Jurors serve a necessary role in our legal system. The right to a jury trial is a fundamental, constitutional right guaranteed to all of us.
Why is jury service important?
Very few of us ever have to go to court as plaintiffs or defendants, but when we do, we want fair and impartial people to listen to the evidence and decide our cases.
Therefore, when we are called to serve on a jury, we have an obligation to our fellow citizens to honor the summons and appear at court. Some cases may be more important than others, but to the parties involved, the case can be life-changing.
As President Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the World?”
More Information for Jurors
Names are obtained from the voter registration list for Seneca County according to Ohio Law which requires a random selection of residents from a fair cross-section of the community.
Grand Jurors will serve a term of four months. A Summons with information regarding Grand Jury Duty will be received in the mail approximately one month prior to the beginning of the term. You will be summoned to appear at a certain date and time listed on the paperwork. The Seneca County Grand Jury currently meets every other Wednesday. The Seneca County Prosecutor will notify you of the dates and times to appear. Some days may be a half day and others may be a whole day.
Petit Jurors will serve a term of four months and will be called to be a juror on an “as needed basis.” A postcard will be sent with a date and time to appear approximately one week prior to the date of jury service. Included on the postcard is a telephone number to call the night before the trial date to see if your appearance is needed. Most jury trials last two days, however, a trial could last longer. The Judge will adjourn the jury each evening and will instruct what time to return the following morning.
Trials normally start at 9:00 a.m. with the jury expected to arrive by 8:45 a.m. The doors of the Seneca County Justice Center open at 8:30 a.m. The Judge will dismiss jurors in the afternoon, usually between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. However, if the jury is deliberating, the Court may require jurors to stay until a verdict is reached.
Jurors will receive a $10.00 attendance fee for reporting. If selected, jurors will receive $20.00 per day. Juror fees are set by the Seneca County Commissioners.
Your employment is protected by law while you are serving as a juror. If you should have a problem with your employer in connection with your jury service, please contact the Court immediately.
Reporting on time is critical. Court cannot start until all jurors are present. The right to trial by jury is one of the cornerstones of the American legal procedure, and it allows citizens to take an active part in the judicial system. Jury service is not voluntary, but a civic duty imposed upon all citizens by law. If the summons is not honored, you could be ordered to show cause why you should not be held in contempt of Court.
In most cases, you will be required to be present no later than 8:45 a.m.
Upon entering the Justice Center you will pass through a metal detector. Any bags/purses will pass through an x-ray machine. Please leave all pocket-knives, box cutters, tools, etc. at home, as you will not be able to enter the Justice Center or leave any of those items with security.
If you are summoned for Judge Shuff’s Court:
- You will report to Judge Shuff’s courtroom located on the third floor of the Seneca County Justice Center. If you are selected as a Juror, you will report directly to Judge Shuff’s jury room on the following days.
If you are summoned for Judge Alt’s Court:
- You will report to the Clerk’s office located on the first floor of the Seneca County Justice Center. If you are selected as a Juror, you will report directly to Judge Alt’s jury room on the following days.
Please dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothing that enhances the dignity of the Court and emphasizes the seriousness of your responsibility. Shorts of any kind, hats, tank tops, T-shirts, sweat suits, torn or soiled jeans, or other such informal attire is not considered appropriate clothing for the courtroom.
You will report for Jury Duty at the Seneca County Justice Center, 103 E. Market Street, Tiffin, Ohio.
THE DOORS OPEN AT 8:30 A.M. THEREFORE, WE ASK THAT YOU DO NOT ARRIVE PRIOR TO THAT TIME.
There is an elevator to all floors and the building is handicap accessible.
A county parking lot is located off South Washington Street next to the RTA Building. Park only in spots painted yellow. DO NOT park in spots painted green. A city parking lot is located on South Washington Street, across the street from the Seneca County Justice Center, where there are limited spots around the perimeter of the lot.
To maintain proper security, all persons entering the Seneca County Justice Center shall be subject to search and scanning by a metal detector. Any bags/purses will pass through an x-ray machine. Please leave all pocket knives, box cutters, tools, etc. at home, as you will not be able to enter the Justice Center or leave any of those items with security.
Upon request, a work excuse shall be provided showing the dates of service and the attendance fees. A work excuse may be obtained from the appropriate Court.
Employers: The Law and Your Duty
For our jury system to work, it is essential that the courts and employers form a partnership to ensure that all citizens are available to serve on juries when called. Without cooperation from the business community, our system would come to a halt. We would lose a fundamental principle upon which we, private and corporate citizens alike, depend. The importance of your participation cannot be emphasized enough.
Businesses frequently benefit directly from our legal system. The civil litigation system, in particular, is filled with a variety of business related disputes. These include actions concerning contracts, wrongful termination, product defects, environmental issues, malpractice, intellectual fraud, and Workers’ Compensation. While employers have valid concerns about how jury service affects their employee resources, it is important that they understand the length of time employees may need to be absent.
Employers and businesses are encouraged to support the jury system by paying employees while they are serving as jurors. In order for society to benefit from fair and open trials, we need to make it easier for citizens to report for jury service. Many citizens cannot afford to serve if they will lose their salaries or wages during jury service. In recent years, far too many jurors have asked to be excused from service because the loss of income they would suffer creates a financial hardship. On the other hand, when the number of jurors claiming financial hardship decreases, a much broader cross section of society will be free to serve. This will create juries that are truly representative and reflective of our society. By agreeing to compensate employees during jury service, not only will employers continue to enjoy the benefits of the jury system, but they will also contribute toward its improvement.