|Q. How was my name selected? |
A. New Hampshire combines the list of licensed drivers provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the lists of registered voters provided by cities and towns to create a master list of jurors. Names are randomly selected for jurors in each county.
Q. What are the qualifications to be a juror?
A. You must be 18 years old or older, a resident of the county where you have been summoned, a citizen of the United States and be able to read, speak and understand English.
Q. Is anyone totally exempt from jury service?
A. By law, very few people are totally exempt from serving on a jury. If you are 70 years old or older, you do not have to serve but you can if you want to.
A juror shall not have been convicted of any felony which has not been annulled or which is not eligible for annulment under New Hampshire law. You are exempt from serving if you currently have a case pending in the county where you have been summoned and that case could be heard by the same jury panel. Finally, if you are a member of the legislature, and the General Court is in session, you can ask to be excused.
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Q. How can I request to be excused from jury service?
A. You must write to the court and explain your reason for asking to be excused. For example, if you have a permanent medical condition that would make it difficult for you to serve as a juror, you will need to provide a note from your doctor as to the reason you need to be excused. You should make this written request as soon as you receive your summons. You should mail your request and the completed juror questionnaire to the court as soon as possible. The judge will examine your reason and the court will let you know if you are excused or if and when you have to come at another time.
Q. Can I postpone my service and come at another time?
A. If the month that you have been summoned for is particularly inconvenient for you, such as if you have a prior work related commitment, you can request to have your service postponed to another month. You must make this request in writing and mail your request and the completed juror questionnaire to the court as soon as possible. The judge will examine your request and the court will let you know what month you must return.
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Q. Will I get paid from my employer while I am on a jury?
A. Your employer is not required to pay you while you are serving on a jury. You will get paid by the court; $10 for half a day and $20 for a full day while you are serving on a jury. However, by law, your employer is not allowed to threaten, coerce or dismiss you because of your jury service. You should speak to someone at the clerk’s office immediately if you think your employer is discriminating against you because of your jury service.
Q. What if I have served on a jury before?
Q. How long will I have to serve on a jury?
A. If you have served on a state court jury within the past three years, let the court know as soon as possible and you will not be required to serve again within the three years.
A. It is difficult to say for sure. Most trials last less than a week. Even if you have been on one jury, you may be called back for another within that month. It is important to make arrangements in your schedule to be available during the time the court has identified. You will not be required to sit on a jury for more than 30 days (6, five day weeks) unless you are in the middle of a trial. Most likely your service will be less than that.
Q. Are there facilities for child care at the court?
A. There are no child care facilities at any of the courts. You should make arrangements for your children during the time you are needed for jury service.
Q. What will happen if I just ignore the summons?
A. Jury service is an important part of our responsibility as individuals living in a democratic society. Your fellow citizens are relying on you to listen to and decide on the facts in their cases and make impartial decisions about how disputes should be resolved. You should take this responsibility seriously. If you willfully fail to serve as a juror, you can be subject to certain penalties.
Q. What is the jury summons I received in the mail?
A. This is the official notice that you receive from the Court that requires you to be a juror. You should read this notice carefully and follow the instructions on the summons. If you have questions, you should call the telephone number on the instructions.
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Q. What is an alternate juror?
A. A jury normally consists of 12 jurors. In some cases, additional jurors may be selected to serve as alternates. The alternate jurors sit with the jury during the trial and can take the place of any juror who becomes ill or must be excused before the trial ends.
Q. What is a foreperson?
A. Before the judge tells the jury to discuss and decide the case privately, the judge will either appoint a foreperson or ask the jury to select one. The foreperson should keep order during the deliberations and make sure that all jurors have a chance to freely express their views.
Q. Can I take notes or ask questions during the case?
A. This will be up to the judge in each case. If a judge allows jurors to ask questions or take notes, the judge will explain the procedures. You should follow these procedures carefully.
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Q. Why are there so many delays during the trial?
A. Many times during a trial, jurors are asked to wait while the judge reviews legal matters with the attorneys trying the case. While it may seem like a lot of time is being wasted while the attorneys and judges are talking privately, you should understand that legal issues are frequently complex and may require large blocks of time to resolve. Once these issues are resolved, however, the result is that the time of the trial is reduced and questions and evidence can move along more quickly. Rest assured that everyone connected with a trial wants the process to conclude as promptly as possible with the assurance that all parties are given an opportunity to present their case.
Q. When can I talk about a case in which I participated as a juror?
A. Once a jury has returned the verdict in a case, the jurors are permitted to discuss the trial, verdict and deliberations with anyone they wish, other than the parties and their attorneys. No attorney, party involved in the case, or any person acting for them, is permitted to interview, examine or question any juror or member of the jurors family for a period of 30 days after jurors have completed their jury service. After that time has passed, communication is permitted. However, jurors are not required to discuss any matter concerning their jury service with anyone unless they wish to do so. Jurors should let the court know if they are contacted within the 30 day period or if anyone has asked them questions or made comments that were calculated to embarrass or harass the juror or to influence his or her actions in future jury service.
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