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Almost all of us have gotten that envelope in the mail with the words Jury Summons across the front. It’s the way American citizens participate in the judiciary branch of the government. It may seem like an inconvenience but jurors play a vital role in our court system.

The questions that comes up all the time is “How did I get selected?” You may have been 10 years since the last time you were called for jury duty or a little more than a year. What is the process for selecting a potential pool of jurors in Hall County?

We are talking to Mark Alexander, a trial attorney and partner with Stewart Melvin & Frost. Mark has many years of experience in working with jurors within the local court system.

Mark’s firm – Stewart Melvin & Frost – is one of Northeast Georgia’s oldest and largest regional law firms. It is widely respected as an “Uncommon Practice” – featuring an experienced team of attorneys recognized individually as experts in highly specialized areas of the law.

Question: How are Hall County citizens chosen for jury duty?

Mark: Jurors are selected from a pool of potential jurors that is assembled locally in Hall County annually.

You are eligible to be included in that jury pool if you are a registered voter in Hall County or have a driver’s license from Hall County.

Question: Who is eligible to serve as a juror in Hall County?

Mark: You must be a U.S. citizen, resident of Hall County, able to speak and understand English, at least 18-years-old, and a non-felon.

Question: What do you do if the jury summons comes at a bad time and you are unable to serve? And what qualifies as a legitimate excuse not to serve?

Mark: If you receive a jury summons and have a legitimate reason that makes it difficult to serve, the court in most instances will grant you a first-time excuse. However, you will likely be asked to serve in the next court session – and therefore should plan accordingly.

Potential excuses not to serve on a jury are being a full-time student and being a single parent with no means of providing other day care for your child or children. Jury service is one of the ways we can participate directly in our government. If and when you receive a jury summons in the mail, your first thought should not be negative or annoyed.

Instead, you should appreciate the importance of this opportunity to serve in one of the oldest and most treasured roles in our American system of government.