How was I chosen for jury duty?
Every two years, a three person Jury Commission supervises the compilation of a master jury list of county residents who are registered voters, licensed drivers, or both. Persons selected for jury duty are selected at random from the master list.
Do I have to respond to the jury summons?
Yes. Jury service is the solemn obligation of all qualified citizens. Failure to comply with this Summons is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
Who is eligible to serve as a juror in North Carolina courts?
To be eligible to serve as a juror you must meet the following qualifications: 1) You must be a citizen and resident of Buncombe County, North Carolina; 2) You must be 18 year of age or older; 3) You must be physically and mentally competent; 4) You must be able to hear and understand the English language; 5)You must not have been convicted of a felony or pled no contest to a felony unless you have had your citizenship restored pursuant be law; 6) you must not have been adjudged incompetent; and 7) You must not have served on a jury within the last 2 years.
What if I can’t serve on the date I have been told to report to the courthouse?
Excuses from jury service will be granted only for reasons of compelling personal hardship or because requiring service would be contrary to public welfare, health, or safety. Applications for excuse from jury service must be made by submitting a written request to the Chief District Court Judge no later than 10 days before the first day of service.
Any person summoned as a juror who is age 72 or older may establish exemption from jury duty without appearing in person by providing the ground or reason for there exemption, and forwarding to the Chief District Court Judge at least 5 working days before the date summoned to appear. G.S.9-6.1
An application to be excused or deferred from jury service is printed on the back of your Summons. This may be mailed with supporting documentation to:
Honorable J. Calvin Hill
Chief District Court Judge
60 Court Plaza
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
When and where do I report / park?
Jurors should report to the 2nd floor of the Buncombe County Judicial Complex, as instructed on your summons. If you have instructions to call ahead attached to your summons, please follow the instructions on the automated system.
Free parking is available at the County parking deck on College Street, directly across from the Buncombe County Courthouse and beside the Carolina First Bank.
Will the State pay me for jury duty?
North Carolina law provides for the compensation of citizens who are called for jury service at the rate of $12 for day one of service. You will be paid $20 for each day of service, day 2-5. If you are seated on a trial and serve for more than 5 days, you will be paid $30 for every day after those first 5 days. The Clerk of Superior Court will mail you a check for the appropriate amount.
Can my employer fire me if I serve as a juror?
North Carolina law prohibits employers from firing or demoting an employee because they serve as a juror. However, the law does not require that the employee be paid in full while serving.
Should I bring anything with me to the Courthouse?
Bring a book, needlework, crossword puzzles, or other materials to occupy your time. While efforts will be made by the Court to reduce delays in trial starts and to avoid long waiting periods for you, some waiting time should be anticipated while jurors are chosen to sit on a jury.
What should I wear?
You should dress comfortably, but not too casually. Dress for Court as if you were going to work or to church. Many judges do not allow anyone to come to court wearing halter or tank tops, cut-off jeans, shorts, or shirts with offensive wording. Remember you will be acting as part of the Court while serving as jurors, so dress appropriately. Also, you might want to wear layered clothing since courtroom temperatures may vary considerably, requiring the removal or addition of a sweater or jacket.
How long will I have to serve?
If you are seated for a trial, you must serve until the trial ends, which may be two days to several weeks. Most jurors, however, only serve for one or two days.
If there is an emergency at home, how will my family contact me?
In an emergency, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Superior Court’s office, at 828-259-6407. The court staff will make certain that you get the message.
Will I be locked up in a hotel during the trial?
It is extremely rare for a jury to be "sequestered" or kept in a hotel during a trial. You should expect that you will be allowed to go home at the end of each court day.
How will I know what to do as a juror?
When you report to the Courthouse, you will be shown an orientation video that explains what to expect as a juror. You will also be given additional information from the court staff. Then all jurors present will take an oath as jurors and be given a red juror badge to wear until they are released from jury duty by the judge. Once a trial begins, the judge will instruct you on your duties as a juror.
Why are some jurors dismissed and not allowed to sit for a trial?
When your name is randomly drawn to take a numbered seat in the jury box at the start of a trial, the attorneys will ask you questions about yourself. If your answers to questions lead the attorneys or the judge to feel that you could not be objective in considering the evidence in this trial, you will be dismissed with the Court's thanks.