"JURY SERVICE IS AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE" NOTICE: Dec. 13, 2012 Greene County Jury Commissioners to be abolished at the end of 2013... click here for news article.
GOVERNMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA:
Like the United States, Pennsylvania’s government is defined by a constitution. And, like the United States, Pennsylvania’s government is comprised of three equal and independent branches. The legislative branch makes commonwealth laws, a responsibility carried out by the General Assembly. The executive branch administers commonwealth laws and is overseen by the Governor. And the judicial branch preserves the rule of law and guarantees citizens’ rights by resolving disputes through the courts.
There are also many forms and levels of local governance in Pennsylvania. The list below provides links to several organizations dedicated to local governance issues:
GREENE COUNTY JURY COMMISSIONERS:
Greene County has two Jury Commissioner seats, one of which, by law, must be filled by a Democrat and one of which must be filled by a Republican. The Jury Commissioners are responsible for filling the jury list at the beginning of each year with the names of approximately 1,500 citizens of Greene County. Throughout the year, the President Judge issues a court order requesting that a certain number of jurors be impaneled to hear the civil and criminal cases coming before the court. The Jury Commissioners then select the appropriate number of jurors who are to report for the scheduled term.
The Court issues the Order for the number of jurors to be summoned, but it is the Jury Commission who determines the manner in which the jurors will be summoned. No one has the power to excuse jurors except the Court in cases of inconvenience and under hardship.
SELECTED JURORS FOR UPCOMING TRIAL(S):Click here for a list of CIVIL Jurors drawn for April Term, 2013. These jurors were selected for the civil division to hear allegations brought by the Commonwealth against a fellow citizen.
Click here for a list of CRIMINAL Jurors drawn for April Term, 2013 - Court of Common Please of Greene County for April 16, 2013. These jurors were selected for the criminal division to hear allegations brought by the Commonwealth against a fellow Citizen.
Official notifications will be sent to each of the selected jurors with specific instructions to assist the jurors in answering any questions or concerns.
When called for Jury Duty, you will be asked to initially report for one (1) day. Juries will be chosen to serve during that 4-month session depending on the cases that are to come before the court during that period.
If you are chosen for any jury, you will be told when you must report again and the approximate number of days you will be asked to serve. The average case in Greene County lasts 3 days.
Whether you are chosen to serve on a jury or not that first day, you may be told to report back to the court at another date for additional jury selection. Again, this depends on the cases that are expected to come before the court during that 4-month period.
You are NOT required to be available each day during this 4-month period. You WILL BE required to report to court on the days of jury selection as well as any days for which you were selected to be a juror and hear a case at trial.
If there are not cases scheduled to go to trial, the pool of jurors will be dismissed from service by the judge.
The American justice system is based on a trial by a jury of one's peers; thus, a cross-section of jurors is necessary. The list of potential jurors is comprised of names from voter registrations, Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and telephone directories, as well as volunteers.
Note that one does not need to be registered to vote to be called for jury duty. A juror is permitted to serve every three (3) years.
In order to be eligible to serve, an individual must:
Be at least 18 years of age or older
Be a U.S. citizen and a permanent resident of Greene County
Be able to read, write and understand English
Be physically and mentally capable of serving
Not have been convicted of a crime
Anyone unable to serve due to medical reasons may be excused, but all medical excuses must be supported by a letter from a physician.
Jury service may seem like an inconvenience, interrupting personal and business lives, but it is a unique opportunity as citizens/taxpayers. Jury service is not only a responsibility, but also an opportunity to participate in the American justice system, to learn firsthand how it works and to help make it work better.
The effectiveness of the jury system depends upon your willingness to serve as well as your honesty, integrity and judgment.
The average case in Greene County runs for three days. Jurors receive $9 a day for the three days and $25 each day thereafter, plus a 40-cent-per-mile mileage reimbursement rate. Free parking for jurors (click here for parking lot information) is provided by the county. All jurors must appear for service by 9:00 a.m.
Jurors will receive approximately an hour for lunch. There are a number of convenient, affordable restaurants within a short walk or go to a fast-food drive-thru just outside the borough line.
