What Is Petit Jury Service?


Quick Answer

Petit jury service is time spent by eligible citizens determining whether a defendant in a criminal case is guilty as charged or a plaintiff in a civil action wins the case, explains the New Jersey Judiciary. Petit juries consist of six to 12 jurors depending on the type of case and the court system in which the case is heard.

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Full Answer

Eligible citizens are summoned to appear in court by mail, typically about five weeks before the appearance date, to serve on a petit jury, also called a jury trial. Judges with trials scheduled pick from the pool of potential jurors who have reported on that day and subject them to voir dire, a series of questions that determines whether a potential juror is an appropriate person to sit in judgement on a case, according to the New Jersey Judiciary.

People who make it through voir dire are placed on the jury for a criminal or civil case. These jurors cannot be excused from the case without permission from the judge. Anyone who does not make it through voir dire gets sent back into the pool and can be called for voir dire on another case until dismissal at the end of the day. Petit jury service typically lasts a week, unless the court excuses the person from service for a valid reason, notes the New Jersey Judiciary.

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