Following America's struggle for independence, the founding fathers realized the need to guard the citizens of our new nation against the abuses of power by the government. Accordingly, a system of checks and balances was introduced to prevent any arbitrary acts by any of the branches of government. Thus, trial by jury was guaranteed so that all final decisions on disputes involving liberty or property rested with the citizens rather than with a government official.
The service you will be performing as jurors in this Court is the cornerstone of our judicial system. It is a vital duty of every citizen, and absolute essential to our form of democratic society. Without it, our system of justice could be ruled by oppression or engulfed in anarchy. Fulfilling your obligation as a juror insures your fellow citizens of a fair decision regarding their property rights, or their life and liberty.
The process of selecting jurors began many months ago when a computer randomly chose your name from the list/s used by the Court to comprise the master list of jurors. Some people were exempted by law from this duty and others were excused because of serious illness.
For many of you, serving as a juror is an inconvenience and a sacrifice. However, the success of the jury system depends upon your willingness to serve. Your contribution is important not only to the community but also to you personally, since our form of society is only as strong as its system of justice. Your participation as a juror will leave you with firsthand knowledge of the judicial branch of government. You will find most trials extremely interesting and will feel gratified to have taken part in a real-life drama of great significance to your fellow man. You should take pride in helping to preserve and strengthen our system of justice.
If you are selected to serve as a trial juror, your jury service will be for the length of that trial. Jurors usually are not required to remain overnight.
When serving on a jury, you must follow the rules of conduct, which are significant to your continued impartiality, You must not talk with anyone about the case. This includes your family, your friends, and your fellow jurors. Only when you are sent to the jury room to deliberate can you discuss the case. To protect jurors from someone speaking unintentionally to you, you should refuse to listen, walk away and inform the court officers immediately. In addition, you must avoid listening to radio or television reports or reading newspaper articles about the case.
Also, you must not make an independent investigation or visit any of the places involved in the case. If it is proper or necessary to inspect a scene involved in the case, the Judge will order the jurors, as a group, to visit the scene. Remember, you can only consider evidence presented in court, and must not form an opinion until all evidence has been presented.
You must listen attentively. Since your verdict is based on the evidence given in court, you should hear every question and every answer. Remember, you are the sole finders of the facts--the judges of the truthfulness and accuracy of the testimony and evidence.
Your name has been drawn for service as a juror from the Blair County Voter Registration and the Driver Licensing Lists. The Court realizes jury service may impose a hardship on some citizens. However, the right to trial by jury is one of the fundamental principles guaranteed by the Constitution. It is the duty of every citizen to serve when summoned.
Read the JURY SUMMONS CAREFULLY. The DATE and TIME for reporting are printed on this summons. The Courthouse is accessible for special accommodations: Call 814-693-3050 at least 72 hours prior to appearance.
Juror compensation is set by Pennsylvania Law at $9 per day for the first three days and $25 per day thereafter, plus $.17 per mile from your home to the Courthouse and return for each day of service. You will be required to furnish accurate mileage from your home to the Courthouse on the pay voucher which is submitted to the Blair County Paymaster for payment upon completion of jury service on the first day. If you are selected on a jury panel, the additional days will be paid by check.
Kindly report to the 2nd FLOOR, NEW COURTHOUSE WING, 423 Allegheny Street, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Kindly park in the designated area at the Duncansville Antique Depot, behind the Duncansville First Commonwealth Bank, 1401 Second avenue, Duncansville. The entrance is opposite the Ace Hardware. A van will shuttle you to and from the Courthouse, beginning one hour before your reporting time.
Business-like dress is required. (Shorts and tank tops are excluded)
You will normally be excused for lunch. You may use the Employees' Lunch Room Vending Machines, or go to a Hollidaysburg restaurant of your choice. You will receive a brochure with listings of local restaurants. A meal is provided by the County ONLY when a jury is deliberating.
It is contemplated that ALL jury selections will be accomplished in one day. Jury trials are of varying length. A typical Blair County juror serves an average of 2 days on a trial.
Please know your schedule for several months following the date you are scheduled to report.
You MUST report for jury duty on your report date, UNLESS YOU RECEIVE IN THE MAIL FROM THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR a notice stating that you are excused or rescheduled.
A request for Emergency Excusal/Rescheduling must be "in writing" and addressed to Jury Coordinator, Vicki Pike, Blair County Courthouse, 423 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 The written request can be mailed along with the completed questionnaire.
Verify your reporting Date, Time, and Place by calling-in after 4:30 p.m. on the day before or during the weekend before your reporting date. The recorded message is available until 8:00 a.m. of your reporting day. All jurors please dial 693-3000 (follow the prompts in the message and proceed as indicated)
Any person duly summoned as a juror who fails to attend as directed, without sufficient excuse, may be held in contempt of court and may be fined in an amount not exceeding $500 or imprisoned for a term of no more than 10 days or both.
Please refer to the instructions you are given by the court for OFFICIAL WORD on Courthouse closings or special announcements (TV/RADIO) during inclement weather
Call (814) 693-3058; Fax (814) 693-3289; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org