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Crawford County, Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

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petit jury service – general information

 

 

 

 

 

Location of the Crawford County Courthouse:

 

Address:  112 East Mansfield Street, Bucyrus, Ohio

 

We are located at the corner of Walnut Street and Mansfield Street, one block east of the square.

 

 

Parking availability:

 

Free parking is available off Walnut Street across from the Courthouse on the south and north sides of the railroad tracks and also on the same side as the Courthouse on the north side of the railroad tracks.  Free parking is available for the disabled, with the proper tag, in the private parking lot at the north end of the Courthouse (same side of the street).

 

 

Location of Common Pleas Court:

 

We are located at the south end of the Courthouse on the second floor.  You will enter the Courthouse at the ramped entrance off Walnut Street.  You must check in through Security, and then take the stairs or elevator to the second floor.

 

 

Your attire:

 

Please use your best judgment and report for jury service properly dressed.  Tee shirts, shorts, sweats, tattered jeans, and flip flops do not constitute proper attire for jury service.  Business casual wear is a proper choice. 

 

 

Where to check in for jury service:

 

When you report for jury service, you need to check in with the Clerk of Courts Office.  This office is located on the second floor of the Courthouse.  You must check in through Security, and then take the stairs or elevator to the second floor.

 

 

Your compensation:

 

Along with the knowledge you will gain of our legal system when sitting as a juror on a trial and the feeling of having fulfilled a civic duty, when you report as a petit juror and sign in through the Clerk’s Office, you will be compensated $30.00 per day.  If you do report on the specified day and are not seated on the trial jury, you will be compensated for one day of service.  You should expect payment within three weeks, at the latest, of the completion of the jury trial.

 

 

Meals/Snacks/Beverages:

 

Jurors are provided free coffee and water when reporting for service.  On occasion a staff member of the court may provide a snack (cookies, donuts, etc.) however, it is not customary that the court or its staff will provide meals and/or snacks.  During the duration of a jury trial, you will be provided with ample free time for lunch.  There are several restaurants in the Bucyrus area.  If you are not familiar with the area, please ask a fellow juror who is or a member of the court staff.  The jury room is equipped with a refrigerator and microwave if you desire to bring your own lunch, and the Courthouse is equipped with soda and snack machines.

 

 

Oath of a juror:

 

As a prospective juror who has been called for service and reports to the court, you will be asked to stand and to swear or affirm to answer truthfully all questions asked of you as to your qualifications to serve as a juror in the case.

 

 

Progression when reporting for service for a jury trial:

 

After checking in with the Clerk of Courts Office, you will be escorted to the jury room where you will wait until all jurors are present.  After all jurors are present, the bailiff will take a role-call and the Jury Service Video will be shown. 

 

When everyone is ready to proceed with the trial all prospective jurors will be placed in order according to our jury list for trial and taken into the Courtroom.

 

The judge will have you swear or affirm to your oath and the selection process will begin.  The selection process will contain questions presented to you by the judge and counsel.  Each party to a lawsuit is entitled to jurors who approach the case with open minds and who agree to keep their minds open until a verdict is reached.  Jurors must be as free as humanly possible from bias, prejudice or sympathy and not influenced by preconceived ideas either as to facts or the law.  The questions that will be asked are not designed to pry into your personal affairs, but to discover if you have any knowledge of this case; any preconceived opinions which cannot be laid aside; or if you’ve had any experiences that might cause you to identify yourself with either party.  These questions are necessary to assure each party an impartial jury.  There are two types of challenges for which a juror may be excused from sitting on a case.  The challenges for cause are covered by statute.  The judge decides whether or not a prospective juror should be excused for cause.  Peremptory challenges are also provided for in the law and are limited in number.  The court must excuse a person who is challenged peremptorily.  If you are challenged for any reason or in any way, it does not mean you may not serve on other juries and it is in no way a reflection on your honesty or ability.   After the jury has been selected those jurors remaining will be asked to stand and swear or affirm to well and truly try the matters in issue and render a true verdict according to the evidence and the law.

 

The trial will begin with opening statements.  These opening statements are not evidence, but they are a preview of the claims or position of each party designed to help you follow the evidence as it is presented. 

 

Then, each side may offer evidence to support its claim or position.  In a civil case, the plaintiff proceeds first, followed by the defendant.  Thereafter, rebuttal evidence may be offered.  In a criminal case, the prosecution (State of Ohio) offers its evidence.  The defendant may offer evidence if so desired.  If the defendant presents evidence, the prosecution may present rebuttal evidence.  When all evidence has been presented, the attorneys for the respective parties will be given an opportunity to address the jury. 

 

Closing arguments will begin.  The lawyer for the plaintiff or the prosecution is usually heard first and will analyze the evidence and attempt to convince the jury that under the evidence and the law, they are entitled to have the case decided in their favor.  The lawyer for the defendant will then make an argument to show why the case should be decided in their favor.  The plaintiff’s attorney or the prosecuting attorney is then allowed to rebut the defendant’s argument.  These arguments are not evidence in the case. 

