Hand Book for Jurors
How Jurors are Selected
Your Role As A Juror
Sequence of a Trial
Petit and Grand Juries
Payment for Jury Duty
Length of Service
Personnel & Their Functions in Court
Instructions to all Jurors
The judge of the 35th Judicial District Court, the Grant Parish Clerk of
Court, and their staff welcome and congratulate you as a fellow participant
in the administration of justice.
You are now involved in the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers, a
cornerstone of American justice. By serving as a juror, you will be a
judge and you will assist in perpetuating a system that is fair and provides
the same opportunity to all American citizens.
Efforts have been made to expedite the cases set for trial during your jury
service; however, many matters must be disposed of before the jury is
called. Witnesses may need to be located, motions may be filed by
attorneys, and a myriad of other things may happen which require some delay
before the jury panel may be summoned to the courtroom.
These circumstances may cause you to wait for extended periods of time.
The judge requests your patience and assures you that all will be done to
make your jury service as short and efficient as possible.
how jurors are selected
The names of all registered voters of Grant Parish are placed into the Clerk
of Court computer every few years. The computer uses random selection
to select the names of people who will receive a subpoena for jury duty.
Louisiana law provides that certain qualifications must be met in order for
a person to be eligible to serve on a jury. These requirements are
that a prospective juror:
Must be a citizen of the United States and Louisiana, and must have resided
in Grant parish for at least one year before service;
- Must be at least eighteen years of age;
- Must be able to read, write and speak the English language;
- Must not have a mental or physical infirmity which makes service impossible;
- Must not be under indictment for a felony, nor convicted of a felony for
which he/she has not been pardoned.
If you do not meet all of these requirements, provide documentation to the
Judgw’s office to be excused. Also, if jury service would result in
undue or extreme inconvenience or hardship, you may request in writing to be
excused by the Judge.
Effective April 28, 1994, the Louisiana Supreme Court has amended its rules
so as to effectively eliminate all group and occupational exemptions from
jury service. Persons who may claim an exemption from jury service
- Persons who have served on a jury in the 35th Judicial District within the
last two years;
- Persons who are 70 years of age or older.
If you are in either of these categories, you may claim an exemption from
jury service; however, if you wish to serve, you may do so. If you do
elect to claim one of these exemptions, the Clerk of Court will assist you
in presenting the necessary proof.
Your Role As A Juror
You are to report to the Grant Parish Courthouse at the time and date stated
on your subpoena. You will report to the main courtroom located on the
second floor of the Courthouse. The Judge will determine if you are
qualified to serve on the jury.
The Judge will then question prospective jurors. You must not leave
this area until instructed to do so.
When you are in the courtroom, you are asked to conduct yourself in a
respectful manner. You should be alert, courteous and honest about
your feelings and opinions on issues.
Should you be selected as a juror, it is imperative that you are attentive
at all times. The Judge presiding over that court will give
instructions and orders that you must follow.
If you have any problem (such as not being able to hear a witness), have an
urgent question or request, you may ask the Bailiff to notify the Judge, who
will then handle your request.
After you have heard all the evidence and each attorney has summed up his
case, the Judge will instruct you on the law that applies to the facts you
will consider. You will then be escorted to the Jury Deliberation Room
where you and your fellow jurors will deliberate.
Sequence of a Trial
The Judge will tell you the names of the parties, the lawyers who will
represent each, and the nature of the legal action.
You will then be questioned by the attorneys and court to insure that you
can be impartial and objective about the issues in the case. This is
called Voir Dire. Each attorney may challengefor cause." This means
that for some reason (your occupation, your opinion on certain issues, your
knowledge of the case, etc.), it might be unfair to ask you to be impartial
in the case at hand, and the Judge may excuse you from service in this
particular trial. Each attorney also is allowed by law a limited
number ofpreemptory challenges". This means the attorney may
ask the court to excuse some prospective jurors without stating any reason.
(If you are challenged, please keep in mind that this request is not a
reflection of your ability or integrity. The attorney is merely
using a right given to his client by law).
At the end of Voir Dire examination a number of people will be seated to
form the Jury, and the trial begins. (In some cases it may be a
"six-man" jury, in others it may be atwelve-man" jury).
