If you have been summoned to serve as a juror in the Eighteenth Judicial District of Kansas, commonly called the Sedgwick County District Court, the following information will be beneficial to you.
This page describes in general the functions of the jurors in the court. By reading it you will be able to make your contribution to the administration of justice more valuable and more rewarding.
You are being asked to perform one of the highest duties that can be imposed on any citizen. Therefore, it is important that you willingly and without reservation determine to do your duty as jurors in accord with the highest and truest sense of obligation and responsibility at your command.
How was I selected?
You were selected at random with the use of a computer from the citizens of Sedgwick County.
If you are at least eighteen years of age, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Sedgwick County, are not now adjudged incompetent, are able to comprehend the English language, not currently breastfeeding, and have not been convicted of a felony in the last 10 years, you are eligible to serve as a juror.
How long will I serve?
All jury panels are called for a one-week period. If you are not selected as a juror during that week, your service will be concluded. If you are selected as a juror, your service will be over when the case is over. Although some cases last longer than one week, the vast majority of cases will average three or four days.
Excuses from Service
The judges are well aware that calling you for jury duty will result in an inconvenience to you. Under the law, the judge is permitted to excuse you only if your presence is required elsewhere for the public welfare, health or safety; if you are so physically or mentally infirm that you are not up to the task of jury duty; if you have served on a jury within the last year; or, if jury service would cause you extraordinary or compelling personal hardship. If you believe that you should be excused for one of these reasons, make your request known to the Jury Clerk.
Are you a citizen of the United States?
If no, you will need to provide proof of being a Non Citizen: send by fax, e-mail or u.s. mail or bring verification to the office, a copy of permanent resident card, passport, or student visa. If you send it to our office, please call to confirm that your verification was received and that you have been excused.
Are you a resident of Sedgwick County?
I've moved from Sedgwick County. Do I still qualify for jury service? No. If you have received a jury summons from us, but no longer live in Sedgwick County, please provide verification to our office. Send a copy of driver's license, voter registration, vehicle registration by fax, e-mail or u.s. mail for verification of current residence. Please call to confirm that your verification was received and that you have been excused.
Has a court found you to be presently incompetent?
If you have been found to be incompetent by a court, you will need to call the clerk at (316) 660-9101 so that the clerk may verify a case is on file with our court.
Have you been convicted, pled guilty, or pled nolo contendre to a felony within the last 10 years?
If you have been convicted of a Felony charge in Sedgwick County, please call the clerk at (316) 660-9101 so that the clerk may verify a case is on file with our court. If you have been convicted in another county or state, you will need to send verification by fax, email or us mail. Please call to confirm your verification was received and that you have been excused.
Are you a breastfeeding mother?
If you are a breast feeding mother, you may send verification by fax, e-mail or u.s mail from your doctor. Please call to confirm that your verification was received and that you have been excused.
Excused from Jury duty for health reasons?
If you have health reasons that make you incapable of serving on jury duty. You will need to send verification from your doctor in some details stating why you are unable to serve. Your doctor's office may send verification by fax, e-mail or u.s. mail. Please call to confirm that your verification was received from your doctor and that you have been excused
Failure to report for Jury Service
What happens if I have been summoned for jury service, but I just decide not to come in? You may be held in contempt of court and you can be fined for failing to respond to a jury service summons. We hope that you will reconsider. The jury system is an important part of democracy in America. Rather than relying solely upon state employees (judges) to decide the facts in a dispute, whether civil or criminal, our system of government relies upon a group of citizens chosen from the community to make those decisions. The jury system can only work well if jurors are chosen from a full cross-section of the people. Because of this, we work hard to make sure that segments of our community are not excluded from jury duty, whether through self-selection (i.e., failing to show up) or otherwise.
Continuance of Jury service
If jury service on the scheduled date would cause you temporary extraordinary or compelling personal hardship, your jury service can be changed to a later date. Request for deferred jury service must be made before the date on your summons by calling the Jury Clerk. Jury service may be rescheduled one time only.
Must I have special knowledge?
For service as a juror, it is not expected or necessary that you have any special talents or training. The judge presiding in the trial will decide the law. You will decide the facts from the evidence presented in the case utilizing your experience and knowledge common to all persons in general. As a juror, you become an officer of the court, the judge of the facts - and determine the verdict in the case.
What is the working schedule?
