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Frequently Asked Questions

Selection and Qualification

How was my name selected for jury duty?

The jury wheel, which is the list of potential jurors, comes from three lists:

  • All registered voters in Travis County
  • All registered voters from neighboring counties that reside within Austin city limits
  • All persons in Travis County with either a Texas driver's license or a Department of Public Safety identification card

Each year, the Voter lists and DPS lists are merged by matching the names as best as is possible to minimize duplications. The merged list is given to the Travis County District Clerk. The district clerk, county clerk, and sheriff then meet to 'reconstitute' the jury wheel by replacing the old list with the new one. Jury summonses are sent from the jury wheel on a random basis.

About 120,000 to 150,000 summonses are sent each year.

What are the qualifications for jury duty?

To serve as a juror you must meet these qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a citizen of this state and a resident of the county or city in which you are to serve as a juror (Travis County or the City of Austin)
  • Be qualified under the Constitution and laws to vote in the county or city in which you are to serve as a juror (Note: you DO NOT have to be registered to vote to be qualified to vote)
  • Be of sound mind and good moral character
  • Be able to read and write
  • Not have served as a juror for six days during the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court
  • Not have been convicted of theft or any felony
  • Not be under indictment or other legal accusation of a misdemeanor theft, felony theft, or any other felony charge

What should I do if I'm not qualified to serve?

If you are certain you are not qualified, just use the I-Jury™ Online Impaneling form to tell us, or complete the Certification of Exemption or Disqualification form on your summons and mail it to the address on the reverse side. All it needs is a first class stamp. You may also fax it to (512) 854-4457.

If you are not certain about whether you are qualified, you may contact the jury office in writing and ask for a clarification. In your letter, describe why you think you may not be qualified. Your letter can be e-mailed to ijury@co.travis.tx.us, mailed to P.O. Box 1748, Austin, TX 78767, or faxed to (512) 854-4457.

What are exemptions, and how do I get one?

You may be excused from jury service if you:

  • Are over 70 years of age
  • 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
  • Are a student at a public or private high school
  • Are enrolled and attending college
  • 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
  • Are the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself or herself. (This exemption does not apply to health care workers.)
  • Have served as a petit juror in the county during the 24-month period prior to the date you are required to appear for this summons
  • Have been summoned for service in a county with a population of at least 250,000 and you have served as a petit juror in the county during the three year period preceding the date you are to appear for jury service.

How do I claim an exemption?

If you qualify for an exemption, tell us on the I-Jury™ Online Impaneling form, or complete the Certification of Exemption or Disqualification form on your summons and mail it to the address on the reverse side. All it needs is a first class stamp. Or you may fax it to (512) 854-4457.

If you are not certain about whether you are exempt, you may contact the jury office in writing and ask for a clarification. In your letter, describe why you think you may not be qualified. Your letter can be e-mailed to ijury@co.travis.tx.us, mailed to P.O. Box 1748, Austin, TX 78767, or faxed to (512) 854-4457.

I will be out of town when I have to report for jury duty. What do I do?

The I-Jury™ Online Impaneling site will allow you to list your schedule conflicts. The jury office will take those conflicts into consideration when assigning you to a trial. If no trials are available that fit your schedule you can be given a 90 day postponement.

What do I do about a medical problem?

Travis County will accommodate anyone with a medical problem or a disability to help them complete their jury service.

However, any juror with a medical problem or disability who wishes to be excused may request so in writing. The request should be accompanied by a letter from the health care provider verifying the medical problem and the need for you to be excused. The request can be sent to the jury office by mailing it to P.O. Box 679005, Austin, TX 78767, or fax to (512)854-4457.

Being Assigned to a Trial

What options do I have for answering a jury summons?

You can respond to a summons one of two ways:

  • Anytime, on the Internet using I-Jury™.
  • Weekdays, Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, in person at the Travis County Jury Office.
    • 5501 Airport Blvd.,
      North entrance, Room 204
      (Airport Blvd. between 53½ St. and Koenig Ln.)
      Map

What happens if I fail to report by the date on my summons?

This depends on whether you fail to respond to a summons or fail to report to court as assigned.

If you miss the deadline stated on your summons for responding to that summons, you can still use I-Jury™ to respond. If you want to respond in person at the Travis County Jury Office, you can do that as well.

If you have already responded to a summons and received an assignment to a specific court, then failure to report to the courtroom is a serious matter for which you can be fined. Once you receive an assignment, you need to make arrangements to be in court on time on the date you are to report.

What happens at impaneling?

