Jury trials are a hallmark of the American legal system. Each day around the state, trial courts require hundreds of ordinary citizens to report to the courthouse for jury duty. Both a right and responsibility, service as a juror places the individual citizen in a central role in the justice system.
Qualifications of Jurors
Georgia law says you are qualified to be a juror if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen
- Are at least 18 years old
- Are a resident of Effingham County
- Have had your civil rights restored if you were convicted of a felony
If you are not a U.S. citizen or a resident of Effingham County, you must provide official documentation to the Jury Management Office in order to be exempted from jury service. The following list of official documents will be accepted from individuals who are not U.S. citizens:
- Permanent Resident (green) card
- Work or Student Permit
- U.S. issued Visa
The following list of official documents will be accepted from individuals who are not Effingham County residents:
- Driver’s License or state-issued ID
- Lease or mortgage statement showing name and new address
- Utility bill showing name and new address
- National Change of Address from the U.S. Postal Service
If you have been convicted of a felony and have not had your civil rights restored, you must complete a felony affidavit. The affidavit must be notarized. The Jury Management Office provides this service free of charge for jurors. Once you have completed the form and had it notarized, please mail or deliver it to our office.
No one is exempt and/or deferred from jury service because of his or her job, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or economic status.
Upon completion of the proper affidavit, certain exemptions and deferments are allowed. All affidavits must be notarized (the Jury Management Office offers this service free of charge to jurors) and can be viewed by using Adobe Acrobat, which is available for free. The categories for exemption and/or deferral from jury service are listed below.
- Any person convicted of a felony, who has not had their complete civil rights restored, may be exempt from jury service upon request and presentation of an appropriate affidavit.
- Permanently mentally or physically disabled person shall be permanently excused upon presentation of a doctor’s affidavit.
- Persons seventy (70) years of age or older shall be permanently excused upon request and presentation of an appropriate affidavit.
- Persons who are the primary caregiver of a child six (6) years of age or younger and have no reasonably available alternative child care or persons who are the primary teacher in a home study program and have no reasonably available alternative for child or children in the home study program shall be excused or deferred upon presentation of an appropriate affidavit. A completed juror questionnaire must accompany the affidavit. For those persons who are the primary caregiver of a child six (6) years of age or younger, please note that you must not be employed outside of the home and ‘reasonably available alternative child care’ may include a spouse who is employed. If you have a newborn or are exclusively breastfeeding, rather than using the child care affidavit, please have your doctor or your child’s pediatrician fill out the medical affidavit attached to your jury summons. The affidavit must be notarized.
- Any person who is a primary unpaid caregiver of a person over the age of six (6), who is responsible for the care of a person with physical or cognitive limitations and there is no reasonably available alternative to provide for care shall be excused or deferred upon presentation of an appropriate affidavit and statement from a physician as to the limitations.
- Any service member on ordered military duty, or the spouse of any such service member on active military duty, may be excused or deferred upon request and presentation of an appropriate affidavit.
Jurors are to report to the Grand Jury Room, 1st floor of the Effingham County Judicial Complex, 700 North Pine St., Springfield, GA 31329.
Hours of Service
Jurors are to appear at 7:45 AM on their report date. Jury service may last beyond 5:00PM on any given day. Before you report for jury service, please make necessary arrangements to allow you to remain at Court until released.
Casual business attire is required. Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs, shirts with controversial depictions or wording, or similar dress are not allowed in the courtrooms. The temperature in the courtroom is unpredictable, please dress accordingly. Shoes must be worn at all times; beach sandals or flip-flops are prohibited.
Jurors who are hearing and/or visually impaired are not prohibited from serving on a jury. For ease of accommodation, please notify Jury Management prior to your service if you need assistance. The Jury Assembly Room and most courtrooms are equipped to accommodate the hearing impaired.
All jurors scheduled for service will receive a brief orientation conducted by the Jury Management Staff. After the orientation is completed, jurors are administered an oath and will remain in the Jury Assembly Room until called to report to a courtroom. Throughout the day, jurors may be selected randomly to report to a courtroom for either a civil or criminal case.
Length of Service
Jury service in Effingham County operates on the one day/one trial system. A new group of jurors is summoned each day of the week. If selected to serve on a jury, the juror will serve for the duration of the trial. If a person is not assigned to a case, their jury service will be complete at the end of the day. If sent to a courtroom or selected to sit on a trial, jurors will serve until released by the judge.
Jurors are paid daily expenses. A Debit Card is issued your first day of service, this card will be reloaded at the end of each day’s service.. Jurors are paid $25.00 per day with $7.00 additional dollars added if you are required to return after lunch. Grand jurors are paid $25.00 for each day of service and $7.00 dollars additional if you are required to return after lunch.
No employer may discharge or demote any employee because the employee has been called for jury service, or is serving as a juror. Jurors should notify their employer immediately of their jury service. Jury Management will provide jurors with proof of service upon request.
Failure to Appear
Jurors who fail to appear as directed and to attend until duly discharged are subject to a fine as well as potentially subject to the contempt powers of the Court. The Court may sentence a person to confinement in the Effingham County Jail under its contempt powers.