Now that you're 18 one of the obligations that comes with the territory is serving on a jury if called. If your name is pulled you have a responsibility to accept, unless you have been excused for some special reason. The following are some examples of reasons why a judge might decline to have someone serve on a jury:
- You're related to someone involved in the case.
- You have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.
- You're found to have a bias that would prevent you from deciding the matter impartially.
In some cases a judge may also excuse a person from jury duty if the obligation would cause extreme inconvenience for that person, meaning consideration of family or career factors.
Who can be a juror?
To serve as a juror in a Tennessee court you must be at least 18, a U.S. Citizen and Tennessee resident for 12 months prior to service and not suffering from a disqualifying physical or mental impairment.
What do you get out of it?
Well, besides the sense of satisfaction for having done your civic duty, courts in Hamilton County pay $13.00 a day to those sacrificing their time for jury service.
How often must you serve?
Under a previous law jurors who served could not be called again for 10 years. Sadly, that requirement changed, and now jurors can be called up for service again every two years.
So what if you just don't feel like doing jury duty? Tennessee law has a punishment for that and if you've been summoned, everyone gets the option of putting off jury duty for up to a year. A valid excuse is required after that. Failure to serve without an excuse from a judge will result in your being held in contempt of court and can lead to a $500 fine.