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Jury Duty

Did you know that there are two types of Jurors? Petit Jurors are summoned to serve on civil and criminal jury trials, and Grand Jurors determine whether a person shall be tried for a serious crime alleged to have been committed.

Jurors are randomly selected from a pool of potential jurors summoned from the registered voters of the area where the court is located. A potential juror will receive a written summons in the mail instructing them to appear for jury selection on a specific day, time, and location.

Voir Dire and Jury Duty

“Voir Dire” is the legal term for the jury selection process. The Court will summons more potential jurors than is actually needed because some people will be excused or not qualify to serve on the jury. A juror must be 21 years of age or older, not be a convicted felon, and not be a common gambler or habitual drunkard.

The jury selection process will consist of the Judge asking potential jurors questions about themselves, usually followed by the Attorneys asking more questions about the potential jurors. This is done in order to select jurors who do not have a bias towards one party or the other and meet the above-mentioned requirements. Any jurors selected will receive nominal monetary compensation for their service. This process is meant to select a jury of your peers.

Number of Jurors

In most cases, a jury will consist of 12 main jurors and 1 or 2 alternates. This applies in most civil cases and criminal cases in most states. The alternates usually sit through the trail, so they can hear all the evidence present, and be able to fill in if one of the main jurors gets sick or cannot continue for whatever reason.

In a Mississippi civil case, the decision (verdict) of the jury need only be reached by 9 out of the 12 jurors. In a Mississippi criminal case, the decision must be unanimous, meaning all 12 jurors must agree to convict. For more information on Mississippi courts, click here. Other states have different rules.

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