TEXAS - JURY DUTY

January 1, 2008

State laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. Are physicians exempt from jury duty in Texas?

Texas does not have a specific exemption for physicians. Generally, a person is disqualified to serve as a petit juror unless the person:

(b) Is a citizen of this state and of the county in which the person is to serve as a juror;

(c) Is qualified under the constitution and laws to vote in the county in which the person is to serve as a juror;

(d) Is of sound mind and good moral character;

(e) Is able to read and write;

(f) Has not served as a petit juror for six days during the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court;

(g) Has not been convicted of misdemeanor theft or a felony; and

(h) Is not under indictment or other legal accusation for misdemeanor theft or a felony.

V.T.C.A. § 62.102

2. What are the disqualification factors for a particular case?

A person is disqualified to serve as a petit juror in a particular case if he:

(a) Is a witness in the case;

(b) Is interested, directly or indirectly, in the subject matter of the case;

(c) Is related by consanguinity or affinity within the third degree to a party in the case;

(d) Has a bias or prejudice in favor of or against a party in the case; or

(e) Has served as a petit juror in a former trial of the same case or in another case involving the same questions of fact.

V.T.C.A. § 62.105

3. Under what circumstances is a person considered "exempt" from jury service?

A person qualified to serve as a petit juror may establish an exemption from jury service if the person:

(a) Is over 70 years of age;

(b) Has legal custody of a child younger than 10 years of age and the person's service on the jury requires leaving the child without adequate supervision;

(c) Is a student of a public or private secondary school;

(d) Is a person enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education;

(e) Is an officer or an employee of the senate, the house of representatives, or any department, commission, board, office, or other agency in the legislative branch of state government;

(f) Is summoned for service in a county with a population of at least 200,000, unless that county uses a jury plan and the authorized period exceeds two years, and the person has served as a petit juror in the county during the 24-month period preceding the date the person is to appear for jury service;

(g) Is the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself;

(h) Is summoned for service in a county with a population of at least 250,000 and the person has served as a petit juror in the county during the three-year period preceding the date the person is to appear for jury service (note: this does not apply if the jury wheel in the county has been reconstituted after the date the person served as a petit juror); or

(i) Is a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty and deployed to a location away from the person's home station and out of the person's county of residence.

V.T.C.A. § 62.106

4. How can a physician establish an exemption in the event he or she is unable to appear for jury service?

(a) A person who is notified to appear for jury service may establish an exemption from the service without appearing in person by filing a signed statement of the ground of his exemption with the clerk of the court before the date on which he is summoned to appear.

(b) A person may also claim an exemption from jury service by filing with the sheriff, tax assessor-collector, or district or county clerk of the county of his residence a sworn statement that sets forth the ground of and claims the exemption. The name of a person who claims his exemption by filing the sworn statement may not be placed in the jury wheel for the ensuing year.

(c) A person who files a statement with a clerk of the court, as provided by subsection (a), claiming an exception because the person is over 70 years of age, may also claim the permanent exemption on that ground by including in the statement filed with the clerk a declaration that the person desires the permanent exemption.

V.T.C.A. § 62.107

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.