Being a juror is a lot of work. You have to be committed, you have to pay attention, and you have to follow the rules and regulations imposed by the court. On the other hand, there are also some benefits that you gain from being a jury member. One of those benefits is jury duty.
Jury Duty pays you. If you’re an employee in the New York State Department of Labor, you have the right to jury duty. If you’re an employee in the New York State Department of Education, you have the right to jury duty. If you’re a student in New York City private schools, you have the right to jury duty. You can refuse to take jury duty if you wish, but your salary will drop from your full-time or part-time rate to the equivalent of your regular pay rate.
Another benefit of jury duty is that it prevents employers from having to provide their employees with something that they don’t want. For example, if an employer wants an employee to take a drug test, that employee may refuse. If the employer doesn’t allow refusal to drugs, then the employee won’t be able to sue the employer for forcing them to take the drug test. However, if the employer requires employees to take a drug test, and then implements a policy requiring employees who refuse to take the test to be terminated, then that policy constitutes employment discrimination and may constitute illegal actions under federal and New York state labor laws.
A third benefit of jury duty is that it helps you build relationships with other potential jurors. If you’re required to serve on a jury, you’ll generally make new friends. In some cases, the trial judge may assign you to a specific party, either because he believes that you’re an important witness or that you’re a valuable expert in some way. You’ll develop bonds with fellow jurors, develop trust in the legal system and build relationships that could benefit you later on. Those relationships could help you secure a position at the law firm where you’re currently employed.
You may also be asked to fill an empty seat. In some major legal cases, attorneys choose to eliminate some potential jurors from the case simply to reduce the expense of the trial. Sometimes, attorneys simply ask potential jurors to voluntarily drop out of the case. In those instances, you might not be asked to fill an empty seat. However, there are times when the request for volunteers will come through, and you’ll need to know how to fill the seat, particularly if you’re not a legal professional.
Once you’re registered as a juror, you’ll need to attend a short jury selection process. Many attorneys make this part of their sales pitch to potential jurors. If you think you have what it takes to be a good juror, the attorney will probably want to meet you. You won’t know who will ultimately replace you on a jury until the actual date of the trial. Some attorneys prefer that their potential jurors sign a form consenting to a trial before they will present the case to the jury. Others prefer that you submit three written articles explaining why you are a suitable candidate for the jury.
After you have been chosen as a juror, your trial date will be determined. In many instances, the trial date will be set by the court reporter. However, in some cases, the court will decide the date on its own. If you find out that you must pay additional costs before you can vote, don’t hesitate to request that your trial date is changed. The clerk will often honor requests for a new date if there is a question of legal jurisdiction.
Once you have been selected for a jury, you will be sworn in and asked to testify at the start of the trial. You will need to be prepared to discuss the testimony you are going to give, and you may be asked some questions pertaining to your background. You may also be asked if you have any relationship with the attorneys handling your case. If you don’t feel comfortable answering these questions, or if the attorneys try to get you to talk too much, you may want to consider the help of an experienced New York criminal defense attorney.