Welcome to the Effingham County Jury Department.
This Department is responsible for all matters related to jury service. This includes Summons / Questionnaires / Dismissal and Deferral requests for Grand Jury, Petit Jury and Quick Notice Jurors.
We will do our best to accommodate the citizens of Effingham County in fulfilling the duty to serve as impartial and responsible jurors.
If you have been summoned for Jury Duty and were instructed to call our recorded message Line, that number is (217) 540-8610 or toll free at 800-211-6166.
Petit Jury = A petit, or trial jury is generally 12 people sworn to try a criminal or civil case, hearing evidence and rendering a verdict. In some cases additional jurors can be chosen as alternates. Some types of cases may use a jury of six (6) people.
Grand Jury = A grand jury, so named because it is comprised of a greater number of people (16) than a petite jury, is sworn to hear evidence presented by the prosecution and determines if probable cause exists that a crime has been committed.
Quick Notice Juror = Is someone who is on-call for Petit jury service if needed.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding Jury Duty in Effingham County
- What time should I arrive for jury duty?
You should arrive promptly at the time indicated on the recorded phone message. If you are not sure what time to arrive, please call the Circuit Clerks Office @ ((217) 342-4065
- What should I wear for Jury duty?
Jurors should dress comfortably, but appropriately for court. Shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops and halters are NOT permitted. If you report wearing any of these items, you will be asked to return home, at your own expense, to change into more suitable attire.
- Can I bring my Cell Phone?
Not to the Courtroom. The courthouse ban on cellphones and electronic devices was enacted to protect the privacy and safety of persons attending court and to maintain court decorum. In an effort to protect the rights of others in the courthouse we do not allow cellphones and electronic devices in the courtrooms. You may bring such devices with you when you report for jury service and use them while you are outside the building only. Please leave them in your car when you arrive for Duty. Note: The security personnel at the Government Center entrance have a very limited amount of cellphone storage lockers available for those who arrive without personal vehicles.
- Will I be paid for Jury Duty, and if so, how much?
Yes, you are paid for jury duty. You will receive $15.00 for each day of service.
Note: upon completion of your service, you will receive a check from the County Clerk’s office.
These checks are usually sent out on the last day of the month.
- Must my employer pay me while I’m on Jury Duty?
No. An employer is NOT required by law to pay employees who are on jury service but many employers do. You should check with your company's human resources department before serving to see if your company pays your salary for days you are a juror. If you DO receive your salary while on jury service, you should ask what your employer requires as proof that you served as a juror.
- Can my employer fire me for being on Jury Duty?
No. According to Illinois law, "…An employer may not deny an employee time off for jury duty. No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of the employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service…" 705-ILCS 305/4.1(a).
If you are fired or experience workplace problems based on your participation in jury service, write a letter detailing what occurred to:
Effingham County Circuit Clerk
PO Box 586
120 W Jefferson, Suite 101
Effingham County Government Center
Effingham, IL 62401
- Once I’ve served on Jury Duty am I qualified to serve again?
After completing jury service, you should NOT be called to serve again for the remainder of the year. If you are summoned again within this time period, please call the Office (217) 342-4065 to explain. The law does not state that you cannot be asked to serve again, the once a year policy is a courtesy which the Effingham County Court System put in place for you. You may be asked to show proof of jury service, so please retain your check receipts for your records.
- What happens if I don’t show up for Jury Duty?
Failure to appear for jury service when summoned is a serious matter. You may be held in contempt of court which could result in a fine or other court imposed penalty. It is in your best interest to appear if you are summoned to avoid any further action.
- How are jurors selected for Duty?
Every year the Circuit Clerks Office of Effingham County receives a Pooled Jury List from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) The list is compiled from voter registration, Illinois drivers license and I.D., Disability I. D. Card holders and, Unemployment Insurance Claimants. Names are randomly selected from the list to receive jury summonses
- What are the qualifications to be a Juror?
To be qualified as a juror you must be: at least 18 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen and, a resident of Effingham County
If you do not meet ALL of these qualifications, please contact the Circuit Clerks Office before the date you are supposed to serve. Please be prepared to support your belief that you are not qualified to serve
- Can I change my jury service report date?
Your service date can be deferred depending on the circumstances. The judge who reviews juror requests will decide on this. If you have a reason you would like to submit for deferral, please send as soon as possible a letter to the Circuit Clerks Office stating the reason, and we will try to accommodate you.
- Can I be excused from Jury Duty?
You can be excused from Jury service depending on the circumstances. Note: Only a Judge can excuse someone from jury duty. The judge who reviews juror requests will make the final decision. If you have a reason you would like to submit for excusal, please send as soon as possible a letter to the Circuit Clerks Office stating the reason, and any supporting documents such as a doctors excuse or vacation itinerary etc… , and we will try to accommodate you.
- Why is Jury Duty important?
The United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution guarantee all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or economic status the right to trial by an impartial jury of one's peers. In order to uphold this guarantee, we need those summoned to participate in the jury process to ensure every citizen's right to have their case decided by an impartial jury selected from a representative pool of prospective jurors.
- Who is entitled to a trial by Jury?
Any person charged with a criminal offense (this may include certain Traffic Violation cases) or any party in a civil case has the right to a trial by jury. All parties are equal before the law and each is given the same fair and impartial treatment.
- What are my duties as a Juror?
Your duty as a juror is to weigh all of the evidence and testimony presented to you and to decide the outcome of the case based upon the law and the evidence. Your decision must be fair, impartial and free of any bias or prejudice. Jury service is the basis of our judicial system and is essential to the administration of justice.
- How are jurors selected at trial?
Once in the Courtroom, the judge will have the clerk randomly select a group called a panel. The panel will then begin a process known as voir dire. During voir dire, the judge and possibly the attorneys will ask questions to see if you can keep an open mind and be fair. After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused for that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge as to what is expected of you. If you are not selected, you will follow the instructions of the judge and will be told of you future jury requirements.
- How long does jury service usually last if I’m selected?
If you are selected to sit on a jury, you could expect to be here for the full day, although trials may be longer or shorter depending upon the facts of the case.
- What are the different types of cases I might be selected for?
There are two basic types of cases; criminal (includes some Traffic Violations) and civil. The difference between the two is as follows:
In a CRIMINAL case, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a CIVIL case, the jury decides whether or not monetary damages should be awarded, and if given, how much those damages will be.