judges of the 15 th Judicial District Court, the Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court, and the Jury management staff welcome and congratulate
you as a fellow participant in the administration of justice.
are now involved in the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers, a cornerstone
of American justice. By serving as a juror, you will be a judge
and you will assist in perpetuating a system that is fair and provides
the same opportunity to all American citizens.
have been made to expedite the cases set for trial during your jury service;
however, many matters must be disposed of before the jury is called.
Witnesses may need to be located, motions may be filed by attorneys, and
a myriad of other things may happen which require some delay before the
jury panel may be summoned to the courtroom.
circumstances may cause you to wait for extended periods of time.
The judges request your patience and assure you that all will be done
to make your jury service as short and efficient as possible.
How Jurors are Selected
The names of all licensed drivers and registered voters of Vermilion Parish are placed into the Clerk of Court computer once a year. The computer
first eliminates duplicate names, and then uses random selection to select
the names of people who will receive a subpoena for jury duty.
law provides that certain qualifications must be met in order for a person
to be eligible to serve on a jury. These requirements are that a
be a citizen of the United States and Louisiana, and must have resided
in Vermilion Parish for at least one year before service;
be at least eighteen years of age;
be able to read, write and speak the English language;
not have a mental or physical infirmity which makes service impossible;
not be under indictment for a felony, nor convicted of a felony
for which he/she has not been pardoned
you do not meet all of these requirements, contact the office of the Judge
to be excused. Also, if jury service would result in undue or extreme
inconvenience or hardship, you may contact the office of the Judge to
request a postponement or excuse.
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April 28, 1994, the Louisiana Supreme Court has amended its rules so as
to effectively eliminate all group and occupational exemptions from jury
service. Persons who may claim an exemption from jury service are:
who have served on a jury or in the jury pool in the 15 th Judicial District within the last two years;
who are 70 years of age or older.
you are in either of these categories, you may claim an exemption from
jury service; however, if you wish to serve, you may do so. If you
do elect to claim one of these exemptions, the Clerk of Court will assist
you in presenting the necessary proof.
Your Role As A Juror
are to report to the Vermilion Parish Courthouse at the time and date
stated on your subpoena. You will report to the main courtroom located
on the second floor of the Courthouse. The assigned Judge will determine
if you are qualified to serve on the jury.
that determination is made, all potential jurors may be asked to wait
in the old Police Jury room, also located on the second floor of the Courthouse.
The Judge will then question prospective jurors. You must
not leave this area.
you are sent to the courtroom, you are asked to conduct yourself in a
respectful manner. You should be alert, courteous and honest about
your feelings and opinions on issues.
you be selected as juror, it is imperative that you are attentive at all
times. The Judge presiding over that court will give instructions
and orders that you must follow.
you have any problem (such as not being able to hear a witness), have
an urgent question or request, you may ask the Bailiff to notify the Judge,
who will then handle your request.
you have heard all the evidence and each attorney has summed up his case,
the Judge will instruct you on the law that applies to the facts you will
consider. You will then be escorted to the Jury Deliberation Room
where you and your fellow jurors will deliberate.
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Sequence of a Trial
Judge will tell you the names of the parties, the lawyers who will represent
each, and the nature of the legal action.
will then be questioned by the attorneys and court to insure that you
can be impartial and objective about the issues in the case. This
is called Voir Dire. Each attorney may challenge "for cause."
This means that for some reason (your occupation, your opinion on certain
issues, your knowledge of the case, etc.), it might be unfair to ask you
to be impartial in the case at hand, and the Judge may excuse you from
service in this particular trial. Each attorney also is allowed
by law a limited number of "preemptory challenges". This
means the attorney may ask the court to excuse some prospective jurors
without stating any reason. (If you are challenged, please keep
in mind that this request is not on a personal basis. The attorney is
merely using a right given to his client by law).
the end of the Voir Dire a number of people will be seated to form the
Jury, and the trial begins. (In some cases it may be a "six-man"
jury, in others it may be a "twelve-man" jury).
plaintiff’s attorney (in civil cases) or the District Attorney (in criminal
cases) will make an opening statement telling you what he intends to prove.
The attorney for the defense may also make an opening statement.
the opening statements, the side bringing the suit, (i.e., the plaintiff
or the D.A.), will present its evidence with witnesses, documents or other
exhibits. Then the other side will be afforded the opportunity to
when one party is through questioning one witness, the other attorney
may cross-examine. There are special rules of law governing
what may be asked of a witness, how the witness may respond, and what
the Jury may properly consider as evidence. From time to time, an
attorney may "object" to some testimony or procedure.
