Jury Duty Resuming
Jury duty will resume in Polk County at the end of September as the 10th Judicial Circuit has now transitioned into Phase 2 of the reopening process outlined by Florida Supreme Court Order Number AOSC20-13.
Check Your Jury Duty Status
A number of cases settle out of court, requiring fewer jurors than originally summonsed. As such, your service may no longer be required. Check your jury status and history through our online app, which we call the Juror Application System (JAS). Updated juror information for the coming week is posted each Friday after 5 p.m. by clicking the link below or calling 863-534-4582 to see if your number has been called and you need to report. If you requested an excusal or postponement, you can also check the status of the request through our app.
*Please note, you may need to disable pop-up blockers.
If you are called to report for jury duty, refer to the map on page 2 of your summons for directions or check the Jury Directions & Parking section below. Park your car in the blue parking lot. This lot opens at 7 a.m., and there will be an attendant at the gate to assist you.
Enter the courthouse through the North entrance, and go to the second floor to the jury assembly room. When you enter the building, you must go through a security screening. Please do not bring anything in your pocket or purse such as a gun, pocket knife, scissors, knitting needles, etc., that will set off an alarm. Security personnel will take these items from you. Also, newspapers are not allowed. You may, however, bring a book, magazine, or something to occupy your time while you are waiting for jury selection to begin.
JURY DIRECTIONS & PARKING
Juror parking is located in the BLUE parking lot, directly west of the courthouse on West Davidson Street. All parking lots near the courthouse provide free parking. A paid parking garage is also available in the area. However, parking garage fees will NOT be reimbursed. View the Jury Parking Map for additional details.
DRESS CODE: Casual business attire is required. DO NOT WEAR shorts, jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, flip flops, sandals, or shirts that reveal printed material that alludes to offensive or illegal activities. Tattoos should be covered by clothing, if possible. Courtrooms are generally cold, and you may wish to bring a sweater or light jacket for your comfort.
If you are not available on the date scheduled, you may request ONE postponement of your service. All requests for postponement from service must be made in writing five days prior to your reporting date and requests are considered on an individual basis. Minor hardships or inconveniences to a prospective juror or an employer are not legal reasons to be excused from jury service. However, you may request to be postponed for this reason. Please submit your postponement request online through our juror app.
ADDITIONAL CRITERIA FOR EXCUSALS AND POSTPONEMENTS RELATING TO COVID-19
In addition to the standard postponement request criteria, the Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit has authorized additional juror postponements to enhance juror safety, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to address hardships related to the pandemic. These options are as follows:
- An individual who recently returned to work after being unemployed due to COVID-19;
- An individual who has suffered a financial or personal loss due to COVID-19 that makes it a hardship to perform jury service
EXCUSALS FROM JURY DUTY
You may be excused for any of the following reasons:
- You have served as a juror in Polk County within the past 12 months.
- You are an expectant mother or a parent who is not employed full-time and have custody of a child under six years of age.
- You are 70 years of age or older.
- You are a law enforcement officer with arrest powers.
- Permanently incapable of caring for self because of mental illness, intellectual disability, senility, or other physical or mental incapacity – permanently remove (doctor’s statement required)
- You are not a U.S. citizen.
- You are a convicted felon and have not had your civil rights restored.
- You are under prosecution for any crime.
- You no longer reside in Polk County.
- Practicing attorney or physician.
- Serving in the military.
- Full-time students age 18 to 21 attending any high school, state university, private postsecondary educational institution, Florida College System institution, or career center.
ADDITIONAL CRITERIA FOR EXCUSALS RELATING TO COVID-19
In addition to the standard excusal request criteria, the Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit has authorized additional juror excusals to enhance juror safety, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to address hardships related to the pandemic. These options are as follows:
- A person who meets one or more of the health screening exclusions listed in the Safe Steps insert included with jury summons;
- A person at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 infection;
- A person who must care for a child or relative whose regular care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19;
- A person who is receiving leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act may be excused from jury duty.
LENGTH OF SERVICE
Length of service may vary; however, you may serve on a jury panel on the same day you report for duty.
PAYMENT FOR JURY SERVICE
Jurors who are regularly employed and receive regular wages while serving as a juror are not entitled to receive compensation for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not receive regular wages while serving as a juror are entitled to $15 per day for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who serve more than three days will be paid by the state for the fourth and subsequent days of service at the rate of $30 per day.
The following list of items are not allowed in the courthouse:
- Pocket Knives
- Pepper Spray
- Expandable Batons
- Glass Bottles
- Any item that can be used as a weapon
You will be required to take any items back to your vehicle or discard them. Signs reflecting these prohibited items are posted on the entrance doors.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES
In addition to routine security, the court has enacted the following safety measures to ensure the well-being of all who enter the courthouse. If you are sick, stay home and contact our office.
- Temperature Check: Each person entering the courthouse will receive a temperature check, and anyone with a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees will be denied entry.
- Screening Questions: Each person seeking entry into the courthouse will be asked the screening criteria questions. Any yes answers will result in denied entry. These questions are listed under the first check box on page 2 of this notice.
- Face Coverings: Face coverings must be worn while in the courthouse.
- Social Distancing: A distance of at least six feet must be maintained between all individuals at all times. Physical markers are in place to support social distancing.
- Cleaning Protocol and Barriers: Heightened cleaning protocols have been established to disinfect surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are readily available throughout the building.
- Smaller Jury Pools: Smaller jury pools are being used and appropriate distancing measures are in place in all assembly areas and jury boxes. We are also using staggered arrival times for jurors to avoid crowds.
You must be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age, a resident of the State of Florida and Polk County, and possess a driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Names are randomly selected from the list of names supplied by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
VOIR DIRE OR EXAMINATION OF JURORS
Once prospective jurors are impaneled in a case, the judge and the lawyers will ask about jurors' backgrounds. These questions are not intended to embarrass jurors, but are designed to assist the lawyers in deciding which jurors to select. Jurors may have strong feelings about the type of case to be tried. If jurors feel they cannot be impartial and this has not been expressed during questioning, these jurors should bring this to the attention of the judge. Excusals from jury service should not be taken personally. When jurors are excused, it means only that there are proper and lawful reasons for the excusal.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER DURING THE TRIAL
After you are sworn as a juror in a case, there are some rules of conduct you should observe:
- Be on time for court. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are present.
- 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, you should ask the judge to explain.
- Do not talk about the case. You should not talk with anyone about the case. This includes the clerk, lawyers, judge, bailiff, and other jurors, 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.
- In Accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, persons needing a special accommodation to participate in jury service should contact the Court Administration Office no later than seven days prior to the date shown on the summons. Please call (863) 534-4690 to make arrangements.
Forms and Documents