Court cases often settle between the time the summonses are mailed and jurors are scheduled to report. Therefore, you should check your status online or call the Jury Message line in LaBelle (863) 612-4747 or Clewiston (863) 902-3343 after 6:00pm on the day before you are to report, even if this day is a Sunday or holiday, to be informed as to whether or not your service will be required.

Jury Duty Commonly Asked Questions
How can I be excused/deferred from Jury Duty?
All requests for excusal/deferral must be submitted in writing, by email to [email protected] , or by calling (863)675-5214. An excusal/deferral is granted unless otherwise notified. You will be contacted only if there is a question regarding your request or if your request is denied.
What are the qualifications to be a Juror?
You must be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age, a resident of the State of Florida for one year and Hendry County for six months, and possess a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you do not possess a Florida driver’s license or ID card, contact the Clerk’s Jury Management Office at 863-675-5214
How are Jurors summoned?
Names are randomly selected from the list of names supplied by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
What are the possible reasons for deferral, exemption and disqualifications from Jury Duty?
You may be deferred for the following reasons:
You have a doctor’s appointment. (Doctor’s note required)
You will be on vacation. (May require proof)
You have a medical condition. (Doctor’s note required)
You are out of town.
You are sick.
You do not have child care.
You are a college student.
You are a care giver.

You may be excused for the following reasons:
You have served Jury Duty in Hendry County within the past 12 months.
You are an expectant mother or a parent who is not employed full-time and have custody of a child under six years of age.
You care for a person who, because of mental illness, mental retardation, senility, or physical or mental incapacity, are incapable of caring for themselves. (Not pertaining to occupation/employment)
You are a high school student.
Does not meet the court’s Phase 2 or Phase 3 screening requirements for courthouse entry as established in the circuit’s operational plan.
You are a person at a higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 infection as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You must care for a child or relative whose regular care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
You are receiving leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

You may be postponed for the following reasons:
Has recently returned to work after being unemployed due to COVID-19
Has suffered a financial or personal loss due to COVID-19 that makes it a hardship to perform jury service.*
*Postponements are subject to the six-month statutory maximum specified in section 40.23(2), Florida Statutes.
If granting a postponement based on one or both of these reasons would exceed the statutory maximum because of a previous postponement granted to a potential juror, the chief judge or the presiding judge is encouraged to consider whether to grant an excusal based on either reason.

You may be disqualified for the following reasons:
You are currently under prosecution for any crime. (may require proof)
You are a convicted felon and have not had your civil rights restored.
You serve as an elected Official in the Federal, State or Local Government.
You do not reside within Hendry County. (May require proof)
You are a Police Officer or Sheriff’s Deputy.
You are over 70 years old and you wish to be removed from juror list.
You are physically or mentally unable to serve. (Doctor’s note required)
You are not a U.S. citizen.
Will I get paid for Jury Duty?
Jurors who are regularly employed and receive regular wages during jury duty are not entitled to compensation for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not receive regular wages during jury duty are entitled to $15.00 per day for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who serve more than three days will be paid by the State for the fourth and subsequent days of service at the rate of $30.00 per day.
Are Jurors examined?
When jurors are called to a panel for a particular case, the judge and the attorneys will ask questions regarding jurors’ backgrounds. This process is called “voir dire,” which means “to speak the truth.” These questions are not meant to embarrass. Instead, they are designed to ensure that members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences that might prevent them from making an impartial decision. Excusals from jury service should not be taken personally. When jurors are excused, it means only that there are proper and lawful reasons for the excusals.
How long must I serve on Jury Duty?
You will be on call for one day appearance unless impaneled on a trial that is not completed in one day, or unless the Court rules otherwise.
What are Petit and Grand Juries?
A petit jury will hear and decide civil and criminal cases. Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, governments, government agencies, or other organizations. Usually, the party who brings the suit is seeking money damages for an alleged wrong that has been done. The party who brings the suit is called the plaintiff, and the one being sued is called the defendant. Civil trials can involve small claims, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases. Criminal cases are brought by the state against persons accused of committing a crime. In these cases, the state is the plaintiff, and the accused person is the defendant. Criminal trials can involve traffic, misdemeanor, felony, and capital (death penalty) cases. A grand jury has broad powers to investigate a wide range of criminal offenses and to examine the performance of public officials and public institutions. Its deliberations are conducted in secret, in conjunction with the State Attorney or a designated assistant state attorney.
Where does the Jury park?
There are two parking areas, one is located south of the Judicial Center and can be accessed from either Main St or Bridge St. , the other parking area is across from east side of Judicial Center on Bridge St, north of the Sheriff’s office.
Can I call to find out if I have to serve for Jury Duty?
Court cases often settle between the time summonses are mailed and jurors are scheduled to report. The Clerk’s office has a recorded telephone message that provides jurors with information about jury service. Please call LaBelle (863)612-4747 or Clewiston (863)902-3343 weekdays after 5pm or on weekends to receive this message. Due to the fact that most court weeks begin on Monday, the recorded message is activated from 5:00 P.M. on the Friday before the scheduled report date and continues through the weekend. IF YOU RECEIVE NO MESSAGE OR IF THE TELEPHONE RECORDING IS NOT IN OPERATION, PLEASE REPORT FOR JURY DUTY AS DIRECTED BY YOUR PRINTED SUMMONS.
Americans with Disabilities Act Notice
In accordance with the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, persons with a disability needing a special accommodation to participate in this proceeding, contact the Court Operations Manager not later than seven days prior to the proceeding at (863) 675-5374.
Important Things to Remember During the Trial
Jurors should observe the following general rules of conduct:
Be on time for court. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are present. Sit in the same seat in the jury box. This allows the clerk, judge, and lawyers to identify you more easily. Listen carefully. It is important that you hear every question asked and every answer given since your verdict will be based on the evidence given. If you do not understand any portion of the trial, you should ask the judge to explain. Do not talk about the case. You should not talk with anyone about the case. This includes the clerk, lawyers, judge, bailiff, and other jurors, unless you have retired to the jury room for deliberations. If anyone tries to talk to you about the case or attempts to influence you as a juror, you should report it to the Judge immediately.

A Message from Judge Sloan Regarding Jury Duty

Jury service is one of the most important responsibilities that a citizen can perform for their
community. The very backbone of our justice system is the ability for parties on opposite sides of a legal dispute to have the issues tried by a jury of their fellow citizens, their peers. It is recognized that jury service is not a particularly pleasant task. It interrupts our schedules, causes us to miss work, makes us have to reschedule our plans, and is a difficult endeavor. However, jury service is essential for the orderly functioning of our justice system.

Unfortunately, many of our Hendry County residents are shirking this essential and important service to our community. The courts, once again, are facing the problem of too many individuals ignoring their jury summons and choosing not to attend court to fulfill their civic duty. The inability to seat a jury due to lack of jurors “reporting for duty” is becoming more prevalent and causes a backlog in the court system

Once again, as happened several years ago, the courts are being forced to take action to ensure that citizens honor their mandated summons to appear as a juror. Commencing in April 2023 any juror not appearing for jury duty without a predetermined excusal by the clerk or the court, or absent some other exigent circumstances, will face a fine of $100 pursuant to current Florida law. In addition to the fine any person missing jury duty without being excused will be ordered to appear during a following jury trial cycle to fulfill their jury obligation. It is regrettable that the courts have been forced to once again activate this policy and there is a sincere hope that it can be discontinued in the near future.

James D. Sloan
Administrative Judge, Hendry County
20th Judicial Circuit

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