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The names of all licensed drivers and registered voters in St. Bernard Parish are placed into the jury-management computer system operated by the Clerk of Court. The combined list is updated each year to account for address changes, name changes, additions, and deletions. The computer runs comparisons to eliminate duplicate names and then randomly selects the names of those who will be issued subpoenas to appear, upon request by the Clerk of Court.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has revised its rules as to which groups and classes of persons are exempt from jury service.
Public officers, physicians, lawyers, judges, members of the armed forces, police and fire departments, and clergy are no longer exempt. One is exempted from jury duty only if he served less than two years prior to his next scheduled service date. Those who are seventy years of age or older also may claim an exemption. However, one must expressly claim an exemption each time he is summoned; It is not automatically granted. One may claim an exemption based upon prior service or age by calling the jury management room at (504) 271-3434 or by mail to the return address indicated on the summons.
The law does provide, however, for excusal from jury duty for medical, hardship, or other reasons. Excusal requests for those reasons must be submitted to the Clerk of Court for its review. Instructions on excusal requests are given in the jury summons.
To inquire about excusals, exemptions, or any other jury-service issues, you may call the Clerk of Court during the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Louisiana law provides that a potential juror must meet certain qualifications to be eligible to serve on a jury. These requirements are that a prospective juror:
1) Must be a citizen of the United States and Louisiana and must have resided in St. Bernard Parish for at least one year before serving as a juror;
2) Must be at least 18 years old;
3) Must be able to read, write and speak the English language;
4) Must not be under interdiction or incapable of serving as a juror because of a mental or physical infirmity, provided that no person shall be deemed incompetent solely because of the loss of hearing to any degree;
5) Must not be under indictment for a felony, nor convicted of a felony for which a pardon has not been granted.
If you do not meet all of these requirements, you should notify someone on the jury management staff at (504) 271-3434 or by mail to the Clerk of Court at the address indicated on the summons.
In the jury lounge there are various amenities: television, tables, reading materials, etc. One is free to move around the lounge, but he should stay in the immediate area, so as to be continuously available for juror selection.
If one must leave the lounge, he/she should inform the jury clerk of his destination.
When you are sent to a courtroom, you need only act the way most people normally act and be alert, courteous, and honest about your feelings and opinions on issues. The court will instruct you further.
Once you are actually selected as a juror, you are under the judge’s jurisdiction and control. Simply listen closely to the judge, who will give you detailed instructions and information concerning such matters as (1) anticipated length of the trial, (2) when to report back to the courtroom after a recess, (3) what you are expected to do and not do as a juror, and (4) other matters that the judge feels are relevant to your jury service.