Why Me? Why not? The right to a trial by jury is the cornerstone of our nation’s justice system! Your service as a juror helps to ensure that justice is afforded equally to every citizen.
How do I qualify to serve as a juror? Every resident of an area served by a circuit court who is at least 18 years old, a citizen and able to understand English is potentially qualified to serve as a juror. No person who is qualified and able to serve may be excluded on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, family status, income, age, ancestry or physical condition. All qualified people must have an equal chance to be considered for jury duty…and the obligation to serve as jurors when summoned.
How are jurors selected? Potential jurors are randomly selected from a master listing at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles. The list includes all Rock County residents who have been issued a Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card. For this reason, you need to keep your address current with the Division of Motor Vehicles. From the master list, the Rock County Jury Clerk sends out “Jury Qualification Questionnaires.” The potential juror then sends the questionnaire back to the Jury Clerk, who examines the questionnaires to qualify or disqualify potential jurors.
Can I volunteer for jury duty? No. In order to maintain the “randomness” of jury selection, individuals cannot volunteer to be jurors. Instead, the list of potential jurors is randomly generated by the State of Wisconsin
Do I have to serve? Yes – in most instances. The law requires that all qualified state citizens be available to serve as jurors. Not all persons summoned actually serve as a juror. A person may not be selected as a result of a process known as “voir dire” whereby the parties in a case (and the judge, in some circumstances) ask questions to determine a potential juror’s qualifications or degree of impartiality to serve on a particular trial.
Can I fill out my juror questionnaire online? Yes. If you received a questionnaire in the mail assigning you a juror ID number, you can fill out the online questionnaire.
Why would I be excused? The court may excuse you from jury service if the court determines that you cannot fulfill the responsibilities of a juror. If the court determines jury service would delay justice or cause undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or serious obstruction, the court may defer jury service to a later date set by the court. The court may require you to document the basis for any excuse or deferral. You can be temporarily excused for an appointment with the doctor or dentist and a short vacation. Please contact the Rock County Jury Clerk for more information.
How long will I serve as a juror? In Rock County, a person is required to be available for jury service for a term of only two weeks within a four-year period. Your actual length of service depends on whether or not you are selected to serve on a trial. If you are selected to serve as a juror for a trial, your service ends when that trial is complete. Even if you’re not immediately selected to serve on a trial, you must remain available for jury selection during the two-week term for which you were summoned.
Are jurors compensated? Yes, jurors are paid an amount determined by the Rock County Board. Each juror currently receives $16.00 for each half-day of attendance; and is compensated at a rate of 48 ½ cents per mile traveled from the juror’s home-to the courthouse-and back, each day by the most usual route. The compensation amount is subject to change as determined by the Rock County Board.
What about my job and my employer? Jury service is a civic duty. State law protects your job. Your employer can’t fire you, demote you, threaten or intimidate you because of jury service.
What should I wear? Dress comfortably, but avoid extremes in dress such as ragged/cut-off jeans or T-shirts; or clothing with offensive or inappropriate writing. There are generally no prescribed dress codes, but judges have been known to order people to reappear in appropriate attire.
Will I be waiting long? Resolving legal disputes can be complex and unpredictable work. Often, cases are settled at the very last minute. When the jury is actually ready to hear the case, the parties sometimes work out a last minute compromise rather than gamble on what the jury will decide. These settlements may seem inconvenient, but such settlements usually save time and money for the trial participants and for the taxpayers. It is recommended that you bring something to read to help pass the time while waiting.
What if I have a disability? If you have been summoned for jury duty and have a disability which requires an accommodation by the court, please contact the Clerk of Circuit Court, Eldred Mielke at (608) 743-2200 or the Jury Clerk at (608) 743-2222, as soon as possible.
Can I go home at night? Most trials last only one day. When a trial does take longer, the judge usually adjourns so that you can return home at a reasonable hour. Rarely are you required to stay overnight.