Jury DutyOur Constitution contains several protections for individuals accused of committing crimes. Key among them is the right to a fair trial by a jury. By serving on a jury, you help to preserve this right for your fellow citizens and ensure that our justice system works with integrity, fairness and transparency.
We appreciate the time and attention you may be asked to spend if you are summoned for jury duty. The following frequently-asked questions will help provide you with a basic understanding of what to expect during jury service.
How was I picked and when should I report?If you received a summons, your name was randomly selected by a computer program to potentially serve on a jury for a particular date. Please fill out and return the summons response form you received and mail it back to the Clerk of Court’s Office in the returned envelope provided.
You will need to call the Court at 937-296-2463 after 5:00 p.m. on the evening prior to your summons date to verify that the jury trial will proceed as scheduled. If the trial is going forward, you should report to the Kettering Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. on your summons date to fulfill your duty for service. Please be aware, particularly in inclement weather: our doors open at 8:30 a.m., so if you arrive early, you will not be able to enter the building until that time.
Whether the trial goes forward or not, you will not be randomly selected again to serve as a juror for this Court for at least 12 months.
What should I wear and bring with me?You do not need to wear your finest attire when you come to Court, but please wear clothing that is appropriate to maintain the dignity of the Court and your role in the judicial process. You may wish to bring a sweater with you, as well as something to read since there is usually some waiting time involved before the Court process begins. Also, please bring your jury summons with you on your appearance date. Please do not bring any food or drinks. If you have a cell phone or pager, it will need to be turned off in the courtroom.
Where should I park?Parking is available in front of the Court building. Enter the parking lot off of Wilmington Pike and turn left at the stop sign. As you come around to the front, you will see ample parking spaces for your convenience.
What happens when I arrive at the Court for jury duty?Once you arrive at the Court on the date of your jury duty, Court officers will have you step through a security monitor. Next, you will check in with staff of the Clerk of Court’s Office. You will be seated in a courtroom in the order that your name was randomly selected. The first eight individuals on the list will be seated in the jury box and the remaining individuals will be seated in rows in the courtroom. You will also be asked to take an oath.
For criminal and traffic cases, the oath reads:
“Do you swear to affirm that you will diligently inquire into and carefully deliberate all matters between the State of Ohio and the defendant (giving defendant’s name) Do you swear or affirm that you will do this to the best of your skill and understanding, without bias or prejudice? So help you God.”
For civil cases, the oath reads:
“Do you and each of you swear that you will truthfully and fully answer all questions put to you by Court or Counsel, so help you God?"
Will I be seated on the jury?
You will be seated in the courtroom in the order that your name was randomly selected. The first eight individuals on the list will be seated in the jury box and the remaining individuals will be seated in rows in the courtroom. Once the Judge and attorneys for the parties enter the Courtroom, the trial process will begin with jury selection.
You will be asked questions that will help assure all parties receive a fair and impartial jury. For example, you may be asked if you have any knowledge of the case or the defendant. As questions are asked, individuals seated in the jury box may be excused and other jurors may be placed in the box—again, in the order that they are selected by the computer. At the end of this process, a jury of eight individuals will be selected (seated) and the trial will begin. (Occasionally an alternate juror is chosen as well.) The Judge will provide detailed instructions of the trial process for those who are seated on the jury.
You will receive $20 if you are selected to serve on the jury for that day. Typically, jury trials do not last more than one day in our municipal court.
What happens if I’m not seated?
What if I have a conflict or some other reason why I cannot serve on the date I am chosen for?
Ohio law permits summoned jurors to reschedule their jury service date one time within a six-month period. The law also allows you to be excused from jury duty for a very narrow set of reasons:
- You are over the age of 76 and do not wish to serve
- You are a convicted felon
- You no longer live in the Court’s jurisdiction of Centerville, Kettering, Washington Township or Moraine or are under 18
- You will incur extreme financial hardship (you must demonstrate an adverse impact on your ability to pay daily living expenses)
- You are a member of a cloistered religious organization
Ohio law permits no other exemptions.
Your employer is required to give you time off from work to serve as a juror. If you need to request a rescheduled jury date or an excuse from jury service, please complete your jury summons form stating your reasons and mail it back to the Clerk’s Office in the envelope provided. If you cannot serve because of a medical reason, please have your doctor submit a written statement with a detailed explanation to the Court. Statements may be faxed to 937-534-7017. A staff member will notify you of the Judge’s decision on your request.
For more information, you can view Jury Service, A Citizens Guide provided by the Ohio Judicial Conference.