The Judge may ask the lawyers to approach the bench to discuss the matter,
or you may be taken to the jury deliberation room so that it may be debated
outside your hearing. In either case, the Judge will rule on all
questions of law, and will tell you how the law requires you to treat
a particular situation.
both sides have presented their evidence and defenses, each attorney will
sum up his case. He tells what he believes the evidence shows and
why it favors his side. Of course these presentations by the lawyers
are not evidence.
the closing arguments, the judge will instruct you on your duties as a
juror. He will also instruct you as to the law in this particular
case, what verdicts can be rendered and the consequences of each verdict.
You and your fellow jurors will then be escorted to the Jury Room
this time, you will select one juror to be your foreman. This person
will preside over your deliberating, and will bring the verdict into court.
In many cases one of the parties will ask, or the Court will order,
the Jury be polled. This means the court will ask each juror individually
if this is his or her own verdict. The Judge may order their verdict
to be in open court or on a secret ballot viewed by the Judge and attorneys.
Thereafter, the Clerk of Court is ordered to seal the ballots in
judge presiding over the case will then thank you and dismiss you.
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Petit and Grand Juries
petit jury will hear and decide criminal cases after a person is charged
with a crime.
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.
grand jury does not decide a case. Rather it has broad powers to
investigate a wide range of criminal offenses and to examine the performance
of public officials and public institutions. As such, a grand Jury
may charge a person with a crime who may be tried before a petit jury.
Its deliberations are conducted in secret, in conjunction with
the State Attorney or a designated assistant state attorney.
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Payment for Jury Duty
Jurors will receive $25.00 per day, plus mileage for jury service.
first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials
held during the week. Jurors selected to serve on cases will be asked
to return and serve on the dates of that trial. Most trials last several
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dress attire is required. Shorts, men's hats, muscle shirts, halters
(mid-drifts), and other inappropriate dress are not allowed. Cell
phones are not allowed on the second floor of the courthouse.
Bailiffs - The official in each courtroom who attends to the security and comforts
of the judges, jurors, and the court in general.
Bench - The seat occupied by judges in court.
Bill of Information - A formal charge of violation of a criminal
statue made against a person by the District Attorney and filed with the
Clerk of Court.
Challenge - During the selection of a particular jury (see voir
dire), attorneys for either side may wish to suggest to the court that
certain individuals be excused from service for this particular jury.
There are two types of challenges. (A) A challenge for cause
is made when an attorney believes that an individual being challenged
is in some way not appropriate for a particular case. For example,
a person who was recently a party to a personal injury suit or who is
a relative of the attorneys or parties in the present suit, may find it
difficult or impossible to be completely objective. The decision
as to the validity of a challenge for cause is made by the judge.
(B) The law allows each side in a case a limited number of preemptory
challenges which it may exercise if it so chooses. The judge automatically
grants preemptory challenges.
Chambers - The private room or office of a judge.
Civil law - Civil trials, as distinguished from criminal trials,
deal with disputes between individuals, corporation, and/or other private
entities or public entities such as the City-Parish or State, in which
no violation of a specific criminal law is charged.
Criminal law - That law dealing with actions or omissions which
have been identified by a legislative body as being contrary to the public
interest, and to which criminal penalties have been attached.
Cross-examination - Examination of a witness by the party opposed
to the one who produced him, in order to further develop and to test the
truth of his testimony.
Defendant - In a civil action, the party against whom suit is brought;
the party who is being sued. In a criminal case, the defendant is
the person who is charged with violation of a criminal statute.
Direct-examination - The first examination of a witness by the
party on whose behalf he is called.
Expert witness - A person
qualified to speak authoritatively on a certain subject on the basis of
skill, training or experience. The court is responsible for determining
the qualifications of an expert witness to testify in a particular case.
An expert witness may offer opinions as well as observations within his
field of expertise.
Grand Jury - A special jury which serves during each session of
criminal court as a body to inquire into complaints and accusations of
violations of criminal laws. Grand Juries may hear testimony and
receive evidence, and may bring charges in the form of an indictment against
individuals. A Grand Jury does not find innocence or guilt; it simply
determines whether or not sufficient evidence exists to bring formal charges
before the court.