The hours of work are set by each judge with a break for lunch and recesses. At times it becomes necessary to work a little late - perhaps to complete the testimony of a witness from out of town to avoid a return the next day. But the normal working hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm.
During lunch you are permitted to leave the courthouse, and in the evenings you will be permitted to return to your homes. You may have read of cases where jurors are "sequestered" or kept together in the evenings during trial. You do not need to worry about this. Traditionally, we do not sequester juries, even during their deliberation on their verdict.
Sometimes there are delays before jurors are assigned to a court for trial. The parties have a legal right to settle their differences without a trial, and at times this may be done after the parties and lawyers come to court. Also, in some cases there are matters that must be taken up before trial, and this cannot be done until the actual day of trial. In either case, jurors usually remain in the assembly room rather than the courtroom. You may want to bring a book, magazine or needlework** in case the delay is longer than usual. We will inform you as soon as it is determined that you are not needed. Wireless internet access is available.
During the trial there are conferences on matters of law between the judge and the lawyers. These are part of the trial and are usually done outside the presence of the jury.
**Needlework - security does not allow pointed scissors or knitting needles. Crochet hooks are okay. Anything deemed dangerous will be confiscated and returned upon departure.
Whenever the judge enters the courtroom, all persons in attendance are required to rise, and court is opened formally by the bailiff of the court. Besides the judge and bailiff, the staff includes the certified shorthand reporter who records all the proceedings of the trial.
When a case is ready to be tried with a jury, the judge will announce the names of the parties and introduce the lawyers. The required number of jurors will then be called to sit in the jury box, and trial begins with the jury selection process.
The dress code for jury duty is business casual.
Uniforms are not permitted. Uniforms include, but are not limited to; firefighters, security, military, law enforcement, nursing scrubs, EMT and other easily recognized uniforms.
Shorts and tank tops are not acceptable attire. Because temperatures vary in courtrooms and in the assembly room, it is recommended to dress in layers.
Conduct of Jurors
The judge will inform you of your function and conduct as jurors. Generally, you will be instructed that during the trial you as jurors must not express any opinion about the case nor are you to discuss any part of the case among yourselves or with anyone else, nor have anyone discuss the case with you or in your presence. The reason here is obvious: you are bound to render a verdict based only upon the evidence presented during the trial, which the judge has determined proper and admissible for you to consider.
You will notice that the parties and their lawyers may appear to be aloof and unfriendly. They are not permitted to fraternize with jurors. This is intended to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety. Your contacts about the case must be made only with the judge and the bailiff.
All that will be expected of you is to be open-minded, fair, and objective, and determine the facts of the case and the verdict based upon the evidence presented, the judge's instructions, and your common sense.
The statutory jury fee of $10 per day is not intended to reflect the value Of Your services as jurors. It is simply a token payment to persons who are performing one of the duties of citizenship.
You will receive your fee plus a mileage and meal allowance approximately two weeks following your jury service. If you are excused at your request, you will not receive this fee since you will not have been eligible for jury service.
Does my employer have to pay me during Jury service?
No, there is no Kansas law requiring employers to pay their employees while they are serving on a jury. However, they are required by Kansas law to allow you to serve on jury duty. Some employers do have policies under which employees are paid their normal salary even while serving on a jury. You'll need to check with your employer regarding their policy.
Why do I have to pay for postage to return questionnaire?
The Jury Office spends over $15,288 annually in postage to mail summons and juror checks. Postage for returned questionnaires would nearly double the cost.
If you received a Stand-By Jury Summons you do not need to report to the courthouse unless you are instructed to. When you call the phone number on your summons you will reach a RECORDING which will tell you (1) that you should report for jury service on that day, (2) that you should call again later in the week or (3) that you are permanently excused.
The judges have adopted a stand-by system in order to avoid the time and expense involved in calling jurors when they are not needed.
If you were not required to come in, your name will be placed back in the jury pool and you may be summoned at a later date.
Procedure of a Jury Trial
Deliberation of Jury
Your duty as a juror requires you to be prompt in your attendance, attentive to your duties, faithful to your oath, considerate and tolerant of your fellow jurors, sound and deliberate in your evaluation, firm but not stubborn in your convictions, and faithful to your trust..
From your service as a juror, you will experience a sense of deep satisfaction for having fulfilled your obligation to our community.