St. Louis County Jury Information
In Missouri, people with disputes may bring the dispute to trial to be resolved by a jury. These are civil cases. Or, the State may charge someone with a crime when a law is broken. If the person enters a not guilty plea, the case is set for trial. These are criminal cases.
A jury for both civil and criminal cases is comprised of residents of the county where the trial takes place. Currently, a master jury list is randomly drawn from public records and placed on tapes. The tapes are put on a computer where a program is set up to draw a specified number of names at random.
Each week, names from the master jury list are drawn and each selected person is mailed a jury summons. Since it is not known at the time the summonses are mailed how many of the cases will be settled before trial, it is difficult to know exactly how many people to bring in for jury service. Here in St. Louis County, we have 17 divisions in jury trial 48 weeks of each year. We bring in an average number that we anticipate will be needed.
Each Monday, we bring in jurors who serve Monday and Tuesday. If a juror is selected for a particular case, he or she must serve for the duration of the case. Those not selected are dismissed from service at the end of the day on Tuesday.
A new group of jurors is summoned for Wednesday and Thursday. Currently, we have a call-in system for the jurors scheduled to report on a Wednesday so that if trials scheduled are settled, we can reduce the number of jurors who must report. Those who report but are not selected are dismissed on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning depending on the trials scheduled.
If Monday is a holiday, jurors begin their service on Tuesday and may be required to stay until it is determined that no more jury trials will begin either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Of course, in all cases, if you are selected to serve as a juror for a trial, your service will be for the duration of the case. Jury trials in St. Louis County generally average 2 1/2 days but may be shorter or longer depending on the case. A new master list is drawn every year.