What is jury duty?

Questions about jury duty in Wayne County

Queries about your role in jury duty should be immediately directed to the Wayne County Circuit Clerk’s office by calling 601-735-1171.

Why is jury duty necessary?

Jury duty is civic responsibility to your neighbors and friends and is vital to efficient and effective operation of the American judicial system. To serve well as a juror is to carry on a great tradition of human liberty. The responsibility is heavy, but the reward of serving your community and doing a necessary job makes it all abundantly worth while.

If you are called to serve on a jury for the Wayne County Circuit Court, you will receive an official summons in the mail. The names of potential jurors are drawn at random from a roster of registered voters in this county. This means that while every voter is equally liable to be called to serve, one person might never be called to serve, and others may be called several times.

It might be inconvenient to serve on jury duty and, generally, a citizen is entitled to be excused from jury duty if he or she faces a personal hardship, business hardship, or has served on a jury in in recent years. Further, a potential juror who is 65 years of age or older can choose to be exempt from jury service. Additionally, one may be excused from jury duty if his or her presence is required at home or if there is an emergency or personal illness.

Types of cases a jury will consider

Jurors are called upon to try two types of cases — civil and criminal. A juror will not know what type of case he or she will be serving on and it might change from one day to the next.

Civil cases typically involve disputes between two or more parties concerning monies, damages for injures, or property.

Criminal cases are filed in the name of the state on an indictment returned by the grand jury charging that person or persons, called defendants, committing the particular crime.

Because crime is a violation of state law, there is specific punishment for the guilty.

Juror conduct

Jurors must not talk to parties, witnesses or lawyers involved in the courtroom proceedings. Lawyers know the impropriety of talking to the jurors, and do not desire to jeopardize their case. Accordingly, if a lawyer or judge seems to ignore you, you should not consider this to be a snub, but merely a desire to observe proper rules of conduct.

Dress appropriately and always arrive on time for court. Tardiness will delay the entire proceeding.

Never read a newspaper or other material and do not utilize a cellular telephone in the courtroom; pay attention to every question and answer.

If a personal emergency arises, notify the clerk, bailiff or any other court officer — do not interrupt a court session.

Juror qualifications

Prospective Mississippi juror requirements:

  • Must be 21 years of age or older. Note: If you are 65 years of age or older, you can contact the Circuit Clerk’s office about the possibility of exemption.
  • Can read and write.
  • Not be a convicted felon, habitual drunkard or common gambler.
  • Has not been convicted of the illegal sale of (or does not have interest in) alcoholic beverages in the last five years.
  • Does not have a case pending in court.