Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the Texas State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. State law obligates all qualified residents to serve as a juror.
The also law says that failure to report for jury service carries a penalty of up to $1000 fine, and in some instances, the judge can hold you in contempt of court and order jail confinement.
What if I qualify for an exemption or disqualification?
If you claim an exemption or disqualification, then you are excused and will not have to appear on your summons date. You may claim your exemption or disqualification online using eJuror.
Where does the district clerk office obtain names of prospective jurors?
Jurors are randomly selected from a compiled list of Hidalgo County residents who's names are annually furnished by the county's elections/voter registration office and Texas Department of Public Safety.
I no longer can fulfill my duties as a juror. Can you permanently delete my name from your records?
State law does not allow us to permanently remove you from our records unless you are 70 years of age or older, or no longer reside in Hidalgo County.
How do I request a postponement from jury service?
A juror may reschedule their jury service once a year by loging on to eJuror Online.
Can my employer prevent me from serving as a juror?
State law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee for taking time off to serve as a juror.
Note to employers: Pursuant To Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec122.001 Juror’s Right to Reemployment; Notice of intent to Return.
A. A private employer may not terminate the employment of a permanent employee because an employee serves as a juror.
B. An employee whose employment is terminated in violation of this section is entitled to return to the same employment that the employee held when summoned for jury service if the employee, as soon as practical after release for jury service, gives the employer actual notice that the employee intends to return.
Must jurors be paid by their employers while serving jury duty?
No. State law does not require employers to compensate their employees while on jury service. Many employers, however, do support the jury system. Please check with your employer regarding your company’s policy.
How long will I serve as a juror?
If you are selected as a juror to participate in a trial, the trial will begin immediately after jury selection unless otherwise ordered by the judge. Your jury service will end when the trial is completed. If you are not selected as a juror, your service will be finished at the end of jury selection on the date you appear.
While serving jury duty will there be a lot of waiting involved?
There will be some wait time. We suggest that you bring reading material or small projects to pass the time while waiting for assignment to a courtroom. The most common complaint of jurors is the unexplained time apparently wasted during jury selection and trials. What might appear to be a waste of time to you is actually time being used by the judge and attorneys working on matters that must be done outside the presence of the jury. These events often arise unexpectedly and cannot be planned for in advance.
Where do I park? Is there a fee for parking?
There is no fee for parking. Reserved parking is available for jurors on the east side of the courthouse. Jurors must bring the top portion of their summons which serves as a parking permit.
Do I get paid for my jury services?
Only jurors who are selected to serve on a jury will receive $16 (reimbursement) for their first day of service. Jurors serving two days or more will receive $40 (reimbursement) per day after the first day. A check will be mailed within one to two weeks upon completing your jury service. Checks must be redeemed within 90 days or payment is forfeited and void.
Can I bring food or drink?
Food or drink is not allowed in the Jury Auditorium.
Are business and economic reasons a valid reason to be excused from jury service?
No. State law does not allow a person to be excused for economic or business reasons. Hardships or concerns may be addressed in the court to which you are assigned.
How do I get to the location to which I am summoned to appear?
The Jury Auditorium is located in the Hidalgo County Courthouse at 100 N. Closner, Edinburg, Texas. Click here for a map/directions to the courthouse.
Is there security at the courthouse?
Yes. No weapons of any kind including objects that could poke, stab, or cut are allowed into the courthouse facilities. This includes pocketknives, scissors, knitting needles, etc. All individuals and items brought to the courthouse are required to go through the security metal detectors.
Can a person serve as a juror if he/she has a misdemeanor theft or felony?
A person is disqualified if they have been convicted of misdemeanor theft or a felony; or is under indictment or other legal accusation for misdemeanor theft or a felony.
A person is not disqualified as a result of a misdemeanor theft charge or a felony if:
- the person has successfully completed a deferred adjudication,
- the person has completed a term of probation and the conviction has been dismissed under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 42.12, § 20
If the person is currently serving a term of deferred adjudication supervision for a felony or misdemeanor theft, they are disqualified because they are still under the legal accusation.
What should I wear to report to jury service?
"Business Casual" is considered an appropriate way to dress for Jury Duty. Nice jeans are also allowed. Shorts, uniforms, tank tops, inappropriate clothing, and any clothing with holes or tears are NOT allowed in the courtroom.
What if I have health issues that prevent me from attending?
Hidalgo County can try to accomodate anyone with a medical problem or a disability to help them complete their jury service. However, a juror may also choose to be excused as a result of a disability or medical condition.
If this is the case, a juror must present a Juror Disability & Medical Certification Form to their physician to be completed and returned to our office within 15 days of notification. Otherwise, the juror's name will be placed back in the jury pool for summons in the near future.
Certification forms can be mailed with your summons in the enclosed envelope, emailed, or faxed to 956.318.2251.