courtroom, you may do so.
- A Cell Phone Room is located directly across from the Check-In Counter opposite the lockers. However, you may use your cell phone throughout the suite with the exception of the Quiet Room. We just ask that you please practice courtesy to others around you who may be watching the television or movies.
- Adjacent to the Check-In Counter, on the window side, you will find a doorway. This doorway leads out onto our balcony. You will be able to hear all announcements made throughout the day should you decide to step out onto the balcony. 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 exit the building and smoke. Please know that all Mecklenburg County properties are smoke free. So, you will need to step off of County property in order to smoke.
- Directly across from the balcony door you will find a large column and a green recycling bin. Next to the recycling bin is another doorway. This doorway leads into the stairwell, which will lead you up to our Juror Mezzanine. To get to the Mezzanine, go through this doorway, into the stairwell and take the stairs up two flights to the sixth floor. There is a sign that states where to enter for our Juror Mezzanine. Once there, you will find a game room with a pool table and video games. If you have any problems with the games, please report the problem to someone at the Check-In Counter. These games are maintained by personnel in the Courtside Café.
- If you were to follow the hallway with the windows down the corridor, you will find our restrooms located on the right-hand side. Both male and female restrooms are located here. Therefore, you do not need to exit the suite to use the restroom. There is a large rectangular sign on the Check-In Counter directing you to the restrooms.
- Continuing along the hallway with the windows, if you were to follow it to the end, you would end up in our Business Center. In our Business Center you will find seven desktop computers for your use. If one of the computers should ask you for a password at any point, please see someone at the Check-In Counter for assistance. These computers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not log off of them, when you are finished. Also in the Business Center, you will find a courtesy phone. You must dial “9” to get an outside line, and it is for local calls only. And finally, there is also a printer, copier, and fax machine all available to you free of charge throughout your service. The fax number is posted on the machine.
- Should you have an electronic device with you that is capable of connecting to WiFi, we provide free WiFi access in the suite. You will need to connect to “JuryAssembly” and use password ____ to connect.
- Heading back down the hallway you will find three rooms with theater style seating. One room is directly in front of the podium and then one on each of the two sides. These three rooms will be knows as our three Main Assembly Rooms. Again, these are the rooms where we will ask that you all gather when we are calling for a courtroom.
- In the rear corner behind the assembly rooms, you will find our Lounge. 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. Also in the Lounge, you will find several study desks available. One of the desks has a second courtesy phone for your use. This phone is the same as the first mentioned: dial “9” to get an outside line and it is for local calls only.
- Directly behind the Central Assembly Room is our Break Room. The Break Room is the room with the black and white checkered flooring and all of our vending machines. If you have any problems with the vending machines, you will need to report the problem to someone at the Check-In Counter. The personnel in the Café maintain the machines and we will either be able to call someone up to assist you, or we will be able to send you down to the Café. In our Break Room you will also find a water fountain as well as a sink. Please use caution at our sink as there is a second faucet that is clearly marked “caution hot water” – 190 degree water comes from that faucet and is intended for those of you who may choose to make tea or something of that sort. A refrigerator as well as a microwave is also available to you in the Break Room. Two change machines are located in the Break Room. The bill changer will make change for fives, tens, and twenties. The other one is a coin machine and will change ones and fives to coins.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Although you are restricted to this suite, you will be treated to movies and popcorn while here. The morning movie will be shown around 10:30 and the afternoon one around 2:00. The popcorn for the afternoon 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 through grant funding. We do not use your tax dollars to purchase them. You don’t have to watch the movies, if you’d rather not. You may go into the Quiet Room.
- 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.
- At this time, you will watch a 15-minute video to complete your orientation. Afterwards, the clerk will come and administer the oath.
- 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!!