Ohio - Jury Duty Laws, Jury Selection, Juror Qualification
Jury Duty in Ohio - What to Expect
In the American court system, criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to trial by a "jury of their peers". In Ohio, a pool of potential jurors is randomly selected from the local population of individuals eligible for jury duty.
A prospective juror must be:
- Eighteen years of age or older
- A resident of the county
- An elector or would be an elector if the person were registered to vote
Ohio has more challenges than qualifications that would disqualify a the prospective person from service, which are:
- A conviction of a crime that by law renders the person disqualified to serve on a jury
- An interest in the cause
- An action pending between the person and either party to the case
- Formerly service as a juror in the same cause
- They have been subpoenaed in good faith as a witness in the cause
- Blood relation or affinity within the fourth degree to either party or to the attorney of either party
- Prospective juror is an employer, the employee, or the spouse, parent, son, or daughter of the employer or employee, counselor, agent, steward, or attorney of either party
- Prospective juror or the person's spouse, parent, son, or daughter is a party to another action then pending in any court in which an attorney in the cause then on trial is an attorney, either for or against any such party to another such action
How Are Potential Jurors Chosen in Ohio?
The first stage in jury selection is summoning a pool of potential jurors from the list of local citizens eligible to serve on a jury in Ohio, as described above.
The annual jury source list will be the voter list combined with names from the registrar of motor vehicles, with duplicate records merged. The current voter list will only contain names of persons who voted in the last election. Additional qualified jurors will be added as they are discovered. List is renewed annually.
Receiving a Jury Duty Summons in Ohio
If your name is randomly selected for the jury pool through the process described above, you receive a jury summons in the mail instructing you to appear for jury selection on a pre-set day.
While there are a few excuses for getting out of jury selection in OH, most people summoned will have to report to the courthouse for the next stage of the juror selection process, voir dire.
The Juror Selection Process, or "Voir Dire"
Just because you qualify to be a juror and are summoned for jury selection, doesn't mean that you will be selected to be a juror on a case. The process of "Voir Dire", the actual act of jury selection, is how judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutors actually choose the individuals who will sit on the juries for upcoming criminal and civil cases.
During the voir dire process, each lawyer will ask the pool of potential jurors a series of questions about their background, beliefs, prejudices, or relationships with any party to the case. While the goal is to select an impartial jury to render a verdict, each attorney will also seek to exclude any jurors who seem to be more likely to vote against their client's interests. While jury candidates are instructed to be open and truthful when answering such questions, the juror selection process is also where most individuals who don't wish to serve on a trial find a way to be excused from further juror duties.
What Happens After Jury Selection Day
If you are selected to serve on a jury, you will be provided with the trial date, and must return to serve on the jury for the duration of the trial and deliberations. If you were not selected to serve on any jury during the voir dire process, you can go home, and your Ohio jury duty obligations are complete.
You will receive nominal Ohio jury duty pay for the jury selection day, as well as for any days served on a jury. Once your service is complete, you won't be summoned for jury duty again until Ohio re-adds you to the potential juror pool.
Jurors reporting for jury duty or jury selection in the state of Ohio are expected to dress professionally, in a manner appropriate for a court room.
Most courthouses suggest dress ranging from business casual to business attire. For men, this means slacks or khakis and a polo or button-down shirt, potentially with a tie or suit jacket. For women, this means a professional-looking pair of pants or a skirt, cardigan, sweater, twinset, or shirt.
As a juror, you are expected to maintain a professional and respectable appearance while performing your duties. Hats should never be worn in a courtroom, and you should avoid wearing shorts, t-shirts, tanktops, or anything printed with logos or slogans.
While jury duty is a civic requirement for all eligible citizens in Ohio, the state restricts how often you can be summoned for jury duty in order to ensure a fresh jury pool and prevent undue hardship by being summoned too frequently.
Ohio Jury Duty Summons Frequency:
In Ohio, a juror who previously served for two consecutive weeks is exempt from further service in any court for a year as of the date of discharge of previous service.
While there are a number of ways to be legally excused from jury duty in Ohio, failing to appear when summoned for jury selection or jury duty without an excuse is illegal, and can result in legal repercussions.
A juror failing to appear to a summoms may be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than three days, or both.
Employers in Ohio are also forbidden from penalizing employees who miss work for jury duty.