Michigan courts thank you for serving jury duty!
Jury service is a duty of citizenship, a high privilege, and an opportunity to observe and participate in democracy in action. We honor and thank all those who appear for jury duty.
The Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court extend our sincere gratitude to those who serve jury duty. Through service, you ensure that the right to trial by a jury is guaranteed for all in the Great Lakes State. Judges and court staff throughout the state appreciate your thoughtful deliberation and express appreciation to fellow citizens who answer the call of duty.
Who gets called?
U.S. citizens at least 18 years old who are residents of the
court district to which they are summoned. The jury pool for each court comes
from a list of licensed drivers and state ID card holders in the court’s
district. Those who have been convicted of felony crimes are not eligible for
Are there exemptions?
People over 70 may request an age exemption from jury service. And while you
can be called for duty more than once, you cannot serve on a jury more than
once in a 12-month period.
Jurors must be able to communicate in the English language and be physically
and mentally able to carry out the functions of a juror.
What if I don’t show
up? You can be held in contempt of court, fined, or even jailed.
What about work?
By law, an employer cannot fire, or discipline or threaten such action, against
an employee who is summoned for jury duty or chosen to serve on a jury, even
for a long trial. Nor can employers force a worker to go beyond normal hours to
make up for time spent on jury service. An employer who takes these actions
could be guilty of a misdemeanor or held in contempt of court.
What’s an acceptable
reason to be excused from jury service? That’s up to the court, but there
are a number of grounds for excusing a person from jury service or postponing
the service. “Hardship” is one, and that could include lack of transportation,
excessive travel, extreme financial burden, undue risk to physical property,
and being over 70. “Hardship” also includes situations where your absence from
your normal routine would affect another’s care or pose a risk to public health
or safety. A request for a medical related exemption requires a letter from a
doctor. A full-time student who believes that jury service will conflict with
his or her classes must submit a copy of the class schedule.
If I serve on a jury,
can I talk about the case afterwards? Once the judge discharges you from
service, you may discuss the case with others, although you don’t have to
discuss it. Attorneys in the case often find it helpful to talk to the jurors
afterwards. In a high-profile case, the media may also want to talk to jurors.
Beware jury duty scam phone calls, e-mails
It may sound official – and intimidating: you receive a
phone call or e-mail claiming to be from a local court telling you that you
missed jury duty. There is a bench warrant out for your arrest and you face 30
days in jail, but the so-called “court” offers you a way out: pay $500 by
But don’t be fooled, warns the State Court Administrative
Office, the administrative agency of the Michigan Supreme Court. It’s only a
scam that works by intimidating its victims. Variations of the scam have been
reported in Michigan from time to time.
A similar phone scam involves threatening victims with
arrest for missing jury duty unless they give up personal information, such as
birth dates and Social Security numbers. In yet another variation of this scam,
the victim gets a text message saying that the victim is subject to arrest
unless he or she calls the phone number in the text and pays by credit card. To
make the demand seem plausible, the scammer often uses the name of an actual
local court or court official.
All of these scams are just deception through intimidation.
Don’t fall for the scam, but report it to the police and to the court that the
caller or message claims to represent. In addition to the attempt to defraud
the victim, it’s a crime for anyone to falsely pose as a court official.
Courts do not call people who’ve missed jury duty to get
their financial information. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams,
remember the following:
Be suspicious if a person calls, e-mails, or
texts claiming to be a court official.
Be skeptical if you are told, “In order to avoid
arrest (or prosecution), you must provide us with your Social Security number
so we can verify who you are.”
Be suspicious if the caller, e-mail sender, or
text message sender pressures you for immediate payment or other action, or
refuses to send you written information to review.
Never give out your bank, credit card, or Social
Security information over the phone to someone who calls you, or in response to
an e-mail or text message.
Report suspicious calls, e-mails, and text
messages to local police.