13th Judicial Circuit, Mobile County, Alabama HomepageJudgesJuror InformationCourt InformationFormsMobile County Clerk of CourtLinks

Why A Trial By Jury?Empanelment & ServiceCourt AdministrationGovernment Plaza

Empanelment and Service

If you have been summoned for jury service, you should report to the 8th floor of the Government Plaza Jury assembly room.
Court Administration
205 Government Street, Room 858
Mobile, AL 36644.
Get directions by Mapquest.

On the first day of jury service, after changes of address and occupation are posted to the records, a judge will conduct the empanelling process.  The empanelling judge will inquire into the qualifications of all prospective jurors and administer the oath of office.  Jurors will then be placed in panels of fifteen and assigned a row and seat in Jury Assembly.

Qualification and Selection of Jurors

Our jury list consists of names randomly selected from the drivers’ license list of licensed motor vehicle operators kept by the Department of Public Safety in Montgomery.  Until a few years ago, many persons, due to their age or profession, were exempt from jury service.  The legislature of Alabama abolished these exemptions.  Now no person is exempt by reason of old age or profession.
In general, a juror must have the following qualifications:

  1. Be 19 years of age or older.
  2. Be a citizen of the United States.
  3. Be a resident of Mobile County for more than 12 months.
  4. Read, speak, understand and follow instructions given in the English language.
  5. Be physically and mentally able to perform satisfactory jury service.
  6. Have not lost the right to vote by conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude.

A person who is qualified for jury service may be excused by making a showing to the Court of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience or public necessity.  At the end of the initial qualification session, the judge will ask those persons seeking to be excused to make such a showing.  A person so excused will probably be rescheduled for jury service at a later time.

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Term of Service

Jurors are summoned for service in the Circuit Court of Mobile County for a one-week term.  Generally, no cases are scheduled to begin on Friday.  Your jury service will end after Thursday unless you are serving as a juror on a case that will continue on Friday.  Some cases, however, may last more than one week.  These are rare instances that, nevertheless, do occur.

Parking

Parking in the downtown area is very limited.  The Civic Center parking lot has parking for jurors for $2 per day.  The lot is located off Claiborne Street near Civic Center Drive.  There are other lots near the Government Plaza and the day-rates vary.  PARKING ON THE STREET IS NOT ADVISED AND IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.  You may not leave jury service to put coins in the parking meter.  The court does not have the authority to pay for parking and cannot arrange to have parking tickets canceled.

Attire

While formal dress is not required, court proceedings are quite formal in nature.  Since jurors are often referred to as officers of the court, you are requested to dress appropriately.

Juror Badges

After being empanelled on your first day of service you will be given a juror badge to wear.  You are asked to wear this badge at all times during the week you serve.  This will identify you as a juror to security, and possibly will prevent you from overhearing conversations pertaining to your case.  These are paper badges and you may obtain a new one as needed.

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Daily Routine

Generally each morning you will report to your assigned seat in Jury Assembly for proper recording of your attendance and to await further instructions.  As jurors are needed, panels will be assigned to courtrooms throughout the day.  A court attendant will escort you and you must go immediately and directly to the assigned courtroom.  All instructions given by the judges and their staffs must be strictly followed until you are returned to Jury Assembly.  Each judge will advise when breaks and recesses will occur in that courtroom.  When you report back to Jury Assembly, and until you are assigned to another judge, you will be kept informed by Court Administration when you may take a break and when you must return.

Work Verification

Many employers require proof that you were summoned to report as a juror.  Part 1 of the jury summons form will serve as your verification.  If you are empanelled to serve for the week, you will receive a certificate of service form the court at the end of your service indicating the dates that you served and the amount of fees you were paid.  If you are a Federal employee and you must have daily certification, please advise the administrative staff on the first day.  You are responsible for the daily notation of the time you arrive and leave and Court Administration must certify this daily.

Payment for Jury Service

State law sets jury fees.  For each day you serve you will be paid the regular jury fee of $10 plus travel expense of 5 cents per round-trip mile from your residence to the courthouse.  An Alabama employer is legally responsible for paying a full time employee’s regular wages while in service as a juror.  Section 12-16-8 Code of Alabama.

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Courtroom Conduct

If you are called by name or panel number to be a member of a jury trial panel, you and other members of the panel or panels will be assigned to a courtroom.  Once inside the courtroom, you should follow instructions given to you by the court attendant or by the judge.  When a trial jury is selected and you are not a member of that jury and/or released, you will be expected to return to Jury Assembly unless otherwise instructed.  If you have been selected to sit on a trial jury, generally, you will be permitted to return home at the close of the day’s court session.  If you are unable to stay late due to your reliance on public transportation or a car pool, please notify the judge during the selection process.  If an emergency arises while you are sitting as a juror, consult the judge about your problem.  Should you need to get in touch with your family, the court attendant will be happy to assist you.

Waiting Serves a Purpose

There are occasions when prospective jurors will have to wait, seemingly without a purpose.  Even while waiting, jurors being ready and available are actively serving a purpose.  For example, sometimes parties to a lawsuit will continue to negotiate and settle the matter after a jury panel has been assembled or after a trial jury has been selected.  Sometimes cases are settled during the course of the trial because the parties and their attorneys feel that you as jurors might decide their dispute less to their advantage.  On occasion the judge may need to talk to the attorneys or hear arguments on points of law out of the hearing of the jury.  Often the reason for this delay may not be explained to you.  Please remember that this time is spent discussing and simplifying legal issues.  Cases may even be settled during or because of these conferences.

The Course of a Trial

  1. Selection of a Jury
    1. Voir Dire examination
    2. Challenges for cause
    3. Preemptory challenges (striking of the jury)
    4. Seating of the jury and administration of juror oath
  2. Opening Statements:
    Brief outlines by the attorneys to inform the jury what the case is about and what they expect the evidence will be when presented.
  3. Presentation of Evidence
  4. Closing Arguments:
    Summation by the lawyers as to the evidence presented and the reasonable inferences that could be drawn from the evidence.
  5. Judge’s Instruction as to the Law
  6. Deliberations by Jury
    1. Selection of foreperson
    2. Weighing of evidence
  7. The Verdict

The jury’s verdict in both civil and criminal cases must be unanimous.  It must be the independent verdict of each and every juror.

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