 

The judge will then instruct you as to the law.  You must apply the law as given by the court to the facts in the case as you find them.  You should listen to these instructions carefully, bearing in mind that it is your sworn duty to follow the law.  You will then retire to the jury room for deliberation. 

 

Your first duty upon retiring is to select your foreperson.  The foreperson acts as chairperson.  It is the foreperson’s duty to see that the discussion is carried on in sensible and orderly fashion and that every juror has a chance to voice an opinion.  The foreperson has no greater voice than other members of the panel with respect to the verdict.  Discussion in the jury room should never be so loud that it can be heard outside.  Jurors should deliberate with open minds, give respectful consideration to the opinions of fellow jurors, freely exchange views or opinions concerning the case and not be hesitant to change their minds when reason and logic so dictate.  It is your solemn oath to decide the case according to the law and the evidence.  Questions during deliberation must be written and presented to the bailiff.  The judge then reads the question in the presence of the attorneys and their clients.  The answer is written and returned to the foreperson by the bailiff.  The jury’s deliberation is secret.  Until a verdict is announced and accepted by the judge in open court, jurors may not disclose to anyone else the status of their deliberations or the nature of their verdict.  When a verdict is reached, the foreperson informs the bailiff of that fact. The jury then returns to the court and gives its verdict.

 

Upon conclusion of the reading of the verdict, you will be returned to the jury room for final words from the court and possible interviews of counsel. 

 

 

Legal Terms and Definitions:

 

 

Action, Case, Suit, Lawsuit:

A legal dispute brought into court for a hearing or trial.

 

 

Parties:

The plaintiff and defendant in the case – also called the “litigants”.

 

 

Cause of Action:

The legal grounds on which a party to a lawsuit relies to get a verdict against an opponent.

 

 

Complaint:

The first pleading in a civil case stating facts and demanding relief to which plaintiff claims to be entitled.

 

 

Indictment:

The document informing the defendant of the criminal charges.

 

 

Answer:

A pleading filed with the court before the trial by the defendant in a civil case to answer or deny the plaintiff’s claims.

 

 

Counterclaim:

An answer to the complaint, in which the defendant claims to be entitled to damages or other relief from the plaintiff.

 

 

Issue:

A disputed question of fact, which you must decide.  It is sometimes spoken of as one of the “questions” which the jury must answer in order to reach a verdict.

 

 

Pleadings:

All the documents filed by the parties before the trial to establish what issues must be decided by the jury.

 

 

Deliberations:

The discussions of the jury, which occur after the judge has instructed you to retire to the jury room and consider your verdict.

 

 

Opening Statement:

Before introducing any evidence in the case, a lawyer tells the jury what the case is about and what evidence is expected to be brought in to prove that side of the case.  An opening statement is not evidence.

 

 

Examination, Direct Examination, Examination-in-Chief:

Questions, which the lawyers ask their own clients or witnesses called to the stand.

 

 

Cross-Examination:

Questions, which a lawyer puts to the party or a witness on the opposing side.  This is designed to test the testimony and credibility of the party or witness.

 

 

Deposition:

If a party to a lawsuit or a witness cannot be in court because of illness or other inability, that person’s testimony may be written out in question-and-answer form and read at the trial, just as it would have been given in court.  Or if such testimony was recorded, the recording is viewed at the trial.  Attorneys for both sides are present when a deposition is taken.  A deposition may also be used to deny a witness’ testimony or for the purpose of refreshing a witness’ recollection.

 

 

Exhibit:

Articles such as objects, pictures, books, letters and documents are often received into evidence.  These exhibits are given to the jury to take to the jury room while deliberating.

 

 

“Objection Overruled” or “Overruled”:

The judge’s ruling that a lawyer’s objection is not well taken under the rules for conducting the trial.  The judge’s ruling, so far as you are concerned, is final and may not be questioned.

 

 

“Objection Sustained” or “Sustained”:

The judge’s ruling that a lawyer’s objection is well taken under the rules for conducting the trial.  The judge’s ruling, so far as you are concerned, is final and may not be questioned.

 

 

Exception:

Occasionally, after the judge has made a ruling, a lawyer will say “exception”. This is a legal phrase, which has nothing to do with the duties of the jury and should be disregarded by you.  Its purpose is to preserve the point for further consideration and review by the higher courts at a later date.

 

 

Rest:

The lawyer has concluded the evidence to be introduced at that stage of the trial.

 

 

Argument:

After all the evidence on both sides of a lawsuit is in, the lawyers tell the jury what they think the evidence proves and why they think their side should win.  This is usually called an “argument” or “summing up” and is not evidence.

 

 

Instructions:

After all the evidence is in, and the lawyers have made their arguments, the judge outlines the question to be decided and states the issues you must decide.  The judge outlines the rules of law, which must guide your deliberations and control your verdict.  These are the judge’s “charge” or “instructions” to the jury.  A judge may, and sometimes must, instruct the jury on some point of law while the trial is in progress.

 

 

Record:

The official word-for-word copy of the proceedings, taken in shorthand, stenotype, or audio-transcription by an official court reporter.  Often the judge or the lawyers state that something is, or is not, “for the record” or “in the record”.

 

 

Jury Panel:

All prospective jurors from which the trial jury is chosen.

 

 

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