Indictment - A formal accusation, by a Grand Jury, that a person
has violated one or more specific criminal statutes. The charge
is presented to a court.
Instructions - The directions given by the judge to the jury concerning
the law which applies in the case at hand, and the manner in which the
jury is to apply it to the facts as they find them.
Intervener - A person who voluntarily enters an action or other proceeding, with
the permission of the court.
Jury pool - A randomly chosen group of individuals from which individual
jury panels are chosen.
Jury term - The length of time for which a citizen serves in a
Motion - A formal request to the court by an attorney for a specific
action by the court. Example: "Your Honor, defense moves the
last testimony be stricken from the record."
Objection - In a trial, a lawyer may object (or raise an objection)
to a procedure or action in the trial (such as an attempt to introduce
certain evidence or to elicit certain testimony) which that lawyer feels
should not be permitted under the rules of law which govern the conduct
of trials. The judge will make a decision as to whether or not the
objection is to be sustained or overruled.
Panel - A specific group of prospective jurors from which the jury
for a particular case will be chosen. The jury pool is for convenience
divided up into panels, which are sent to each court room as the need
A jury of individuals who determine the facts and render a verdict thereon
in a particular criminal trial.
- In a civil action, the person who brings a petition to the
court; the party who initiates the action by filing suit.
- A defendant's statement, answering the charges against him,
or showing why he should not answer.
- An agreement by which parties having disputed matters between
them reach an agreement which concludes the dispute without going to trial.
- A written law, enacted by a legislative body (city council,
state legislature, U.S. Congress)
- The formal decision of the jury. In a criminal case,
the decision relates to the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
In a civil suit, the decision is whether or not the plaintiff has proved
his case against the defendant, and may also include findings as to the
amount of damage suffered.
Dire - A prospective juror, prior to being sworn to serve in
a trial, is questioned by the judge and the attorneys in that case in
order to determine whether he/she is competent and qualified to hear the
- A person who testifies under oath to what he has seen, heard,
or otherwise observed, and whose statement is received as part of the
evidence in the case.
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Personnel & Their Functions in Court
Judge - An officer who is elected to preside and to administer the law in a
court of justice.
Attorney (D.A.) - The prosecuting officer who represents the state
in criminal trials or.....
Plaintiff - The party who complains or sues in a civil action.
Defendant - The party summoned to answer a charge or complaint in civil or criminal
law; The party against whom an action or suit is filed.
(Attorney,Counsel) - The legal representative of a party in a trial.
Bailiff - An administrative officer of the court who attends to the needs of the
judge, jurors, witnesses, and court.
Reporter - A person responsible for taking and transcribing official
presentations of facts, evidence, and legal procedures in a trial.
Clerk - A deputy clerk of court who administers the oath to jurors
and witnesses and whose duty is to receive the evidence as it is introduced.
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Instructions to all Jurors
have been qualified as a prospective juror in a pending case. It is imperative
that you follow the listed instructions:
juror has been given a juror number, it is important that you write
your juror number in the upper right hand corner of this page.
evening, each juror will be required to call 337-394-5193 to determine
what numbered jurors will have to report to court the next day.
If you are asked to report to court the next day, please arrive at
the courthouse no later than 15 minutes prior to the time court is
to begin. This is done in order to facilitate a roll call at
the designated court time so that court can commence promptly.
Please do not discuss any facts that you hear about the case amongst
the other prospective jurors during the time that you are waiting
the selection process. Please do not try to discover any of
the facts of this case as all evidence that you will need to decide
this case will be presented to you in the courtroom.
may be a good idea for you to bring some reading material during the
period of time that you will be waiting during the selection process;
however, please do not bring any legal materials or any materials
that contain information about the current trial.
will be restricted to the police jury room area during the time of
the selection process. A bailiff will be present during this
period of time. You may carry on conversations about any topic
other than discussions about the facts of the pending case or legal
issues. A bailiff will be there for your assistance, and you
will be requested to remain in the police jury room area except for
normal lunch breaks and recesses of court.
bailiffs are there for your assistance, and should any problem arise
during this trial, please ask the bailiff for assistance with this
the course of the trial, you may see or hear news accounts concerning
this trial. You are not to listen or attempt to obtain any information
from these new accounts.
the course of the jury selection and trial, you may come into contact
with some of the attorneys handling the case. They are under
court order not to carry on a conversation with you. This is
done to eliminate any appearance of wrongdoing.
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