Guide to Jury Duty in Orange County
You've Been Selected for a Jury -- What Now?
If you are selected to seve, this will be an opportunity to see our justice system in action firsthand.
Each trial is as unique as the people involved, and there's no way to predict how long the trial you are chosen for will last. A trial can last a day or take two or three days. They are seldom much longer.
During the trial, the judge will tell you what time you need to be in court each day and what time to expect each day to end. You will also be given a break for lunch.
Trials follow a set procedure which you may find familiar.
Opening Statement: Attorneys for each side may explain the case, outline any evidence they will present, and discuss the issues you will decide. This is usually a broad statement which sets the stage for witnesses and the details to follow.
Presentation of Evidence: Testimony of witnesses and exhibits are all evidence. Any exhibits will be available to the jury during their deliberations. Because you will be deciding the case based on the facts presented, it is very important to pay close attention to all evidence.
Rulings by the Judge: The judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. He may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while lawyers make legal arguments. If this happens, understand that these issues must be decided so that proper evidence can be considered by the jury.
Instruction to the Jury: After all evidence has been presented, the judge may give the jury the Charge of the Court. This includes legal instructions about the case and the question the jury must answer.
Closing Arguments: This gives the lawyers an opportunity to summarize the evidence and to try to persuade the jury to accept their client's view of the case.
Jury Deliberations and Decision: After hearing the closing arguments, the jury is sent to deliberate. During deliberations, members of the jury will decide how they will answer the questions presented in the Charge of Court and then return a final verdict.
Sequestered juries are very rare. Before you are assigned to such a jury, you will have an opportunity to discuss with the judge any problems this might create.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about your summons or jury duty, please call the Orange County Court Administrator's Office at (409)882-7075 or (409)769-2400 ext.7075. Or if you want to e-mail the Orange County Court Administrator's Office you can e-mail any questions to Glenda Mello.
We understand you have questions, and we'll do everything we can make your jury service easy and as interesting as possible. We rely on our citizens to keep our justice system running, and we thank you in advance for the very important part you play.