A Guide to Jury Service
So You received a summons for Jury Duty?
First, you must go to e-Response to fill out the on-line questionnaire
concerning your Jury Service.
To Serve as a Juror in Okaloosa County
You must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of Okaloosa
County and have a valid Florida driver's license or Florida ID card, if not
please go to e-Response and request disqualification.
How are jurors summoned for jury duty?
Your name is randomly selected from a list that is currently provided by the
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Are there any exemptions from serving as a juror?
Yes, you may be excused from serving as a juror for one of the following
- Have served as a juror in Okaloosa County within the past twelve months.
- An expectant mother or a parent that is not employed full-time and has
custody of a child under six years of age.
- You are 70 years of age or older.
- A Law Enforcement Officer, with arrest
- Responsible for the care of a person who, because of mental illness,
mental retardation, senility, or physical or mental incapacity, is incapable
of caring for himself.
All other requests must go before the presiding Judge for
excusal so all requests must be received at least 7 days BEFORE your Jury
service date. Some requests will require further documentation to be
faxed to the Jury Management division before the request can be processed.
For example, if you request an excusal based on sickness, you will be required
to provide a letter from your doctor stating your condition will not allow you
to serve as a juror. Regardless all request should be made online through the
e-Response system first. You will be contacted about the
outcome of your request, or you can log into e-Response and check the status of
You cannot serve as a juror if you have been convicted of
a felony and have not had your rights restored
(Misdemeanors and DUIs are not felonies). Don't know if your rights have
been restored? Click Here
and search the Office of Executive Clemency. If your rights have not been
restored you cannot serve as a juror, you must go into e-Response
and request a disqualification based on your status as a felon.
Be prepared to give the state and county of your conviction.
What if I have travel plans or can't serve on my summons date?
You may request a deferral via e-Response, and even select your date of service.
We will make every effort to accommodate your request however, we must weigh the
needs of the court in considering any request. You will be contacted about
the outcome of your request, or you may log in and check your status.
Where will I serve?
Through random selection you may be called to serve at either the Okaloosa
County Courthouse in Crestview or the Okaloosa County Courthouse Annex Extension in
Ft. Walton Beach. Your summons will show your specific report location,
date and time of your service. Court cases often settle between the time
summonses are mailed and jurors are scheduled to report. Therefore, you should
check your status via E-Response regularly or call the appropriate number,
682-3821 in Crestview or 651-6687 in Ft Walton Beach after 5:00 P.M. on the day
before you are to report, even if this day is a Sunday or holiday, to be
informed by a recorded message whether or not your service will be required.
Will I get paid for jury duty?
Effective July 1, 1993, jurors who are regularly employed and who continue to
receive regular wages while serving as a juror are not entitled to receive
compensation for the first three days of juror service. Jurors
who are not regularly employed or who do not continue to receive regular wages
while serving as a juror are entitled to receive $15.00 per day for the first
three days of juror service. Each juror who serves more than three days will be
paid for the fourth day of service and each day thereafter at the
rate of $30.00 per day of service.
I don't own a suit what should I wear?
You should remember court is a serious place and the integrity of the court
is serious business. For men, a shirt and tie is appropriate however, as a
minimum you should wear nice pants and a collared shirt. For women a skirt
or pants suit is appropriate, as a minimum nice pants and a collared shirt
should be worn. T-Shirts, shorts, flip-flops are never appropriate for
the courtroom and should not be worn. Wearing them wont get you out of
jury duty but it may get you admonished by the court.
What happens when I show up for Jury Duty?
Entering the Courthouse:
All persons entering the Courthouse locations, even prospective jurors, are
required to submit to a security screening. This will include passing through a
metal detector and placing any items being carried through an X-ray machine.
Please keep in mind that even certain everyday items (scissors, pocket knives,
etc.) will not be permitted.
When you first arrive your paperwork will be collected and you will be "Scanned"
in at the check in table. You will then go through qualification to
determine if you meet the criteria to serve as a juror as established in Chapter
40 of the Florida Statutes. Once qualification
is complete you will watch a short instructional video detailing your service as
"Voir Dire" or Examination of Jurors:
After Orientation you are impaneled as a prospective juror in a case and sent to
the courtroom, where the judge and the
lawyers will ask you some questions regarding your background. These questions
are not intended to embarrass you in any way. The questions are to assist the
lawyers in deciding which jurors to select. A juror may have a prejudice
regarding the type of case to be tried that would make him or her a less
desirable juror for the case. If the juror feels that he/she may not be an
impartial juror and this is not brought out by questioning, the juror should
bring this to the attention of the judge. A juror may be excused because the
judge is of the opinion that the juror cannot render a fair and impartial
verdict. If a juror is excused for any reason, it is in no way a reflection on
the juror. When a juror is excused, it means only that in the particular case it
is proper and lawful to excuse him or her. Any juror who is excused from jury
service at the juror's own request is not entitled to receive any compensation.
Length of service:
Your first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials held
during the trial week. If you are selected as a juror on a case, you
may be scheduled to return and serve as a juror on the date of that trial.
Types of trials:
Cases which come before a petit jury are divided into two general classes, Civil
and Criminal. In a civil trial, parties in dispute come into court to determine
and settle their respective rights. The person who brings an action against
another is the "plaintiff." The person against whom the action is
brought is the "defendant." In a criminal trial, the persons bringing
the action are the people of the State of Florida, represented by the
"prosecutor." The "defendant" is a person or corporation
accused of a violation of law.
Important things to remember during the trial:
After you are sworn as a juror in a case, there are some rules of conduct which
you should observe:
- Do not be late for court. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are
- Sit in the same seat in the jury box. This allows the clerk, judge and
lawyers to identify you more easily.
- Listen carefully. It is important that you hear every question asked and
every answer given since your verdict will be based on the evidence given.
If you do not understand any portion of the trial, ask the judge to have it
- Do not talk about the case. You should not talk to anyone about the case.
This includes the clerk, lawyers, judge, bailiff or even another juror
unless you have retired to the jury room for deliberations. If anyone tries
to talk to you about the case or attempts to influence you as a juror, you
should report it to the judge immediately.
What happens if I don't show up for
Florida Statute 40.23(3) provides penalties for Failure to
Appear. The presiding Judge may impose a fine of up to $100 in addition a
Failure to Appear may be considered a contempt of Court.
NOTICE REGARDING THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990
If you are a person with a disability who needs any
accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at
no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact :
190 Governmental Center, 5th Floor
Pensacola, FL 32502
at least 7 days before your scheduled court appearance, or
immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled
appearance is less than 7 days; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.