Contacting the Jury Office:
How can I reach the Potter County Jury Office?
The Central Jury Room is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During business hours, jurors may call (806) 379-2300 to speak with a staff member between the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. The Central Jury room fax number is (806) 379-2875. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Jury Office address is:Potter County Courts Building 501 S. Fillmore Street, Suite 1C Amarillo, Texas 79101
Juror Selection Process:
Where does the District Clerk obtain names of prospective jurors?
The process for selecting prospective jurors is mandated by state law. If you are a registered voter, have a Texas driver's license or Texas personal identification card and you live in Potter County, your name is entered in a computer system designed to randomly select prospective jurors.
When directed by the State District, County or Justice of the Peace Courts of Potter County, the District Clerk makes a random selection of names, which are retrieved as needed each month. Those selected for that month receive a summons which is mailed by the Potter County District Clerk's Office. Please note that the Justice of the Peace Courts convene at locations away from the District Courts Building.
Because this is a random selection system, and there is not an endless supply of potential jurors, it is quite possible that you will receive quite a few jury summons while you live in Potter County.
A Day in the Life of a Juror:
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 up to a week or more. 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: TAfter 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.
Tips to Make Your Jury Service More Enjoyable:
Knowing where you are going and what to expect when you get there can make any experience more enjoyable, and jury service is no exception. Getting to your assigned location, and arriving prepared are not nearly as tough as you might think.
Come Prepared: You must bring your jury summons with you when you report for jury duty. In addition, you may want to bring something to do while you wait. Jury duty does involve some waiting, so a good book or handwork will help pass the time.
You may also want to bring money for snacks, drinks, and lunch. There are vending machines handy in the Central Jury Room for snacks during breaks.
Dress the Part: You may be selected for and actually serve on a jury the day you are summoned, so it's important that you dress appropriately. Jury service is serious business, and you should dress accordingly. Business attire is recommended.
Shorts, hats, tank tops and house shoes are not allowed. T-shirts with derogatory images or messages are also not considered appropriate. When in doubt, dress seriously but with comfort in mind. Jury service can involve a good deal of sitting.
What Your Jury Service Involves: Once you have arrived at the Central Jury Room on the 1st floor of the District Courts Building, or the Justice of the Peace court that you're summonsed to, your jury service is underway. You'll find that the system is set up to guide you along with clear instructions throughout the process. Whether you are selected for a jury or not, you will still be providing an essential part of the trial by jury system.
Before you are allowed to enter, you will pass through a metal detector. Please remember that absolutely no weapons of any kind are allowed in the building.
After checking in, prospective jurors will be given a brief orientation by the qualifying Judge. The qualifying Judge will give further instructions and hear possible exemptions and disqualifications.
Prospective jurors are assigned to panels, which are smaller groups, from which jurors are selected. The jurors are briefed by the judge and questioned by attorneys for both sides until the jurors who will hear the case are chosen.
Getting Paid for Jury Service:
Jurors are paid for their service. Each prospective juror sent to a court receives $6.00 for the first day. If you are instructed to return to court another day, you will receive forty dollars ($40) per day beginning the second day of service and thereafter until the trial has concluded.
Payment is processed at the end of the jury service, and a check is mailed to each juror within 30 days of the conclusion of your jury service.
Jury Duty and Your Job:
The law protects your job while you are fulfilling your duty and you cannot be fired for serving. Your employer is not, however, required to pay you for the time missed from work while on jury duty.
You can be exempted from jury duty in certain circumstances. If any of the listed exemptions apply to you, you may claim the exemption but you do not have to. A completed questionnaire must accompany any request for exemption.
The exemptions for jury service are as follows:
You are over 70 years of age.
You have legal custody of a child or children younger than 12 years of age and service on the jury would require leaving the child or children without adequate supervision.
You are a student of a public or private secondary [high] school.
You are a person enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education. (online classes do not count)
You are an officer or an employee of the senate, the House of Representatives or any department, commission, board, office or other agency in the legislative branch of state government.
You are the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself. (NOTE: This exemption does not apply to you if you are a primary caretaker only in your capacity as a healthcare worker.)
Member of the United States Military forces serving on active duty and deployed or stationed to a location away from your home station and out of your county of residence.
There are several common reasons given for exemption requests which are not allowable by State law for the Jury Room staff to excuse an individual for.
Being the sole owner of a business
Have an employer who will not pay you for your jury service
Lack of transportation
Religious or ethical/moral beliefs
What you do for a living
If you want to request a temporary or permanent exemption due to medical/mental health reasons, please contact the Central Jury Room at (806) 379-2300 and press 1 for Jury Service. Or, you my e-mail a request to email@example.com. This form will need to be completed, signed and accompanied by a statement from your physician before submitting your request.
What about getting a postponement?
The Jury Office realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to defer service to a more convenient time in most instances. Jurors may request a first-time postponement after being summoned via phone (806) 379-2300 or Internet. Jurors may select a new date of their choice, with some limitations as long as the new date is within 90 days of the date on which they were scheduled to appear. Subsequent postponements are not allowed unless it is an extreme emergency that was not anticipated when the first postponement was granted.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about your summons or jury duty, please call the Potter County District Clerk's Office at (806) 379-2300 and press 1 for Jury Service. Or if you want to e-mail the Potter County District Clerk's Office you can e-mail any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We understand you have questions, and we'll do everything we can to 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.