Jury Service

Trial by jury is not a perfect system of obtaining justice; it is simply the best system we have yet been able to devise. Serving on a jury is not only an obligation of every qualified citizen, it is a right and a privilege.

If you are required to serve on a jury, you become, along with the lawyers and the judge, an officer of the court, a part of the judicial system with a most important responsibility to your State and your fellow man.

Please keep in mind that the administration of justice is not a process in which shortcuts should be taken simply to speed up the process. The determination of truth and the fair and equitable application of the law are matters of grave importance.

As you fulfill your responsibility as a juror, you might find yourself confronting the dilemma of hurrying up just so you can wait longer. Do not despair. Except for an occasional complicated or sensational case, jury duty usually lasts for only a few days, and you probably will find that your participation is both educational and interesting.

Each year, a master jury list is prepared in each of the counties composing the 13th Judicial District by a jury commission in each county composed of three private citizens. The list is prepared by taking names from voter registration and licensed drivers’ rosters in a systematic manner to avoid favoritism and discrimination. For each week of court, prospective jurors are randomly selected from this list and Summonses are issued. The number of jurors summoned is based on the number of trial courts sitting in the county for each week. Jurors are utilized in civil proceedings in both the superior court division and the district court division, and only in criminal proceedings in the superior court division. Common questions regarding jury service can be found elsewhere on this site.

North Carolina does not provide an automatic exemption from jury service because of a person’s profession or age. All county residents are eligible for jury service except those who have served on the jury in the last two years, who are under eighteen years of age, who are physically or mentally incompetent, or who have been convicted of a felony and have not had their citizenship restored. Only the judge can exempt a person who has been called from serving, but a person who is called for jury service and is sixty-five years of age or older may state the reason for seeking an exemption from jury service in writing rather than having to personally appear before the judge. The procedure for being excused or rescheduled is discussed elsewhere on this site.

Members of the Grand Jury are selected four times each year. The selection process and term of service are explained in more detail elsewhere on this site

**An employer may not discharge or demote any employee because of the employee’s service as a juror.