Jury duty, civic duty, is a fascinating lesson in the workings of the Cleveland court system. At times you also run into anxiety, confusion, and surprise. Here’s an idea of what to expect if a jury is called in in Cuyahoga County.
About the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court is the largest court system in the state of Ohio. It serves 40 courtrooms and 40 judges and handles criminal and civil cases.
Who is called
Jurors are chosen randomly from the lists of registered voters in Cuyahoga County. There are few exemptions, only members of a cloistered convent or monastery. Once lawyers and other professional people were exempt, but no longer. Offenders who have not had their rights restored, those who have moved out of the county, and those who have served within a year are disqualified.
Prospective jurors are notified by mail approximately four weeks before the service.
What to expect
Jurors are assigned to civil and criminal cases in courtrooms at the Old Cuyahoga County Courthouse and Justice Center in Lakeside. The average duration of a case is three to four days.
The process begins with the “voir dire,” during which the two attorneys and the judge cross-examine the jury panel to determine if there are conflicts of interest and so the attorneys can choose the best panel for your case. Civil panels are made up of eight plus alternate members and criminal cases are made up of 12 plus alternate members.
The chosen panel hears the case, deliberates, and then attempts to reach a verdict. A three-fourths majority is required in a civil case; A criminal verdict must be unanimous.
Jurors are prohibited from discussing the case during the trial process with anyone, including other jurors, family, and friends.
Parking and Transportation
Parking around the Cuyahoga County Courthouse and Courthouse ranges from $ 3 to $ 13, with the least expensive lots located near the lake. The Justice Center lot, across Ontario St. from the building costs $ 13, but the jury center will validate your ticket, reducing the fee to $ 8.
Dozens of RTA buses stop in and around the area. For information on routes and fares, see the RTA website.
Hours and days of service
The standard length of service is five days, although it could be longer if the case to which you are assigned lasts for more than five days. Hours are approximately 830 am to 330 pm, with one hour for lunch.
Jury Service Compensation
Jurors are compensated at $ 25 per day of service. A check will be sent to you after your service is completed. Many corporations pay employees their full salary while serving on jury duty. A certificate of service is available from the court after you complete your jury duty.
(Last update 2-1-08)