Jury Selection

 Jurors for Columbia Municipal Court are randomly selected from a database that contains information from the South Carolina Election Commission and the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
 
 If you are selected for a specific jury trial term, you will receive a Municipal Court Juror Response Form and a self-addressed envelope in the mail. The Juror Response Form must be completed and returned to Municipal Court.
 
 

Reporting for Jury Duty

juryduty

 Please arrive promptly and please do not bring beverages, children, relatives, or friends with you on the day you report for jury duty.
 
 Upon arrival you will be shown to a courtroom separate from all other case parties attending jury trials. It is important that you do not speak with any case party, even if it is a relative.
 
 When the clerk calls your name, you should be prepared to stand and state your name and occupation. At that time, the judge may ask questions to determine your qualification to serve.
 
 If you are dismissed or told to report the following day, be sure to you know when and where you are to report. Each morning, roll will be taken to record your presence.
 
 

Court Security for Jurors

Security Screening 

Everyone who enters the Municipal Court building must pass through a metal detector and may be subject to search. Purses, briefcases, and the like will be searched as well. Weapons, which include everything from pocket knives to personal protection devices, are strictly prohibited in the Municipal Court.

Cell Phones & Communication Devices 

All cell phones and/or other communication devices should be turned off or in silent mode prior to entering the courtroom(s). Court security officers have been instructed to confiscate any device making noise in the courtroom.


Parking & Court Access

Parking 

Jurors should park in the City of Columbia parking garage at 820 Washington Street (across from the courthouse). Jurors will receive a parking pass upon entering the parking garage.  Bring this parking pass with you when checking in the court on Monday morning and you will receive further instructions regarding parking. 

Accessibility Accommodations 

Columbia Municipal Court is committed to providing accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have any special needs or accommodations, please contact the Chasity Shipman at 803-545-3128 prior to the date you are summoned to appear.


Juror Information - Exemptions

  • Persons 65 years of age or older who wish to be excused.
  • The primary caretaker of a disabled person or a person age 65 or older who cannot care for himself. 
  • Persons with legal custody and duty of care of a child under the age of seven and who cannot provide adequate childcare while serving as a juror. 
  • A person who is a guard, keeper, employee, or other officer at a state penitentiary.
  • A person who has served on a circuit court jury during the previous two calendar years, or who has served on a grand jury during the previous four calendar years. 
  • A student or a school employee and who wishes to be transferred to a later date that will not conflict with a school term.

***An affidavit (notarized statement) must be submitted attesting to the above statements.


Juror Information - Disqualifications

A person is disqualified from service as a juror if one or more of the following apply:

  • Persons who are not a U.S. citizen.
  • Persons who are not a resident of the county for which they have been summoned.
  • Persons who cannot read, write, speak, or understand the English language.
  • Persons who have less than a sixth grade education or its equivalent.
  • A mental or physical condition prevents them from serving as a juror. (Doctor’s statement required)
  • Persons who have been convicted in a state or federal court of a crime that carries a sentence of more than one year of imprisonment and who have not been pardoned or given amnesty for that conviction.
  • Persons who are a clerk of court, deputy clerk of court, constable, sheriff, commissioned law enforcement officer, probate judge, county commissioner, magistrate, or county officer, or who are employed within the walls of a courthouse.
  • Persons who have served on a circuit court jury within this calendar year.


Juror Information – Court Terminology

Argument- The presentation of the review of the evidence and summation by the attorneys at the end of the case after all of the evidence is in and both parties have rested.

Bailiff- The bailiff is a court officer who waits upon the court and the jury and maintains order in the court.

Clerk- The clerk sits at the desk in front of the judge, is an officer of the court and keeps a record of papers filed. He/She has custody of the pleadings and records of the trial of the case, orders made by the court during the trial and the verdict at the end of the trial. He/She also administers the oath to the jurors and all witnesses before they testify. The court clerk also marks all exhibits when they are received in evidence.

Court Recording- The court records everything that transpires, which constitutes as the official record in the case. The recordings made are subject to transcription later and must be used in an appeal. 

Cross-Examination- The questions which a lawyer puts to the opposing party and his witnesses.

Defendant-  In a criminal case, traffic case or city ordinance violation case, the defendant is the person charged with an offense.

Examination, Direct Examination- The questions which the lawyer asks his own client or his own witnesses are often referred to as "examination," "direct examination," or "examination in chief."

Exhibits- Objects, including pictures, books, letters and documents are often received in evidence. These are called "exhibits" and are generally given to the jury to take to the jury room while deliberating.

Instructions or "Charge" to Jury- The outline of the rules of law, which the jury must follow in their deliberations in deciding the factual issues submitted to them is called either the judge's "charge" to the jury or his "instructions" to the jury.

Issue- A disputed question of fact is referred to as an "issue." It is sometimes spoken of as one of the "questions" which the jury must answer in order to reach a verdict.

Jury Panel-  The whole number of prospective jurors from which the trial jury is chosen.

Objection Overruled- This term means that, in the judge's opinion, the lawyer's objection is not well taken under the rules of law. The judge's ruling, so far as a juror is concerned, is final and may not be questioned.

Objection Sustained-  When a lawyer objects to a question or the form of a question, the judge may say "objection sustained." This means that the judge agrees that, under the rules of law, the lawyer's objection was well taken. This ruling likewise is not subject to question by jurors.

Opening Statement-  Before introducing any evidence for his side of the case, a lawyer is permitted to tell the jury what the case is about and what evidence he expects to bring in to prove his side of the case. This is called the "opening statement."

Record-  This refers to the pleadings, the exhibits and the word-for-word record made by the court reporter of all the proceedings at the trial.

Rest- This is a legal phrase, which means that the lawyer has concluded the evidence he wants to introduce in that stage of the trial.

Striking Testimony-  On some occasions, after a witness has testified, the judge will order certain evidence stricken from the record and will direct the jury to disregard it. When this is done, the jury will treat the evidence stricken, as though it had never been given.

Subpoena-  The document which is issued for service upon a witness to compel his appearance in court.

Verdict-  The finding made by the jury on the issue submitted to them is the "verdict."


Terms of Service

Appearing in Court 

Jury trials are scheduled Monday through Thursday of the designated jury trial week and as a juror, you must report on the Monday of the scheduled jury trial week. Failure to appear or notify the court may result in you being fined $500 for contempt of court.

Duties & Responsibilities 

As a juror, you will be acting as an officer of the court. Jury panels are made up of 6 jurors and the jury is charged with listening to the facts of a case and determining whether an individual is guilty or not guilty.

Compensation 

Jurors will receive $15 per day, regardless of whether chosen to sit on a jury. Payment is mailed to the address on your summons and you should receive it within 45 days of your service.

For More Information

 If you need more information or wish to discuss your status for jury service, please call the Jury Trial Clerk Chasity Shipman at 803-545-3128. Each summoned juror will receive a Juror's Handbook during roll call on his or her 1st day of service.