Do's and Don'ts of Jury Service

Here are some simple Do's and Don'ts to remember as you are preparing for jury duty:

Before arriving:

  • DO remember to call 301-309-9351 after 5:00pm the day prior to your service to check your reporting call-in number.
  • DO plan to stay in the courthouse without any other obligations for the entire day.
  • DO plan for continued service beyond the first day in case you are selected to serve on a jury trial.
  • DO dress appropriately for the seriousness of the proceedings. Acceptable clothing includes:
    • Clothing that is neat, clean, comfortable and not revealing.
    • Clothing worn for an office job or for a job interview.
    • Slacks and a shirt with a collar for men.
    • Dress, skirt, or slacks and a blouse for women.
  • DO NOT bring children. You are required to make child care arrangements in advance.
  • DO not wear:
    • Uniforms (e.g., law enforcement, military, medical, work, etc., except when worn for religious reasons)
    • Employer badges or work name tags
    • T-shirts with logos, graphic T-shirts (T-shirts with words or pictures), or undershirts worn as the top layer of clothing
    • Beach or athletic wear
    • Abbreviated clothing (for example, shorts, cut-offs, muscle shirts, halter or tank tops, bare midriffs, exposed undergarments, etc.)
    • See-through clothing
    • Hats, except for religious purposes

    Dressing in clothing that is not acceptable or that causes disruption to court proceedings may result in an extension of your service term or a sanction.

    You may spend time in a jury deliberation room, so please do not wear strong fragrances.

    The courthouse may be chilly – bring a sweater or jacket.

During trial:

  • Jurors are allowed to bring their electronic devices to the courtroom, but are not allowed to use them in the courtroom.
  • DO arrive on time and return promptly after breaks and lunch. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are present.
  • DO pay close attention and take notes during the trial. The Court will provide notepads and pencils to jurors for notes. If you cannot hear what is being said, raise your hand and let the judge know.
  • DO keep an open mind all through the trial. Sympathy or prejudice should not be an influencing factor.
  • DO listen carefully to the instructions read by the judge. Remember, it is your duty to accept what the judge says about the law. It is your responsibility to decide the facts and apply the law to those facts.
  • DON'T try to guess what the judge thinks about the case. Remember that decisions made by the judge during a trial do not reflect the judge's personal views.
  • DON'T talk about the case or issues raised by the case with anyone – including other jurors – while the trial is going on, and DON'T let others talk about the case in your presence, even family members. If someone insists on talking to you or another juror about the case, please report the matter to a member of the court staff. These rules are designed to help you keep an open mind during the trial.
  • DON'T talk to the lawyers, parties, or witnesses about anything while the trial is going on.
  • DON'T try to uncover evidence on your own. Never, for example, go to the scene of an event that was part of the case you are hearing. You must decide the case only on the evidence admitted in court.
  • DON'T let yourself get information about the case from the news media or any other outside source. Even if news reports are accurate and complete, they cannot substitute for your own impressions about the case. If you accidentally hear outside information about the case during trial, tell a member of the court staff in private.

During deliberation:

  • DO work out differences among you and other jurors through complete and fair discussions of the evidence and of the judge's instructions.
  • DON'T lose your temper, try to bully, or refuse to listen to the opinions of other jurors.
  • DON'T mark or write on exhibits or otherwise change or damage them.
  • DON'T try to guess what might happen if the case you have heard is appealed. Appellate courts deal only with legal questions – they will not change your verdict if you decided the facts based on proper evidence and instructions.
  • DON'T draw straws, flip coins, or otherwise arrive at your verdict by chance, or the decision will be illegal. It is also improper for a jury to determine monetary awards by averaging the amounts calculated by each individual juror.
  • DON'T talk to anyone about your deliberations, or about the verdict, until the judge discharges the jury. After discharge, you may discuss the verdict and the deliberations with anyone, including the media, the lawyers, or your family. But DON'T feel obligated to do so – no juror can be forced to talk without a court order.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Social Media Policy for Jurors

The Montgomery County Circuit’s Court’s Policy on Social Media for Jurors is taken from recommendations provided by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC):

Fairness to the parties in all cases requires that jurors follow these rules:

  • DO follow instructions by the judge or other court personnel.
  • DO immediately report unauthorized use of the Internet or social media to the judge or authorized court personnel.
  • DON'T research the case online in any way, including searching for information about the attorneys or judge.
  • DON'T communicate anything about the case via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other online messaging service.

By following these simple rules, jurors can help ensure that all parties receive a fair trial.

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