Contacting the Jury Clerk:

How can I reach the New Hanover County Jury Clerk?
The Jury Office is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  In the event of an emergency, a staff member may be contacted during business hours at (910) 772-6603.

To request an excuse or deferment follow these instructions:

Requests must be made in person, by mail or by visiting the juror website no later than 5 days prior to your absence. Requests in person must be made any Tuesday or Wednesday between 2:00 and 4:00 P.M. in room 201 in the New Hanover County Judicial Building. NO PHONE CALLS.

 The Jury Office address is:

New Hanover County Judicial Building
316 Princess Street, Room 417
Wilmington, NC 28401

Jury Selection:

Where does the Court Clerk obtain names of prospective jurors?
The list of names that is used to call people for jury service is created by combining the Countyís voter registration list and North Carolina Licensed Driver records.  Names are randomly selected from that master list for possible service as a juror. 

I can no longer fulfill my duties as a juror. Canít you remove my name from your records?
Under certain circumstances, such as permanent mental or physical disability. Call the jury room and the jury staff can help you with the procedures that are needed to accomplish this.

I am not a citizen of the United States but I would still like to serve as a juror. Why canít I?
The law automatically disqualifies non-citizens, convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored, and people under 18 years of age from jury service. 

 

Jury Service:

Why is jury service important? 
The United States Constitution guarantees all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or economic status the right to trial by an impartial jury of one's peers. In order to uphold this guarantee, we need those summoned to participate in the jury process to ensure every citizen's right to have their case decided by an impartial jury selected from a representative pool of prospective jurors.

Who is entitled to a jury trial? 
Any person charged with a criminal offense or any party in a civil case has the right to a trial by jury. All parties are equal before the law and each is given the same fair and impartial treatment.

What are my duties as a juror? 
Your duty as a juror is to weigh all of the evidence and testimony presented to you and to decide the outcome of the case based upon the law,  the evidence and in accordance with the instructions given to you by the presiding judge. Your decision must be fair, impartial and free of any bias or prejudice. Jury service is the basis of our judicial system and is essential to the administration of justice.

How are jurors selected for a trial? 
After your panel is selected and reports to a courtroom, a process known as voir dire begins. During voir dire, the judge and possibly the attorneys will ask you questions to see if you can keep an open mind and be fair. After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused for that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge as to what is expected of you. If you are not selected, you will return to the jury room and may be sent to another courtroom with another panel.

How long does jury service usually last if I am selected? 
If you are selected to sit on a jury, the average trial length is two to three days, although trials may be longer or shorter depending upon the facts of the case.

What are the different types of cases I might be selected for? 
There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil.  In a CRIMINAL case, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a CIVIL case, the jury decides whether or not money damages should be given and, if given, how much those damages will be.

What should I wear to jury service?
Jurors should dress comfortably, but properly for a courthouse. Shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops and halters are NOT permitted. If you report wearing any of these items, you may be asked to return home, at your own expense, to change into more suitable attire.

Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the North Carolina State Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. Failure to attend as directed may subject you to penalties provided by law. All New Hanover County residents are qualified by state law to serve as a juror unless they:

  • Have been adjudged incompetent;
  • Are NOT a United States citizen;    
  • Are NOT a resident of New Hanover County, NC;
  • Are UNDER 18 years of age;
  • Have been convicted of a felony or offense and have not had their citizenship restored by law;
  • Cannot speak or understand the English language

What can I bring with me to jury service? 
The jury process can require a juror to wait a considerable amount of time. For this reason, jurors are encouraged to bring a book or other form of reading material with them to the jury assembly room. Jurors may NOT bring cameras, walkmans or radios.  Cellular phones and pagers MUST be turned off.  The courthouse does provide Wi-Fi service.

Can I bring someone to jury service with me? 
No. Only those summoned for jury service are allowed in the jury assembly room. You may have someone escort you to and from jury service, but that person is not allowed to enter the jury assembly room. The jury assembly room is for prospective jurors ONLY.

Are there phones and vending machines in the Judicial Building? 
Yes. Pay phones and vending machines are located near the jury assembly room. If you plan to make calls or purchase vending items, please bring enough change. Jury assembly room staff will not be able to provide change.  Located on the Ground Level of the Courthouse is a snack bar/coffee shop.

 

Pay for jury service:

Will I be compensated for jury duty?
Yes. You will be paid $12.00 for the first day, $20.00 per day for days 2-5 and $40.00 per day for every day thereafter.  You will generally be paid 14 working days after last day of attendance.

 

Work Issues:

Must my employer pay me while I'm on jury service? 
No. An employer is NOT required by law to pay employees who are on jury service but many employers do. You should check with your company's human resources department before serving to see if your company pays your salary for days you are a juror. If you DO receive your salary while on jury service, you should ask what your employer requires as proof that you served as a juror.

 

Excuse from Service:

A prospective juror MAY be excused or deferred if he/she:

  • Has a physical or mental disability that would prevent him/her from serving. The prospective juror will be required to provide a doctor's note verifying the disability.
  • Must provide actual and necessary care for another and alternate arrangements are not feasible. (Employment as a caregiver does not qualify)
  • Is unable to read or understand the English language.
  • Over 72 years of age
  • Is a student of public or private secondary school or enrolled and in attendance at an institution of higher education.
  • Active military out of county.

Each request is individually reviewed. Potential jurors are encouraged to complete the request truthfully, to the best of their knowledge. Failure to do so is against the law. Jury service is a citizen's civic duty, and responsibility.

I am unable to judge anyone because of my moral or religious beliefs. May I be excused?
North Carolina law does not provide for an excuse from jury service for moral or religious beliefs. You are still required to appear for jury service. When you get to a courtroom, the judge will make that decision.

I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of what I do for a living. Why not excuse me now and save time?
New Hanover County tries civil and criminal cases, both of which require juries. The random selection process prevents you from knowing in advance what trial or even what type of trial for which you'll be selected. If when you get to a courtroom the judge excuses you, you've fulfilled your obligation for jury service. But the Jury staff cannot excuse you as a potential juror because of what you do for a living. 

  

Postponement:

What about getting a postponement?
The Jury Office realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to defer service to a more convenient time in most instances.  Subsequent postponements are not allowed unless it is an extreme emergency that was not anticipated when the first postponement was granted.