Magistrate & District Court
Jury Duty is an essential element of our judicial system in America. Trial by a jury is provided as a constitutional right. Jury duty is one of the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States.
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding jury duty as well as information useful to those called upon to serve. After reading these helpful informational hints if you still have questions, please feel free to contact us during regular office hours of Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
When you receive a Jury Qualification Questionnaire for jury duty, you should immediately fill it out and return it to the Jury Commissioner. (§2-208)
As a juror you may be called to serve in either the District Court or the Magistrate Court in Caribou County. Jurors serving in the District Court may be called hear civil cases involving over $10,000 or felony cases. Jurors serving in the Magistrate Court may hear civil cases or misdemeanor criminal cases.
HOW DID I GET SELECTED?
The jury selection process is a random selection of names taken from the “Master Jury List”. This “List” is created pursuant to Idaho Code §2-206 by using information from two sources; the Caribou County list of registered voters and State of Idaho Department of Transportation drivers’ license records. From time to time, the Idaho Supreme Court may designate the use of other list, such as: utility customers, property taxpayers, or motor vehicle registrations.
HOW LONG WILL I BE CALLED UPON TO SERVE?
A jury panel service term in Caribou County is for Six (6) months. We have two terms, one starting January 1 st to June 31 st and the second panel service term is July 1 st to December 31 st. We are a small County and have a small number of jury trials throughout the year so that is why the service term is for a six month period. We will notify you by mail approximately 2 weeks before the trial start date. Occasionally you may be required to serve with little advance notice. Once you have served a full jury panel term, you will not have to serve again for two years. Should your name come up before two years (2) have elapsed, you may request not to serve and your request will be granted.
HOW DO I GET OUT OF JURY DUTY?
Idaho Code §2-211 provides “No exemptions for any qualified prospective juror may be granted.” You are a qualified juror if you are 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Caribou County, and you are able to read, speak and understand the English language. However, if you have a felony record and are still on probation or parole you will be disqualified. If you are age 70 or older you may request to be excused by making the appropriate notation on the jury qualification form.
CAN I POSTPONE SERVICE ON A JURY?
There are a few special circumstances which may allow you to request a postponement from one jury panel to another. Some examples include seasonal employment, a nursing mother, a temporary medical condition or you serve as a full-time caregiver. If you are requesting a postponement you must submit your request in writing with your name and day-time phone number.
WHAT IF I NEED A DAY OFF?
Arrangements can be made to be excused from jury duty for short periods of time. Qualifying events would include a medical appointment, a special family event, including a pre-planned vacation or a pressing employment situation that will cause you to be out of the area. Indicate the dates you are unavailable as soon as you know them, and send that information to the Jury Commissioner with your signature and supporting documentation as to the reason why. Please include your name and day-time phone number.
I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION…DO I STILL HAVE TO SERVE?
A Physician’s Certificate must be returned to the Jury Commissioner with the Jury Qualification Questionnaire or as soon as the medical condition arises. The Physician’s Certificate can be simply a letter from your Doctor on the physician’s letter head and must be signed by the same. You should not use this if you have medical conditions that are temporary, such as colds, pregnancy, or broken bones. These can be dealt with through a temporary excuse from jury duty or by postponement. If you have a chronic condition which makes it impossible for you to serve, have your physician fill out the certificate and return it to the jury commissioner. You will not be excused until the physician’s certificate has been received by the jury commissioner. Your physician will submit this certificate at no cost to you. You must also fill out the qualification questionnaire and submit it with your physician’s certificate.
MY BOSS CAN'T DO WITHOUT ME…DO I STILL HAVE TO SERVE?
Almost everyone called for jury duty is employed, and it would not be appropriate to have only unemployed or retired citizens as jurors; this would hardly comprise a jury of one’s peers. The court will try to work with all prospective jurors to reduce potential inconvenience or accommodate special circumstances. Keep in mind that you will usually have advance notification of the dates on which jury trials have been set and the majority of trials only last a day or two.
WILL I GET PAID FOR SERVING ON A JURY?
Those selected for jury duty receive $5 for a half day of service and $10 for a full day, plus the federally approved mileage rate in effect at the time for the round trip from the juror’s residence to the courthouse. Jurors should expect to receive their compensation within 3 weeks from the completion of their service. Some places of employment pay regular wages while an individual is serving on jury duty. This is NOT a requirement, however, and the decision to pay wages is entirely up to the business. If an employer does pay wages during absence due to jury duty, they will normally require that you give them your jury check upon receipt. Jurors should check with their employer to see what their policy is. Juror employment verification for days served is available from the jury commissioner upon request. Employers often expect that jurors return to work in the event of early release from jury service on any given day. Make sure you check your employer’s policies, as verification cannot be provided except for time actually spent at the courthouse.
You also have the option of donating your service and mileage back to the Caribou County Court fund.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I'M SUPPOSED TO REPORT FOR JURY DUTY?
This information is included in the “Order to Appear for Jury Service” mailed to you when your name is selected for potential service from the jury panel. The “Order to Appear for Jury Service” contains important reporting information a telephone answering service is available to advise you on the status of the scheduled trial. Call number 547-4219 between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm on the day the order instructs you and at that time the recording will advise whether the scheduled trial will be tried or if it has been settled. Please do not leave a message.
The phone number to call is (208) 547-4219
Please be patient as several jurors may be calling this number at the same time.
WHERE DO I REPORT FOR JURY SERVICE?
The majority of jury trials are held at the Caribou County Courthouse in Soda Springs located at 159 South Main Street. Our large courtroom is located upstairs in the Courthouse room 302. Our small courtroom is located on the second floor room 206. It is also the Commissioners meeting room.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I APPEAR FOR JURY DUTY?
On your first trial date, there will be a brief orientation program which will be followed by jury selection. On average, the jury selection process takes from two to three hours. On occasion there may be circumstances in which a trial has been cancelled after the jury has reported. Should this occur prospective jurors will be excused as quickly as possible. Recognizing the inconvenience, the court makes every attempt to avoid having jurors appear when not needed. Following the selection process, prospective jurors not selected to sit on the trial are excused and are free to leave or stay to observe; all trials are open to the public.
Typically jurors are excused for the lunch hour. You should expect to provide your own lunch. Meals are provided if a jury is deliberating through lunch or dinner. Every attempt is made to excuse jurors by 5:00 pm though there are situations that may require a jury to stay later, particularly if you are in deliberations.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Sitting on a jury involves just that – sitting. You should wear clothes that are neat, clean, and most importantly, comfortable. While there is no formal dress code requiring suits, ties, dresses, etc. you are encouraged to acknowledge the seriousness of jury duty and to dress in a conservative, non-distracting manner. The courthouse has heat as well as air conditioning and valiant efforts are made to keep the offices at about 70 degrees year round. However, you might want to bring a sweater with you.
I'M A SMOKER
All Courthouse facilities are non-smoking. However, during break times the bailiffs will accompany any jurors – smokers or not – outside to enjoy a breath of fresh air, if requested.
HOW DO I CONTACT THE JURY OFFICE?
Caribou County Clerk
159 S Main St
Soda Springs ID 83276
Office Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays
159 S Main St
Soda Springs ID 83276
Fax: (208) 547-4759
Jury Message Recording: (208) 547-4219
This number instructs jurors on their reporting dates and is only a recording.
You cannot leave a message at this number