At impaneling, jurors are:

  • Given an oath of office. You may affirm or promise if you do not give oaths.
  • Qualified to serve. We depend upon jurors to let the judge know if they are concerned about being qualified.
  • Excused or postponed if permitted by law. Most excuses that are not disqualifications or exemptions are at the judge's discretion.
  • Given information about jury service in general. We try to let you know what to expect and what to do.
  • Assigned to various trials. Your assignment will be in writing and contain all the information you need about where and when to report for jury selection.

How do I use I-Jury™ to respond to the summons online?

Before going to I-Jury™, have the following available:

  • Your summons form (if you don’t have your summons form, contact the jury office at 854-9669 for assistance)
  • Your business and personal calendars

Once you have these items, go to the I-Jury™ web page. Please pay special attention to the Juror Responsibilities page. You will need to follow those directions to ensure you:

  1. Fill out the form completely.
  2. Check your email daily for assignment and updates.
  3. Most importantly, report to the court on time.

Please read each section carefully. Pay special attention to listing your conflict dates. You are committing to being available for jury duty on the days in which you do not have a conflict.

Once you submit the form, check your email a few minutes later to ensure you received a confirmation copy. This lets you know your form was transmitted properly. Save this copy on your email system until your jury service is completed.

I completed an I-Jury™ form but never heard back. What should I do?

The first email you receive should be a copy of your I-Jury™ form. If after one day you do not receive this form at any of the email addresses you provided, wait until the next day and CALL the jury office at (512) 854-9669. If we did not receive your form, we will let you know so you can resubmit it. DO NOT RESUBMIT the I-Jury™ form until the jury office has verified that your first form was not received. Resubmissions can result in multiple trial assignments.

The second email you receive will be an I-Jury™ acknowledgement. You will receive it by the next business day. The email will be one of the following:

  • ASSIGNMENT PENDING: This states you are qualified for jury service and can expect a court assignment in the next few days via email. Read carefully as it might specify the dates you can expect to start jury service.
  • EXCUSE: This states that you have been excused entirely from jury service and will not be required to report.
  • INFORMATION REQUIRED: We may need more information from you or your physician to determine whether or when you should serve as a juror.
  • REVIEW PENDING: Some situations require that the judge review your I-Jury™ form. We will contact you via email once the judge determines whether you are required to serve.

If you do not have your acknowledgement within 2 business days, call the jury office at (512) 854-9669 to verify that we actually received your I-Jury™ form.

Getting Ready to go to Court

I have my date and time and court assigned. What happens next?

What You do:

WRITE THE ASSIGNMENT ON YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL CALENDARS TO REMIND YOURSELF TO APPEAR IN COURT. You are now an Officer of the Court. This is an important responsibility, and your attendance in court is essential.

  • Save the email until your jury service is complete. Print the email if you can.
  • Read the assignment carefully and follow the instructions.
  • Keep checking your email and your voice mail for any assignment updates.

What we do:

Your I-Jury™ form and those of your fellow jurors are being provided to the judge of the court to whom you are assigned and to the attorneys who will be trying the case. The information on the forms are used to prepare for the trial.

Part of this preparation includes deciding exactly when the trial will start. If there is any change in start time, we will notify you as soon as possible, so checking your email and voice mail daily is important!

NEW: Text Messages

Travis County’s award winning jury impaneling system just got better! We’ve added features to keep you up to date on your jury assignment. One you have completed jury registration, I-Jury™ will:

  • Give you a reminder call the night before you are to report to court for your assignment,
  • Provide the status of your assignment when you call in, and
  • Send a reminder text message AND text you if your assignment is cancelled at the last minute!

When you register for jury service, make sure you enter your cell phone # in the field for text updates to take full advantage of these features and avoid a trip to the courthouse in the event your assignment is cancelled.

We hope you find these new features helpful, and we thank you for your service as a juror.

I'm supposed to call right before I come to the courthouse. Why?

The exact starting time for certain trials are not determined until shortly before the trial starts.

If your assignment says to call before coming to the courthouse, you must do so at the time stated. If you call earlier, you may be calling before the final decision is made and may have to call back again later. You can avoid an unnecessary trip to the courthouse if you call at the proper time so you can receive the correct time to report.

My assignment gives me a date and time only but not a court. What does this mean?

There are three types of assignments that give a date and time only:

SUPPLEMENTAL PANEL: Sometimes the judge and attorneys decide they need additional jurors for the trial. The Supplemental Panels are used to provide these additional jurors.

We may contact you directly by email and/or telephone to let you know when and where to report for a trial. If we contact you directly, follow the instructions given to you and report as directed.

If you are not directly contacted, your assignment instructs you to call in to find out whether you are needed for a trial. If needed, you will be given the location, date and time to report. If you are not needed at the time of your first call, you may be asked to call again the next day. You will learn in your second phone call when and where to report. If you are not needed after your second phone call, you will be released from jury service.