Jurors are instructed to report for Civil and/or Criminal Division:
Civil Division: Jurors called to the civil division are likely to hear an allegation that a citizen has been injured as a result of the actions of another citizen or corporation. They may hear cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability or contractual disputes. They will be asked to determine whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff's injuries or has breached a contractual duty.
Criminal Division: Jurors called to the criminal division will hear allegations brought by the Commonwealth against a fellow citizen. They may hear cases involving theft, DUI, drugs, burglary of a home, robbery of a person, rape, shooting or murder. The penalties range in seriousness from probation or a fine to incarceration and, in extreme cases, death. In criminal court, jurors stand as 12 judges of the facts between a fellow citizen and the jailer's door.
JURORS QUALIFICATION FORM:
In order to prepare the master list of prospective jurors, the Jury Commission is to mail to each person whose name has been selected a juror qualification form. The juror qualification form is to be devised by the Jury Commission in such a manner that the commission may determine from the answers to the questions on the form whether or not the prospective juror is qualified to serve. The juror qualification form must be signed by the prospective juror and state that its execution is subject to the penalty of perjury. When the form is returned, if it does not appear to be properly executed, the Commission shall return the form to the prospective juror with instruction to make such additions or corrections as may be necessary and return it to the Commission. Any person who fails to return the juror qualification form may be summoned to appear before the Commission to fill out the juror qualification form or to resolve any ambiguity.
In the event a prospective juror refuses to return the juror qualification form and fails to cooperate with the Jury Commission in the completion of that form, then the Commission must make an application to the Court to compel compliance. The Commission shall apply to the Court and the Court shall compel attendance. Therefore, the job of dealing with prospective jurors who refuse to complete or return their qualification forms rests squarely with the Court.
Only the Jury Commission may mail the forms to the prospective jurors, only the Jury Commission can devise the juror qualification form, and only the Jury Commission determines whether or not the form has been properly filled out and executed.
SELECTION OF PROSPECTIVE JURORS:
The policy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is set out in Section 4501 of the Legislative Act, Title 42 of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues, where it is stated that all persons entitled to a jury trial in either a civil or criminal proceeding have a right to have jurors selected at random from a representative cross section of the eligible population of the county. All qualified citizens are to have an opportunity to be considered for jury service and those who are qualified have an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned.
Once a qualified person has been summoned for jury service, they can only be excused for three (3) reasons:
Active service in the Armed Forces
Prior jury service within three (3) years except a person serving as a juror for less than three (3) days in any one year is exempt for only a period of one (1) year
Persons demonstrating undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.
Persons who may be exempt or excused for reasons 1 and 2 may be automatically excused by the Jury Commissioners themselves. However, the Act in providing for exemption or excuse for undue hardship or extreme inconvenience may be excused permanently or for such period as "the Court" determines necessary. The President Judge or a presiding Judge may permit the other jury commissioners to excuse persons from jury duty for undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.
PREPARATION OF A MASTER JURORS LIST:
The master list of prospective jurors must contain all voter registration lists for the county. This is mandatory. Names from other lists may be included, which in the opinion of the commission will provide a number of names of prospective jurors which is equal to or great than the number of names contained in the voter registration list. With that regard, the Act says that you MAY, but are not required to, supplement your master list with the names of residents of the county in any of the other following categories:
Persons listed in telephone directories, city directories, municipal directories and tax rolls. With regard to lists of taxpayers, county officials in control of tax assessment lists, or local tax collectors are required, upon request by the Jury Commission, to make those records available to the commission.
Persons in county participating in any state, county or local program authorized by law and person participating in any Federal program authorized by law.
Persons who are on school census lists.
Qualified persons who make application to the Commission to be included on the master list.
The Jury Commission may use any method for preparation of the master list of qualified jurors.
The Jury Commission is also required to create and maintain a list of names of all prospective jurors who have been disqualified and the reasons for their disqualification. This list is also open to public inspection.
TERMINATION OF THE DUTIES & OBLIGATIONS OF JURY COMMISSIONERS:
It is the obligation of the Jury Commission to see that jurors are selected properly and that they report to Court for service as jurors. Once the jurors report to the Courthouse, the obligations of the Jury Commissioners cease. Once the jurors report to the Courthouse, they come under the care, custody and control of the Court. At that point, the President Judge and the other Judges of the court assume responsibility for the jurors.