The plaintiff's attorney (in civil cases) or the District Attorney (in
criminal cases) will make an opening statement telling you what he intends
to prove. The attorney for the defense may also make an opening
After the opening statements, the side bringing the suit, (i.e., the
plaintiff or the D.A.), will present its evidence with witnesses, documents
or other exhibits. Then the other side will be afforded the
opportunity to (when one party is through) questioning one witness, the
other attorney may cross-examine. There are special rules of law
governing what may be asked of a witness, how the witness may respond, and
what the Jury may properly consider as evidence. From time to time, an
attorney mayobject" to some testimony or procedure. The Judge may
ask the lawyers to approach the bench to discuss the matter, or you may be
taken to the jury deliberation room so that it may be debated outside your
hearing. In either case, the Judge will rule on all questions of law,
and will tell you how the law requires you to treat a particular situation.
When both sides have presented their evidence and defenses, each attorney
will sum up his case. He tells what he believes the evidence shows and
why it favors his side. Of course these presentations by the lawyers
are not evidence.
After the closing arguments, the judge will instruct you on your duties as a
juror. He will also instruct you as to the law in this particular
case, what verdicts can be rendered and the consequences of each verdict.
You and your fellow jurors will then be escorted to the Jury Room for
At this time, you will select one juror to be the foreperson. This
person will preside over your deliberating, and will bring the verdict into
court. In many cases one of the parties will ask, or the Court
will order, the Jury be polled. This means the court will ask each
juror individually if this is his or her own verdict. The Judge may
order their verdict to be read in open court or on a secret ballot viewed by
the Judge and attorneys. Thereafter, the Clerk of Court is
ordered to seal the ballots in the records.
The judge presiding over the case will then thank you and dismiss you.
Petit and Grand Juries
A Petit jury will hear and decide criminal cases after a person is charged
with a crime.
Criminal cases are brought by the state against persons accused of
committing a crime. In these cases, the state is the plaintiff, and
the accused person is the defendant. Criminal jury trials involve
felony and capital (death penalty) cases.
A grand jury does not decide a case. Rather it has broad powers to
investigate a wide range of criminal offenses and to examine the performance
of public officials and public institutions. As such, a Grand Jury may
charge a person with a crime who may be tried before a Petit jury.
Its deliberations are conducted in secret, in conjunction with the State
Attorney or a designated assistant state attorney.
Payment for Jury Duty
Jurors will receive $25.00 per day, plus mileage for jury service.
Length of Service
The first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials
held during the week. Jurors selected to serve on cases will be asked to
return and serve on the dates of that trial. Most trials last several days.
Proper dress attire is required. Shorts, men's hats, muscle shirts,
halters (mid-drifts), and other inappropriate dress are not allowed.
Cell phones are not allowed on the second floor of the courthouse.
Bailiffs - The official in each courtroom who attends to the security and
comforts of the judges, jurors, and the court in general.
Bench - The seat occupied by judges in court.
Bill of Information - A formal charge of violation of a criminal statue made
against a person by the District Attorney and filed with the Clerk of Court.
Challenge - During the selection of a particular jury (see voir dire),
attorneys for either side may wish to suggest to the court that certain
individuals be excused from service for this particular jury.
There are two types of challenges. (A) A challenge for cause is made
when an attorney believes that an individual being challenged is in some way
not appropriate for a particular case. For example, a person who was
recently a party to a personal injury suit or who is a relative of the
attorneys or parties in the present suit, may find it difficult or
impossible to be completely objective. The decision as to the validity
of a challenge for cause is made by the judge. (B) The law allows each
side in a case a limited number of preemptory challenges which it may
exercise if it so chooses. The judge automatically grants preemptory
Chambers - The private room or office of a judge.
Civil law - Civil trials, as distinguished from criminal trials, deal with
disputes between individuals, corporations, and/or other private entities or
public entities such as the City, Parish or State, in which no violation of
a specific criminal law is charged.
Criminal law - That law dealing with actions or omissions which have been
identified by a legislative body as being contrary to the public interest,
and to which criminal penalties have been attached.
Cross-examination - Examination of a witness by the party opposed to the one
who produced him, in order to further develop and to test the truth of his
Defendant - In a civil action, the party against whom suit is brought; the
party who is being sued. In a criminal case, the defendant is the
person who is charged with violation of a criminal statute.
Direct-examination - The first examination of a witness by the party on
whose behalf he is called.
Expert witness - A person qualified to speak authoritatively on a certain
subject on the basis of skill, training or experience. The court is
responsible for determining the qualifications of an expert witness to
testify in a particular case. An expert witness may offer opinions as
well as observations within his field of expertise.
Grand Jury - A special jury which serves during each session of criminal
court as a body to inquire into complaints and accusations of violations of
criminal laws. Grand Juries may hear testimony and receive evidence,
and may bring charges in the form of an indictment against individuals.
