Frequently Asked Questions
Why not? Trial by jury is a cherished constitutional right. Every resident of Vernon County who is at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen and able to understand English is qualified to serve as a juror.
Will the court provide transportation?
Transportation may be available in certain circumstances. Please call the Clerk of Court's office at 608-637-5340 for more information.
What if I have a reason not to serve?
The court may excuse a person from jury service if the court determines the person is not capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of a juror, but such situations are rare. If the court determines jury service would entail undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or serious obstruction, service may be delayed to a later date set by the court. The court may require a person to document the basis for any excuse or deferral.
What if I have an emergency during jury duty?
Report any emergencies to the court or the bailiff. If someone needs to get hold of you during a trial, they may call the Clerk of Court's office at 608-637-5340. Unless it is a situation that needs immediate attention, a message will be taken for you.
What if I have a disability?
If you have a disability, which will require an accommodation by the court to allow you to serve as a juror, please contact as soon as possible the Vernon County Clerk of Court at 608-637-5340. There are assisted listening devices for those who may be hard of hearing.
I have been convicted of a crime; can I still serve?
Only individuals convicted of a felony crime, and still completing their sentence, would not be eligible to serve as a juror. Once a person convicted of a felony has served a term of imprisonment or otherwise completed his sentence, including probation, his civil rights are automatically restored and he or she is eligible for jury duty.
How long do I have to serve?
In Vernon County, a person is required to be available for jury service for a month only once in a four-year period. No person will be required to serve as a juror for more than five days unless more days are needed to complete a specific trial. When a juror is summoned to serve for a month, they only need to appear for the dates listed on their sheet that they receive with the summons.
Can I go home at night?
Most trials last only one day. When a trial does last longer, the judge usually adjourns so that you can return home each day at a reasonable hour. Rarely are you required to stay overnight. But remember: DO NOT discuss the case with anyone, even other jurors. Such discussions could cause you to form conclusions before all the evidence has been presented.
Do I get paid?
Yes. Every juror summoned is paid an amount set by the county board. The county will pay $25 for each full day of attendance and $12.50 for each half day. The county will also pay the mileage rate of $.485 for each mile traveled going to and from the court by the most usual route. Jurors are also granted a lunch allowance of up to $7.50 per day.
I don't know the law; how can I be a juror?
The judge will explain to the jury the rules of law that apply to the case and explain the decisions jurors must make. These written instructions are based upon years of judicial experience and many past cases. The jury must accept and follow the rules of law as given by the judge. A juror may disagree about the facts presented during the trial, but should not allow any personal disagreement with the law to influence his or her decision.
What about my job?
Jury service is a civic duty. State law protects your job. Your employer cannot fire you, demote you, threaten or intimidate you because of jury service.
Where and when should I report?
Upon arrival of your first scheduled court appearance you should report to the upper courtroom no later than 8:30 A.M. A bailiff will be there to assist you.
What should I wear?
Dress comfortably, but avoid extremes in dress; for instance, ragged cutoff jeans or T-shirts, or clothing with inappropriate or offensive wording on them. There are usually no prescribed dress codes, but judges have been known to order people to reappear in appropriate attire.
Will I be waiting long?
Resolving legal disputes can be complex and unpredictable work. Sometimes cases are settled at the very last minute. When the jury is actually ready to hear the case, the parties often work out a last minute compromise, rather than gamble on what the jury will decide. These settlements may seem very inconvenient to you, but such settlements usually save time for all trial participants and save tax dollars.
How do I know whether court has been cancelled?
The Jury toll free number is 1-800-356-4883. You must call this number the evening preceding each scheduled appearance after 5:00 P.M. You will receive a recorded message informing you whether or not you will need to appear for jury duty. If you fail to call this number, you may show up needlessly.
Can I take notes or ask questions during the trial?
The judge addresses these issues on a case-by-case basis. In most cases note taking is allowed and jury questions are not.
What if I don't fill out the form or just don't show up?
Wisconsin Statute 756.30 accords the court the right to assess you a fine. Most likely, you would also be required to complete your jury assignment.
What if I have scheduled a vacation or business trip during my term of jury service?
Notify the clerk of any conflicts immediately upon receiving the summons. You may request jury service be deferred to another month.
I received a questionnaire but no longer live in Vernon County. What should I do?
Indicate that information on the questionnaire; provide your current address, sign, date, and return in the envelope provided. Your name will be removed from the Vernon County list.
I received a questionnaire for my spouse or relative who is deceased. What should I do?
Indicate that the party is deceased on the questionnaire, sign, date, and return in the envelope provided. A family member should notify the Department of Transportation that the party is deceased to avoid his/her name from being placed on the list again in the future.
My child is away at college and has received a questionnaire. Can I fill this out for him/her?
Yes, a parent may complete the questionnaire. Indicate the months the student would be available for jury duty in Vernon County.
I am not sure of the exact round-trip mileage. How should I answer this question on my questionnaire?
Estimate the round-trip mileage the best you can. If you are required to report for jury duty in the future, keep track of the mileage to the courthouse. The bailiff will provide a sign-in sheet when you arrive and you can submit more accurate mileage information at that time.