Jury Summons: Frequently Asked Questions
Being a juror presents citizens with the opportunity to take an active role in their government as well as help them experience firsthand how our court system works. Acting as a juror is an important responsibility of U.S. citizens. The U.S. and Illinois constitutions guarantee that every person charged with criminal or civil wrongdoing, with few exceptions, has the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers.
Who may serve as a juror?
A citizen of the United States, who is at least 18 years old, a resident of the county, and able to read, write and understand the English language.
How are citizens selected?
In order to be summoned, a citizen must be a registered voter, or have a driver's license, or have either an Illinois Identification Card or an Illinois Disabled Person Identification Card.
Where do people report for jury service?
Report to the address indicated on the jury summons at the time stated. In many counties, the night prior to your appearance, you can call the phone number on the summons to verify that you must be present. If you do not report, you may be held in contempt of court and be fined and/or sent to jail.
Can jury service be postponed to a more convenient date and time?
Yes. Call the number on the summons to explain why you cannot appear.
How long does the jury selection process take?
In the courtroom, you will be asked to take an oath in which you promise to answer all questions truthfully. Generally, a prospective juror needs only to spend one day in court.
Is job employment protected?
Who actually decides which citizens will serve as jurors?
Judges make the final decision; however, attorneys are allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges, meaning that they can, without giving a reason, ask that certain prospective jurors be excused. If you are not accepted as a juror, you should not take the rejection as an attack on your integrity.
Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.
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