Those serving on Grand Jury are summoned for a period of three
months. The Grand Jury meets on Wednesdays during the three month
OCGA 15-12-10 states, "If any person is duly summoned to appear
as a juror at court and neglects or refuses to appear, or if any
juror absents himself or herself without leave of the court, said
neglect, refusal, or absence may, after notice and hearing, be
punished as contempt of court."
The qualifications of a Grand Juror are outlined in OCGA
15-12-60: "(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code
section, all citizens of this state 18 years of age or older who
are not incompetent because of mental illness or mental
retardation; and who have resided in the county for at least six
months preceding the time of service, shall be qualified and liable
to serve as grand jurors unless otherwise exempted by law. (b) The
following persons shall not be eligible to serve as grand jurors:
(1) Any person who holds any elective office in state or local
government or who has held any such office within a period of two
years preceding the time of service as a grand juror; and (2) Any
person who has been convicted of a felony and who has not been
pardoned or had his or her civil rights restored."
The questionnaire that is included with your summons provides
our office with the information that is necessary to determine your
eligibility. Please complete the questionnaire in its entirety and
return to our office as quickly as possible.
If you have been summoned for Grand Jury and you have
not resided in Clayton County for at least six months prior to the
date you are to report, please complete the questionnaire
which was enclosed with your summons and return it to our office.
You will not be required to appear at this time.
If you will be out of town or have a conflict for the
first date for which you are summoned, you may download
an affidavit and complete the portion that
pertains to your circumstance. Sign and date the affidavit and have
your signature notarized. Submit the original form along with
supporting documentation of your conflict to our
office. ALL requests for temporary deferment should be
received by our office at least one week prior to your scheduled
jury duty. Requests received less than a week prior to your
scheduled jury duty may not be considered. You will
receive confirmation if your request is granted.
If you will be out of town or have a conflict during the
three month term, you may explain this to the court on the
first day. In most cases, having prior engagements will not prevent
you from being selected to serve because alternates will be chosen
to serve alongside the members to fill any vacancies which occur
during the term.
If you have a medical condition which would prevent you
from serving, our office will need documentation from your
doctor. There is anaffidavit that you will need to have your
doctor complete. Please note: the doctor's signature must be
witnessed by someone in his/her office. The affidavit allows the
doctor to state their medical opinion as to whether your medical
condition is permanent or temporary. Our office will comply with
the doctor's medical opinion and either permanently defer you or
grant you a temporary deferment.
If you are 70 years of age or older and do not wish to
serve, you may request to be permanently deferred. You may
download an affidavit and complete the portion for
Over 70 Years of Age. Sign and date the affidavit and have your
signature notarized. The original form will need to be sent to our
If you have been convicted of a felony and your civil
rights have not been restored, please complete the
questionnaire which was enclosed with your summons and return it to
our office. You will not be eligible to serve as a Grand Juror at
this time. If you are unsure as to whether or not your civil rights
have been restored, you may contact the State Board of Pardons and
Paroles in the State where the crime was committed.
Length of Jury Duty
Grand Jurors will serve on W ednesdays for a three month term. W
ednesday calendars will vary from week to week meaning that Grand
Jurors could be in session for a couple of hours to a full business
Compensation For Jury Service
Grand Jurors receive an expense allowance of $25.00 each day
that you are required to report to the courthouse. You may opt to
be paid weekly, monthly, or at the end of your term. The County
Finance Department will mail a check to you according to your
preferred schedule of payment. The process of checks being mailed
is approximately two weeks from the date you serve. The County
Finance Department can be reached at (770)477-3221.
Conflict With Employer Because of Jury Duty
When a person is called for jury service, it is their
responsibility to notify their employer of the summons for jury
duty. It is at the employer's discretion as to whether the employee
receives their normal compensation during jury service or if the
employee will not be compensated while they are serving on jury.
Some employers choose to compensate their employees as if they were
working and then have the employee sign over the check they receive
for jury service. The financial arrangement made between the
employer and the employee is a private matter and one in which the
court has no influence.