A Grand Jury does not find innocence or guilt; it simply determines whether
or not sufficient evidence exists to bring formal charges before the court.
Indictment - A formal accusation, by a Grand Jury, that a person has
violated one or more specific criminal statutes. The charge is
presented to a court.
Instructions - The directions given by the judge to the jury concerning the
law which applies in the case at hand, and the manner in which the jury is
to apply it to the facts as they find them.
Intervener - A person who voluntarily enters an action or other proceeding,
with the permission of the court.
Jury pool - A randomly chosen group of individuals from which individual
jury panels are chosen.
Jury term - The length of time for which a citizen serves in a jury pool.
Motion - A formal request to the court by an attorney for a specific action
by the court. Example:Your Honor, defense moves the last testimony
be stricken from the record."
Objection - In a trial, a lawyer may object (or raise an objection) to a
procedure or action in the trial (such as an attempt to introduce certain
evidence or to elicit certain testimony) which that lawyer feels should not
be permitted under the rules of law which govern the conduct of trials.
The Judge will make a decision as to whether or not the objection is to be
sustained or overruled.
Panel - A specific group of prospective jurors from which the jury for a
particular case will be chosen. The jury pool is for convenience
divided up into panels, which are sent to each court room as the need
Petit Jury - A jury of individuals who determine the facts and render a
verdict thereon in a particular criminal trial.
Plaintiff - In a civil action, the person who brings a Petition to the
court; the party who initiates the action by filing suit.
Plea - A defendant's statement, answering the charges against him, or
showing why he should not answer.
Settlement - An agreement by which parties having disputed matters between
them reach an agreement which concludes the dispute without going to trial.
Statute - A written law, enacted by a legislative body (city council, state
legislature, U.S. Congress)
Verdict - The formal decision of the jury. In a criminal case, the
decision relates to the guilt or innocence of the defendant. In a
civil suit, the decision is whether or not the plaintiff has proved his case
against the defendant, and may also include findings as to the amount of
Voir Dire - A prospective juror, prior to being sworn to serve in a trial,
is questioned by the judge and the attorneys in that case in order to
determine whether he/she is competent and qualified to hear the particular
Witness - A person who testifies under oath to what he has seen, heard, or
otherwise observed, and whose statement is received as part of the evidence
in the case.
Personnel & Their Functions in Court
Judge - An officer who is elected to preside and to administer the law in a
court of justice.
District Attorney (D.A.) - The chief prosecuting officer, elected by the
people of the parish, who represents the state in criminal trials. The
District Attorney may also appoint an Assistant District Attorney to act in
his behalf should he be unable to be present at trial.
Plaintiff - The party who complains or sues in a civil action.
Defendant - The party summoned to answer a charge or complaint in civil or
criminal law; The party against whom an action or suit is filed.
Lawyer (Attorney, Counsel) - The legal representative of a party in a trial.
Bailiff - An administrative officer of the court who attends to the needs of
the judge, jurors, witnesses, and court.
Court Reporter - A person responsible for taking and transcribing official
presentations of facts, evidence, and legal procedures in a trial.
Minute Clerk - A deputy clerk of court who administers the oath to jurors
and witnesses and whose duty is to receive the evidence as it is introduced.
Instructions to all Jurors
You have been qualified as a prospective juror in a pending case. It is
imperative that you follow the listed instructions:
- Please arrive at the courthouse no later than 15 minutes prior to the time
court is to begin. This is done in order to facilitate a roll call at
the designated court time so that court can commence promptly.
- Please do not discuss any facts that you hear about the case amongst the
other prospective jurors during the time that you are waiting for the
- Please do not try to discover any of the facts of this case as all evidence
that you will need to decide this case will be presented to you in the
- It may be a good idea for you to bring some reading material
during the period of time that you will be waiting during the selection
process; however, please do not bring any legal materials or any materials
that contain information about the current trial.
- The bailiffs are there for your assistance, and should any problem arise
during this trial, please ask the bailiff for assistance with this matter.
- During the course of the trial, you may see or hear news accounts concerning
this trial. You are not to listen or attempt to obtain any information
from these new accounts.
- During the course of the jury selection and trial, you may come into contact
with some of the attorneys handling the case. They are under court
order not to carry on a conversation with you.
- Please do not start a conversation with any of the attorneys, parties or
witnesses involved in this case. This is done to eliminate any appearance of wrongdoing.