As we all learned in civics class, our system of justice requires that disputes (both criminal and civil) be resolved by a "jury of your peers". Our society places very few true obligations on its citizens but serving as a juror is one of the most important civic duties that we have as members of this society. When you receive a juror summons, everyone knows that is not usually one of those pieces of mail that you celebrate receiving. However, if you or someone you cared about was ever involved in our justice system as a plaintiff, defendant, victim, witness, or in some other role, you would want someone just like you to serve on that jury. Your sacrifice of precious time is the only way that our system of justice continues to be sustainable in the 21st century.
The Clerk of Court oversees the jury process prior to the jury actually entering the courtroom to hear a particular case. If you have any questions that cannot be answered by the information on this webpage, please contact the Clerk of Court's office. However, please review the Frequently Asked Questions section below before contacting the Clerk's Office.
- Is jury service mandatory?
Yes. Georgia law requires that the names of potential jurors be identified through a rather complicated process. Once the citizens who are to serve on the juror panel have been identified and notices have been sent to each of the potential jurors, each juror is expected to attend the court session as outlined in the juror summons.
- Must I be a citizen of the United States to serve as a trial juror?
Yes. Georgia law specifically provides that only citizens of the United States are qualified to serve as jurors.
- What are the qualifications to serve as a juror?
You must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Columbia County, a citizen of the United States, and cannot be a convicted felon whose civil rights have not been restored. There are additional requirements that are specific to the case to be tried, but the list above forms the basic qualifications.
- What happens if I no longer reside in Columbia County?
Please contact the Clerk of Court and advise her staff that you no longer reside in Columbia County. If you are not presently a resident of Columbia County, you cannot serve on a jury in a case in the Columbia Judicial Circuit.
- I have something in my life that will interfere with jury service on the date in question. How do I address that situation?
Georgia law provides a few, very specific situations to allow a juror to have his/her service deferred to another date and time. Your juror summons should have identified a date and time for excuses to be considered. Please plan to attend that proceeding and let your issue be known. Only rarely is a juror truly "excused" from jury service - usually only deferred to another date and time.