Welcome to Jury Service
The right to trial by jury is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and is considered a highly important safeguard for the individual citizen. The principle of trial by jury is that a decision reached by 12 disinterested persons is more likely to be fair and just than a decision reached by a single judge.
Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial, then to decide what evidence seems most valid and credible to you. You decide the facts of the case. It is the judge's job to decide the law - in other words, to make decisions about what evidence is admissible and other legal issues that come up during the trial. All must do their job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.
You do not need special knowledge or ability to be a juror. You need only to keep an open mind, listen carefully to the evidence presented, and be fair and honest in your deliberations. We hope you find your experience as a juror interesting and satisfying. It is an important duty of citizenship, and we appreciate your service.
The Superior Court clerk's office is responsible for summoning citizens to serve as jurors on petit and grand jury panels in each county's court. Petit jurors can serve on either criminal or civil juries. Grand jurors hand down indictments in criminal cases and perform various investigative functions. Jurors are notified of a reporting date and time by mail and they must report as directed. There are only two legal exemptions for jury service: being over the age of 70 or being permanently disabled. However, a deferment of jury service is allowed under certain circumstances. Those who feel they are eligible for exemption or deferment should call the clerk's office in Murray County at (706) 695-2932 or in Whitfield County at (706) 275-7450 between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays.
When you enter the Courthouse you will have to pass through security checkpoints and metal detectors. No weapons of any kind are allowed inside the courthouse, including but not limited to pocket knives, box cutters, and scissors.
In Chatsworth, juror parking is available on streets near the Murray County Courthouse and in a parking lot located next to the Probate Court building. In Dalton, juror parking is available on streets near the Whitfield County Courthouse and in a parking deck located on King Street, behind the Judicial Building in the block bordered by Selvidge and Pentz Streets. Parking deck entrances are located next to BB&T Bank's parking lot.
Jury service is a mandated civic duty and so it is very important that employers support employees who are called for jury service. Individuals, businesses, and corporations benefit from and are protected by the courts and, thus, the ongoing support of the private sector is a necessary component of the jury system. It is unlawful for an employer to discharge, discipline, or penalize an employee who is absent from work for purposes for jury duty. Therefore, an employer may not reduce compensation for an employee who misses work to perform jury duty. OCGA §34-1-3 prohibits discrimination against an employee for his or her attendance at a judicial proceeding in response to a court order or process, which includes jury summonses.