RESERVE PANEL: Sometimes judges may add another trial to their schedule. The Reserve Panels are used to provide these jurors for these trials.

We may contact you directly by email and/or telephone to let you know when and where to report for a trial.

Your assignment instructs you to call in to find out whether you are needed for a trial. If needed, you will learn in your phone call when and where to report. If you are not needed, you will be released from jury service.

CALL STATUS: Some trials cannot be scheduled in advance and have to be held on short notice. The Call Status panel is used to supply jurors for these trials.

When you are assigned to Call Status, you do not need to call to check in; if you are needed, the jury office will call you. You will receive at least one day's notice if you are to report; more notice will be given if possible. If you reach the end of your Call Status assignment and have not been contacted, you are excused from jury duty.

I have other obligations. Do I really have to do this?

ABSOLUTELY!

We could tell you all the reasons given in government or civics classes, but most of you have already heard them. We could tell you how serving on a jury is an interesting and rewarding experience, but you'll find that out for yourself. We could also talk about service to your community, being part of the justice system, the need for citizen participation, group decision-making, and all the other reasons why you should serve.

Ultimately, you have to serve because the law requires it.

The law says that the names of people who register to vote, who drive a car, or who have a Texas DPS ID card go into the system, so your name was included.

The law says names are randomly selected from this system to receive a summons, and your name was selected.

The law specifies who is qualified to serve and who can be exempted or excused, and unless you were discharged under these specifications, you were assigned to a trial.

Finally, the law says that failure to report for jury service carries a penalty of up to $1000 fine, and in some instances, the judge can hold you in contempt of court and order jail confinement.

We recognize the impact a jury summons has on your life, and we do all we can to ensure your jury service is as easy and convenient as possible. But we can't make it go away.

Can I change my trial assignment at any time?

No, assignments are final. Your juror information is provided to the court and lawyers shortly after the assignment is made. Changes would disrupt trial preparations. As a result, we are unable to make any changes to an assignment after impaneling has been concluded.

We recommend that all jurors bring their calendars with them to impaneling or consult them while impaneling on line so they can be prepared to identify all potential scheduling conflicts.

Will you be changing my trial assignment?

We do not anticipate changing your trial assignment. Occasionally we may contact you about a change in the date and time you are to report. In rare instances, we do need to make changes to ensure the needs of the courts are met. If so, we will provide you with as much notice as possible.

I don't think I'll be able to come to court as assigned. What should I do?

Once you are assigned, your obligation to report to court is established, and you cannot be discharged. If an emergency occurs, contact the number on your assignment letter as soon as possible and be prepared to provide a physician's statement of your condition.

Occasionally, a juror or a juror's child will become too ill to report to jury duty. If this occurs, you will need to contact the number on your assignment letter as soon as possible. Do not expect to be discharged; most likely, you will be reassigned to another trial at a later date.

Once assigned to a trial, you cannot be discharged because new schedule conflicts arise. One of your obligations as a juror is to be available for service on dates other than the conflict dates reported on your I-Jury™ form.

How do I get to the courthouse?

Main Courthouse

Location: 1000 Guadalupe St. (Southwest corner of the intersection of West 11th and Guadalupe) in the 1000th block of east side of Nueces)
Entry: Off Guadalupe on east side of building
Map
Parking: None reserved for jurors. There are City of Austin and State of Texas parking meters in the vicinity with a 2-hour time limit. Open metered parking spaces are scarce. If you are selected as one of the jurors you will be provided with a parking permit.
Transit: Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Allow 45 min. to 1 hour. Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Criminal Justice Center

Location: 509 W. 11th St. (middle building in the 1000th block of east side of Nueces)
Entry: From plaza behind Main Courthouse.
Plaza entry off 10th or 11th at San Antonio St.
Map
Parking: None reserved for jurors. There are City of Austin and State of Texas parking meters in the vicinity with a 2-hour time limit. Open metered parking spaces are scarce.
Transit: Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Allow 45 min. to 1 hour. Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Municipal Court

Location: 700 E. 7th at IH35 access road (northwest corner of intersection).
Entry: Off 7th St. on north side of street.
Map
Parking: Limited reserved parking for Jurors. Municipal Court has 21 reserved parking spaces for jurors to park at no cost.  This is on a first come, first served basis. The parking lot (Central Parking) is located on 7th Street directly across from the main entrance to Municipal Court.  The spaces are marked with signs “Municipal Court Juror Parking Only."  Place a copy of this Jury assignment notice on the front dashboard of your vehicle so that it can be read through the windshield while parked in these spaces. Please also print your first and last name on this notice. All unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense if this notice is not in your window with your name on it.
Transit: Served by Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Justice Court 1:

