A prospective juror must:
Jury Selection - What to Expect
Choosing Potential Jurors
The first stage in jury selection is summoning a pool of potential jurors from the list of local citizens eligible to serve on a jury in Mississippi, as described above.
In April of each year, the jury commission for each county shall compile and maintain a master list of prospective jurors consisting of registered voters.
Receiving a Jury Duty Summons in Mississippi
If your name is randomly selected for the jury pool through the process described above, you receive a jury summons in the mail instructing you to appear for jury selection on a pre-set day.
While there are a few excuses for getting out of jury selection, most people summoned will have to report to the courthouse for the next stage of the juror selection process, voir dire.
The Juror Selection Process, or "Voir Dire"
Just because you qualify to be a juror and are summoned for jury selection, doesn't mean that you will be selected to be a juror on a case. The process of "Voir Dire", the actual act of jury selection, is how judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutors actually choose the individuals who will sit on the juries for upcoming criminal and civil cases.
During the voir dire process, each lawyer will ask the pool of potential jurors a series of questions about their background, beliefs, prejudices, or relationships with any party to the case. While the goal is to select an impartial jury to render a verdict, each attorney will also seek to exclude any jurors who seem to be more likely to vote against their client's interests. While jury candidates are instructed to be open and truthful when answering such questions, the juror selection process is also where most individuals who don't wish to serve on a trial find a way to be excused from further juror duties.
What Happens After Jury Selection Day
If you are selected to serve on a jury, you will be provided with the trial date, and must return to serve on the jury for the duration of the trial and deliberations. If you were not selected to serve on any jury during the voir dire process, you can go home, and your jury duty obligations are complete.
Excused from Service
You will not be excused simply because jury service would interfere with your regular activities or work schedule. However, you may be excused in cases of genuine hardship or need. For instance, you may request to be excused because of illness to yourself or illness to another who would require your assistance. You may request to be excused if jury service would inflict serious financial loss to yourself or your business. You may also request to be excused for any other legitimate emergency or hardship.
If you are over the age of sixty-five (65) or if you have completed jury service in an actual trial for this Court within the past two (2) years, you will be excused if you do not wish to serve.
If you no longer reside in the county from which you received a jury summons, you will need to contact the Circuit Clerk’s office to have your name removed from the voter roll.
Please contact the Circuit Clerk's office for additional information.
This 12-minute video was developed by The Mississippi Bar to educate potential jurors prior to voir dire regarding the state’s judicial system, the parts of a trial, and their role if they are selected as jurors.
Banner photos by Will Jordan