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Smith County Jury Duty Information
As the official charged with the responsibility of the jury system for County and District Courts in Smith County, I want to thank you for your interest in jury service.  The system of justice in place in our country is the finest in the world and one in which we should all take pride.  Inherent to this system of justice is the right of an individual to be heard by a group of his/her peers -- the jury.  Without you, the citizen, our system of justice would not work.

Thank you again for your contribution to this system.

Lois Rogers
District Clerk
1. How was my name selected for jury duty?

Answer: You were selected at random from a record of names compiled by the Secretary of State and provided to Smith County. That record consists of Smith County registered voters and names provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

2. How many times can I be called for jury duty?

Answer: The Smith County Electronic Jury Selection Plan was amended in 2000 to allow for the random selection of jurors from the same record of names until that record is exhausted. In other words, each January we begin with a new record of names as provided by the Secretary of State. Once an individual has been selected from that record of names, their name is flagged so the system will not select them again during the January-December time period. The flags are only removed if the list has been exhausted and the need arises for additional jurors.

3. Is it possible for me to be in the system more than once?

Answer: Yes. If your name and address are not exactly the same on your Voter Registration record and Driver's License, you may be in the system more than once. This may be remedied by changing your Voter Registration record to agree with your Driver's License. You must contact the Smith County Clerk - Voter Registration office in order to change your record.

4. How many times may I reset my jury service?

Answer: If you have an emergency you may reset your service up to 6 weeks. You are only allowed one reset. Resets are not allowed on a special venire.

5. What is a "special venire"?

Answer: A panel that has been selected for a specific court for a specific case.

6. What days are jurors called for jury service?

Answer: Central jury panels are summoned each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, except on county holidays. A Special Venire is usually summoned on Thursday.

7.

Am I eligible for jury service in Smith County?

Answer: Jurors must:

  • Be a citizen of Texas and a residence of Smith County;
  • Be qualified under the constitution and laws to vote in Smith County;
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be able to read and write;
  • Be of sound mind and good moral character.

You cannot serve on a jury if:

  • You have served on a petit jury for 6 days or more during the preceding 3 months in a County Court or 6 months in a District Court;
  • You have been convicted of a theft or any felony;
  • You are under indictment or other legal accusation of a misdemeanor theft, felony theft, or any other felony charge.

(If you claim disqualification under number 2 or 3 claiming lack of citizenship or lack of residence in the county you may lose your eligibility to vote.)

Business reasons are NOT lawful excuses. 

Medical reasons MUST be accompanied by a physician’s statement, Also, if this is a permanent condition, it must specifically state so in the letter.  Statements can be faxed to 903-590-1661.

 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 reason, please notify the judge when you appear for jury service.

8.

Who can be excused from jury service?

Answer: You are entitled to be excused as a juror if you:

  • Are over 70 years of age;
  • Have legal custody of a child under 12 years of age and jury service would leave the child unsupervised;
  • Are a student of a public or private secondary school; • Are enrolled and attending an institution of higher education;
  • Are the caretaker of a person who is unable to care for themselves (an invalid); or
  • Can show a physical or mental impairment or an inability to comprehend or to communicate in English. Note: Business or economic hardships are not legal excuses from jury service.
  • You are a member of the U. S. Military Forces serving on active duty and deployed to a location away from the person's home station and out of the person's county of residence.

     

9. Must my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?

Answer: 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.

10. What is the proper attire for jury service?

Answer: Business or dressy casual attire is appropriate. Absolutely no shorts, cut offs, or suggestive attire. To contact jury coordinator: email: jurycoord@smith-county.com

11.

Where do I park for jury duty?

Answer: Designated juror parking locations are as follows:

(Please note that if you park at any other location, other than a designated juror parking lot, you do so at your own expense and risk of being ticketed or having your vehicle towed.

Please Park only in the designated juror parking lots. We are not responsible for any ticket or towing expense you incur by parking at other locations not designated as juror parking lots.)  The courthouse opens at 7:45 a.m.

Lot "A"
Corner of E. Ferguson St. and S. Fannin Ave.

Lot "B"

This information is provided as a courtesy for visitors to the Smith County courthouse and other county buildings.  The information contained herein is not intended to conflict with established rules of any individual court or county office.  In the event of a conflict, the established rules of the individual court or county office take precedence.

  


RULES OF DECORUM

Each court may have its own rules for courtroom conduct.  This information is intended to prepare visitors for typical rules that may be common to all courts.
 

The following information may not apply in the central jury room which is the general assembly room for all jurors.  Vending machines are provided within the central jury room.  Please follow the specific instructions given to you by court personnel.

If you are selected for jury duty, typical courtroom rules are as follows:

 

 

  • No tobacco use;
  • No chewing gum or candy;
  • No reading of newspapers or magazines while court is in session;
  • No bottles, cups, or beverage containers except water pitchers and cups used by jurors or court personnel and participants;
  • No edibles of any kind;
  • No propping of feet on tables or chairs;
  • No noise or talking that interferes with court proceedings, including but not limited to cellular phones and digital pagers.
  • Dress appropriately for court.  Typical court rules prohibit the following attire:  shorts, capri pants, tank tops, mini-skirts, or inappropriate t-shirts.
  • Men should remove hats or ball caps before entering the courtroom.


PROHIBITED ITEMS

The following items are not allowed in the Smith County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, or other county buildings:

  • Firearms
  • Knives (Pocket knives, dinner knives, etc.)
  • Blades (Scissors, glass scrapers, box cutters, etc.)
  • Defensive Sprays (Mace, Pepper Spray, etc.)
  • Electronic Shock Devices (Tasers, Stun-guns, etc.)
  • Tools (Screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.)
  • Any object with a sharp point (forks, combs, etc.)
  • Any object not mentioned here that is deemed inappropriate or dangerous by a staff member or law enforcement officer of that building.

WARNING:  Any object may potentially be deemed as a prohibited item by security.  You may not leave prohibited items with security personnel.  All weapons, illegal items, and suspected stolen property carried into a county building will be confiscated by the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and may be used in further investigations.  If you have any of these items in your possession, please return them to your vehicle.

Any person showing a deliberate, reckless, or negligent disregard for safety or instructions given by Sheriff’s Deputies or Staff Members will be subject to Texas Penal Code Section 30.05 (Criminal Trespass) and will be removed from the property regardless of purpose of entry.


SECURITY

Video surveillance, metal detection devices, body scanners and other security devices are in use in and around all county facilities to ensure security of staff, participants, and visitors.

All persons and property entering county facilities are subject to search and will be required to proceed through security checkpoints (with law enforcement approval) as a condition of entry.

Smith County Sheriff Deputies are in charge of security.  Any verbal or physical resistance, attempts to enter with prohibited or illegal items, or failure to pass through security checkpoints (with law enforcement approval) may result in refusal of admittance to county facilities and/or criminal prosecution.

Smith County Texas
100 N. Broadway Tyler, Texas
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phone 1.903.590.2600 | email comments@smith-county.com