Location: 1811 Springdale Rd. near E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Map
Parking: On site
Transit: Served by Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Justice Court 2:

Location: 10409 Burnet Road (east side of Burnet Rd.)
Entry: South side of building
Map
Parking: On site
Transit: Serve by Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Justice Court 3:

Location: 8656 B West Highway 71, Suite 100
Entry: On both front and back of building
Map
Parking: On site
Transit: Served by Capital Metro bus routes (currently buses run between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.). For more information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Justice Court 4:

Location: 4011 McKinney Falls Parkway, Suite 1200
Map
Parking: On site
Transit: Served by Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

Justice Court 5:

Location: 1000 Guadalupe Street Suite 112
Map
Parking: On site
Transit: Served by Capital Metro bus routes. For information, contact www.capmetro.org.
Travel time: Driving time from your home depends on time of day. Please allow adequate time based on anticipated traffic.

During the Trial

What happens if I don't show up?

The judge, court staff, attorneys, and fellow jurors expect you to arrive prepared for jury selection on time. The judge has the authority to authorize the Sheriff or Constable to apprehend jurors who fail to appear.

Failure to report for jury service carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine, and in some instances, the judge can hold you in contempt of court and confine you to jail. Payment of a fine will not discharge you from jury service. You can still be required to serve even if you are fined.

If an emergency arises that keeps you from appearing, see section Getting Ready to go to Court - I don't think I'll be able to come to court as assigned. What should I do?

What about parking?

Your trial assignment letter, which you receive at impaneling or via email, will provide transportation instructions. If you are assigned to the Travis County courthouse complex, no public garage parking is available. You can elect to pay to park for up to 5 hours at one of the City parking meters around the courthouse; however, the number of spaces is limited.

Is there special security at the courthouse?

Security has been enhanced. As a juror you can expect to go through security screening, including a metal detector and an X-ray machine for your belongings. Other security measures have been taken which you likely will not see. We recommend leaving knives and other pointed objects behind as these are not allowed to be brought into the courthouse.

What kind of trial will I be sent to?

Jurors hear either civil or criminal cases. Civil cases may involve small claims, requests for moderate damages, or millions of dollars in damages. They can also involve family law matters or requests for non-monetary relief. Criminal trials include traffic violations, misdemeanors, and felonies.

How are jurors picked?

The process of selecting a jury is called voir dire and is essentially done by the attorney in the case under a presiding judge. Juries are comprised of 6 to 12 jurors, depending on the court in which the case is being tried. If you are not picked, you are usually released from further jury duty; however, there are times when jurors not picked for one trial are sent to a second trial for jury selection.

What does a juror actually do? Do I have to follow any special rules?

During the trial, you should follow the judge's instructions as to your conduct and listen to the evidence. Expect to spend time in the jury room away from the courtroom as the judge and lawyers discuss matters outside the jury's presence. At some point, you will gather in the jury room and deliberate to reach a verdict. The judge will give you written instructions on how to deliberate.

After the Trial is Over

How long before I'm called for jury service again?

We use lists of names from different sources to create the list of names for jury service. Sometimes, we are not able to match names from each of these lists. If we can't make the match, you might get another summons. If this occurs and you were selected to serve as a petit juror from the first summons, the law allows you a two-year exemption from having to serve a second time.

How much are jurors paid? Doesn't my employer have to pay me?

Depending upon the court to which you are assigned, you may be paid $6.00 per day while going through jury selection. If selected, you will be paid $36.00 (Daily pay rate subject to change quarterly) per day beginning the second day of service.

The law does not require that your employer pay you while you are on jury duty, though many choose to do so. The law does require that your employer allow you time off from work to fulfill your jury service obligations, and you cannot be discharged from your job for being on jury duty. If your employer does not comply with the law, civil and criminal sanctions may apply.

My employer needs proof of my jury service. How do I get it?

We will provide you with proof of your appearance in court when you are discharged from jury service. Please keep this paperwork for at least 3 months after you have been discharged.

What about donating my juror pay?

When you are released from jury duty, you will be given a form to complete regarding your jury pay. You may choose to be paid or to donate your pay to one of four funds:

  • Texas Crime Victims Compensation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Center
  • Travis County Human Service Agencies
  • Travis County Child Welfare Board

What protection do I have as a juror?

The questionnaire you complete as part of jury service is confidential and cannot be disclosed to persons who are not involved with trying the case to which you are assigned. Your name, however, does become a part of the official record available to the public.


Last Modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 3:56 PM

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