Georgia Law does, however, provide protection for an employee
who has been called for jury service. OCGA 34-1-3 states, "(a) It
shall be unlawful for any employer or the agent of such employer to
discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee because
the employee is absent from his or her employment for the purpose
of attending a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena,
summons for jury duty, or other court order or process which
requires the attendance of the employee at the judicial proceeding.
It shall be unlawful for any employer or the agent of such employer
to threaten to take or communicate an intention of taking any
action declared to be unlawful by this subsection. (b) Any employer
or agent of such employer who violates subsection (a) of this Code
section shall be liable to the injured employee for all actual
damages thereby suffered by the employee and for reasonable
attorney's fees incurred by the employee in asserting a successful
claim under this Code section. ( c) This code section shall not
apply to an employee who is charged with a crime, nor shall it
prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to abide by
regulations requiring reasonable notification to an employer of the
employee's expected absence or delay in reporting to work in order
to attend a judicial proceeding."
What to Bring With You
When appearing for the first day of jury service, you will need
to bring with you a picture I.D., such as a driver's license and
your jury summons.
What to Expect
You will report to a courtroom on the first day and will need to
check in with the clerk. Once the summoned grand jurors are
assembled, the District Attorney will give an overview of the Grand
Jury and explain the important functions of a Grand Juror. The
Presiding Judge will listen to any hardships that prospective
jurors may have and will make a determination if those persons will
be excused or will be considered for selection.
Twenty-three grand jurors as well as three alternate grand
jurors will be selected. Those not chosen will be released. The
Presiding Judge will then charge (give legal instruction to) the
grand jurors and alternates. At that point, the judge will turn the
jurors over to the District Attorney's office. The District
Attorney will then take the jurors to the Grand Jury hearing room
and give an orientation and answer any questions the jurors may
have. At this time, the grand jurors will elect amongst themselves
a Foreperson, Assistant Foreperson, Secretary and a Doorkeeper. All
of these roles are vital to the smooth operation of Grand Jury
hearings. The grand jurors will then be released for the day and
given instructions to report back on W ednesday. The first day of
Grand Jury normally lasts just a few hours.
The grand jurors will report to the Grand Jury hearing room on
Wednesdays at the time given. It is important to be on time as no
one is allowed entry in the hearing room during a hearing. There is
a bailiff stationed outside the door and cannot permit any
disruptions. The District Attorney's office will prepare a calendar
each week of the criminal cases to be heard.
The District Attorney represents the State of Georgia in all
cases. The District Attorney's office will present each case one by
one and may provide testimony from witnesses. Neither the defense
nor their witnesses will appear. Once the case has been presented,
the grand jurors will discuss the evidence presented and will vote
as to whether the case will receive a "True Bill" (meaning that the
evidence seems sufficient to proceed with the prosecution of the
case) or a "No Bill" (meaning that the evidence seems insufficient
to proceed with the prosecution of the case).
Each Wednesday, those grand jurors who are present will need to
sign in on the sheet provided by the Clerk's office. This sign-in
sheet is used for payment purposes. The sign-in sheet will need to
be signed by at least two officers (Foreperson, Assistant
Foreperson, Secretary or Doorkeeper) and must be turned in to the
Jury Division in the Superior Court Clerk's office (Room 1JA01)
located on the 1 floor. The st completed sign-in sheet MUST be
submitted to the Jury Division each Wednesday in order for grand
jurors to be paid in a timely manner.
In addition to hearing criminal cases, each term of grand jurors
is assigned specific county departments to examine. This may be
done by the grand jury as a whole or by a committee comprised of a
few grand jurors. The Grand Jury functions independently from any
county department; however, the District Attorney and staff are
able to provide some guidance if requested.
At the end of the grand jurors' term, they will prepare
Presentments. Within this report, the grand jurors will give an
account of their findings of the county departments of which they
were to study. The presentments may include recommendations,
concerns or comments the grand jurors wish to convey. The
presentments are signed by the Presiding Judge and a copy is
forwarded to all commissioners, judges as well as any department
mentioned in the Presentments. Each term of grand jurors is
supplied with copies of the previous four Presentments.
Once their term is completed, grand jurors can expect to have a
much better understanding of the criminal judicial process as well
as the functions of some of the county departments.