Jury service is a necessary civic duty, required by law. The goal of the jury staff is to summons qualified jurors made up of a fair cross section of the community, working individuals, retirees, members of different sexes as well as social backgrounds, to constitute a legal jury for the civil and criminal courts of Franklin County.
We can be reached at (850) 653-8861 x. 102 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, and are located in Suite 203 at the Franklin County Courthouse, 33 Market Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320.
For the most current juror information dial (850) 653-8861 x. 363. Before reporting you may also call (850) 653-8862 or Carrabelle area call (850) 697-2112 after 5:00 p.m. the DAY BEFORE you are to report to be informed by a recorded message whether or not your service will be required.
Selection of Jurors
The right to trial by jury is one of the fundamental American rights guaranteed by the State and Federal constitutions. It is the duty of every citizen to preserve this right by serving as a juror when called upon to do so. Failure to comply with a jury summons can result in a $100.00 fine and Contempt of Court charges. Prospective jurors are drawn at random from the State of Florida’s driver’s license lists for Franklin County in accordance with F.S. 40.011. The basic requirements for being eligible for Jury Duty are as follows.
- U.S. citizenship.
- Legal residency within the county that issues the summons.
- Minimum age of at least 18 years.
Also used are the names of individuals 18 and older who hold identification cards issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The names of non driver Florida (Franklin County) residents who wish to voluntarily submit affidavits offering their names for possible use in compiling jury lists are also included.
Exemptions / Disqualifications
Section 40.013 of the Florida Statutes states the reasons a person may be excused from jury service. Exemptions are broken down into two categories, they are “Optional Exemption” and “Mandatory Disqualified Exemption”. The conditions for exemptions are as shown below:
Option exemption (upon request only)
- You are an expectant mother.
- You are 70 years of age or older.
- You are a parent not employed full time and have the care and custody of a child under 6 years of age.
- You were previously summoned and appeared as a prospective juror in Franklin County within one (1) year. (One year constitutes last date served up to and including the new date that you are to appear.)
- You take care of a person who is incapacitated mentally or physically.
- You are a full-time federal, state or local law enforcement officer or investigator employed by a law enforcement agency.
Mandatory disqualified exemption
- You are not 18 years old.
- You are not a citizen of The United States.
- You hold the position of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Cabinet Officer, Clerk of the Court, or Judge.
- You are a convicted felon and your civil rights have not been restored.
- You are currently under prosecution for a crime.
- You no longer reside in Franklin County.
You must be excused if you are listed in one of the mandatory categories. You will only be excused for one of the optional reasons should you request to be excused. You must follow the directions in the “Juror Excusal Statement” portion of your summons in order to be excused for either category.
“Voir dire” or examination of jurors
Once prospective jurors are impaneled in a case, the judge and the lawyers will ask about jurors’ backgrounds. These questions are not intended to embarrass jurors, but are designed to assist the lawyers in deciding which jurors to select. Jurors may have prejudices about the type of case to be tried. If jurors feel that they cannot be impartial and this has not been expressed during questioning, these jurors should bring this to the attention of the judge. Excusal from jury service should not be taken personally. When jurors are excused, it means only that there are proper and lawful reasons for the excusal.
Types of trials
Cases, which come before a petit jury (so called to distinguish an ordinary jury from a grand jury), are divided into two general classes: Civil and Criminal. In a civil trial, parties in dispute come to court to have a jury determine their respective rights. The person who files suit or brings an action against another is called the “plaintiff.” The person against whom the action is brought is the “defendant.” In a criminal trial, the persons who bring the actions against others are the people of the State of Florida, represented by a “prosecutor,” from the State Attorney’s Office. The “defendant” is a person or corporation accused of a violation of law.
Length of Service
The first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials held during the following week. Jurors selected to serve on a case will be asked to return and serve on the dates of that trial. Most trials last one day. [F.S. 741.03]
Compensation for jury duty
Florida Law sets juror compensation. If an individual continues to receive regular wages while serving as a juror, then the State will not compensate that person for the first three days of jury service. If an individual is unemployed, self-employed or someone who does not receive regular wages from the employer, then that person would be entitled to $15 per day (flat rate with no separate amount for mileage) for the first 3 days of service. Furthermore, any juror who serves beyond 3 days will receive $30 per day for the 4th day and any additional days. Approximately 10 days after completion of your jury service, a check will be mailed to you.
Proper attire for jury duty
When serving Jury Duty it is requested that you dress appropriately. Casual clothes are not appropriate attire for Jury Duty. It is requested that men wear Sunday attire and women wear a dress or pants suit.
Where to report for jury duty
The Franklin County Courthouse is located at 33 Market Street and the annex is next door at 34 Forbes Street. Report to the courtroom stated on your summons. Jurors may wish to bring reading material, hobbies, or crafts for downtime.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Notice
Individuals with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this proceeding are entitled, at no cost, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the Court Administrator’s Office, at (850) 577-4401 within two working days of your receipt of this notice.