MEETING YOUR CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY:
To meet your responsibility, you are expected to decide the facts and apply the law fairly and impartially. The performance of jury service is the fulfillment of a civic obligation. Conscientious service brings its own reward in the satisfaction of an important task well done. There is no more valuable contribution a citizen performs than that of being a juror. Equally important, we hope that your service as a juror will provide you with greater insight and appreciation for all that is involved in the administration of justice.
The Board of Judges expresses its appreciation to you for your service.
"Citizens of the United States have enjoyed for over 200 years the right to have their cases decided by a jury of their peers. Jury service is not merely your responsibility it is also a cherished right."
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Why should I serve as a juror? The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of trial to any person accused of a crime. In addition, citizens rely upon jurors for the protection of life, liberty and property. Jurors aid in the maintenance of law and order, and their presence as jurors is invaluable. On occasion, they may be required to wait for what seems a long time, but their attendance makes possible the operation of many important phases of the trial procedure.
Absences would cause all of these proceedings to be delayed. Those who serve as jurors are participating in one of the fundamental institutions of democracy.
What kind of job protection do I have while serving as a juror? An employer may not deprive an employee of his or her employment or threaten or otherwise coerce a person because the employee received a subpoena, responded and served as a juror. Any employer who violates this law is guilty of a summary offense. If an employer penalizes an employee for serving on jury duty, the employee, within six (6) months, may bring a civil action against the employer to recover lost wages and benefits. The employee also is allowed a reasonable attorney's fee fixed by the court.
There is no provision in the law requiring an employer to pay an employee wages while on jury duty. However, statistics show that approximately 74 percent of juror costs are borne by the employers in the form of jury leave. Many unions make provisions for jury duty in their union contracts.
How am I compensated for jury duty? In accordance with state law, jurors summoned to serve receive compensation at the rate of $9 a day for the first three days that they shall be required to report for service, and $25 a day for each day thereafter. In addition, jurors are compensated for mileage.
Where do I park while serving on jury duty? Greene County has designated parking for jurors, located in the Greene County North Parking Lot #2 (gravel lot beyond paved Greene County North Parking Lot #1), as free parking for Greene County residents while serving on jury duty. Greene County North Parking Lot #2 (gravel lot) is located behind Jan's Country Nook & Hardware, and is east of the paved Greene County North Parking Lot #1. Please fill up this lot first, once the gravel lot is full, you may park in any space remaining in the paved Greene County Parking Lot #1.
Jury members must display a jury member identification card (which will be sent to each juror with their jurors package). The parking permit is valid for the entire term of court to which you were summoned. If you misplace your parking permit, go to the Jury Commissioners Office in Room 216 of the County Office Building, located at 93 E. High Street in Waynesburg.
Jury Members parking anywhere other than the designated Greene County North Parking Lot #2 (gravel lot) or if need be in the Greene County North Parking Lot #1 (paved lot), are subject to all applicable parking restrictions and all fines incurred. DO NOT PARK IN THE BOROUGH MINICIPAL LOTS OR IN METERED SPACES.
Jurors with special parking needs (handicapped) should contact the Waynesburg Police Department at 724-627-8113 one week prior to reporting for jury duty for other possible parking options. Click here for a diagram of the Greene County North Parking Lots (1 & 2).
In an emergency, can I postpone my jury duty? Before the one-day or one-trial jury system, postponement of jury service was not a routine consideration extended to prospective jurors. Now, persons summoned to serve for jury duty may request temporary postponement or deferral of service due to emergencies, extreme inconvenience or hardship. Upon request, the court will then defer the prospective juror to a later, more convenient date. The court tries to be reasonable and accommodating and will carefully consider every situation.
What if I have a medical condition; can I be excused from jury duty? Anyone unable to serve due to medical reasons may be excused, but all medical excuses must be supported by a letter from a physician.
Who can I contact about rescheduling my jury duty? For a postponement or excusal from jury duty, or for any questions concerning jury service, please call the Jury Commissioners’ Office.