Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I complete my juror qualification form online?
    Yes. Please click here to complete your form online.
  • How do I know I've been selected?
    When you are summoned for jury duty, you will be required to complete and return a juror qualification form. If you qualify, you will receive a letter and parking pass as well as a map indicating parking locations for jurors. If you ask to be deferred your request will normally be granted and you will be notified when to report. If you ask to be excused and you do not receive any further information, you may assume your request has been granted. You may call our office to confirm at (615) 862-5294 or email the jury staff at jurycoordinator@jis.nashville.org.
  • Where do I report?
    Justice A.A. Birch Building
    408 Second Ave North, Suite 1120
    Nashville, TN 37201
  • How will jury duty affect my job?
    See Information for Employers.
  • Who is exempt from serving on a jury?
    People who do not live in Davidson County. People who are non-citizens, under eighteen or permanently handicapped. Those who wish to be excused for a medical condition must provide a letter from their doctor. People who have pled guility or been convicted of any felony offense, perjury or subornation of perjury are also exempt. College students may be temporarily excused.  You may also be postponed or excused if you have a pending case in Davidson County. One-time deferrals are granted to people who have other scheduling conflicts.
  • How did I get picked when no one else I know has?
    Jurors are randomly selected by computer from driver's license files. About 90% of the people who serve have never served before.

  • How often can I be called for jury duty?
    Every two years.
  • What kind of case will I be on?
    You are part of a jury pool for trials in Criminal, Civil and Chancery Courts. If you are selected to go to a court and are excused from that case, you return to the Jury Assembly Room to be called on a different case. We have cases set on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Do I have to go back to work if I am dismissed from jury duty early?
    See Information for Employers.
  • When do I get to go to lunch?
    Normally, between 11:30 and 12:30. If you are on a case, it is up to the judge. If you are in the pool, you will go to lunch as soon as all courts have sufficient jurors for the morning.
  • What about an attendance letter for work?
    At the end of your service, whether you are in the pool or are seated on a jury, you will be given a letter that will indicate the days the you served on jury duty. If your employer requires the hours to be included as well. you must inform the jury staff when you report.
  • Can I bring a laptop? Yes but we do not have Wi-Fi.
  • I'm a diabetic, can I bring snacks and medicine? Yes. Please inform the court officer when you are sent to court.
  • How long does this last? What if I have a conflict on Friday/next week?
    Your jury duty commitment is for one week or the duration of the trial that you are on. Most trials last less than a week. When you are selected to go to court, opportunities are given to tell the judge that you have a conflict.
  • What if I work a night shift?
    According to the state law (TCA 22-4-106 (2)) you do not have to report to work the shift preceding your reporting date.  If you have a question about whether you should report to work, you can email us at jurycoordinator@jis.nashville.org.
  • What should I wear?
    Click on the dress code link.
  • Who do I contact with American Disabilities Act "ADA" questions?  Our office at 862-5294.
  • What will happen if I do not respond to my jury summons?
    Failure to respond to jury duty will make your personal appearance before the court mandatory. You may be fined and held in contempt of court.
  • Why is jury duty important?
    The United States Constitution guarantees all people the right to trial by jury. Justice ultimately depends in large measure on the jurors who serve in our courts.
  • Can I go home during a trial?
    Yes but in rare cases you may be sequestered. If you are going to be sequestered, you will normally be notified of that possibility when you are summoned.
  • What is the role of a juror?
    Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial and then make a decision based on the facts.
  • What are alternate jurors?
    Alternate jurors are additional jurors. Alternate jurors participate in the trial proceedings but do not take part in deliberations unless they have been called to replace members of the jury.
  • Can I take notes during the trial?
    That decision will come from the judge.
  • The summons was sent in my maiden name. What should I do?
    The jury pool is selected from the DMV database. Sometimes we get an old file and your last name may not have been updated. Simply fill out the Juror Qualification Form with your correct last name.
  • Am I wasting my time when a case settles before or after the jury is picked?
    There is a major difference between a judgment of the court and a settlement. The judgment is involuntarily imposed on the parties whereas the settlement is an agreement or compromise voluntarily reached by the parties. Therefore, judges generally encourage settlements. Also settlements save the time of the judges, jurors, court personnel, lawyers, parties and witnesses resulting in considerable savings to the state and the parties. It is wrong to assume that jurors' time has been wasted when a trial ends in a settlement or a guilty plea. Even parties who thought they would never settle do settle when faced with an imminent or ongoing jury trial. The prospect of being examined and cross-examined before the judge and jury may not be comfortable for some people. The presence of the judge and jury by itself motivates many court settlements.
  • What does the judge do in a jury trial?
    The judge performs several functions. The judge guides and controls the conduct of the entire trial. The judge presides over the presentation of evidence to the jury by the parties. It is the judge's responsibility to make sure the jury hears and sees only the evidence that is legally admissible. After all the evidence has been presented to the jury, the judge tells the jury the proper rules of the law required to resolve the case. When the judge tells the jury what the rules of law are, this is called the judge's charge or judge's instruction to the jury.
  • Why does the jury have to leave the courtroom so often?
    During the trial, issues of evidence or other legal matters will be brought up by the lawyers. Sometimes the judge will ask the jury to leave the courtroom so that these arguments can be made out of the presence of the jury. If the judge rules that the evidence is admissible, obviously the jury will then hear the evidence. If the judge rules that the evidence is inadmissible, then the jury will not hear the evidence. These sort of "jury out" hearings are normal during the course of any trial and the members of the jury should not consider this unusual.
  • Who are all of the people in the courtroom?
    In addition to the judge, parties, and attorneys, several court officers will be present in most trials. A court reporter will be present in all criminal and many civil trials. The court reporter can be identified in the courtroom as the individual who is taking using a tape recorder or a stenograph. The court reporter will record all testimony as well as all remarks by the judge, attorneys and other court officers made during the trial. The court reporter's record is the official record of the trial, which may be of importance in later proceedings.

    A court clerk may be also be present, seated to the side of the judge. The court clerk will often give the oath to jurors, witnesses and will act as caretaker of the files.

    The judge's law clerk may also be present. The law clerk will also be seated to the side of the judge. The law clerk is a paralegal, law student or lawyer who assists the judge with legal research.

    Any number of court officers will also be present in a trial. Court officers may by seated near the judge, near the door of the courtroom or near the defendant in a criminal trial. Court officers insure that the courtroom proceedings run smoothly. They assist witnesses to the stand, pass exhibits from the attorneys to the judge or to witnesses and insure that order is maintained in the courtroom.
  • How will my family contact me in case of a emergency?
    They can call our office at 862-5294 and we will contact you.
  • How do I ask to be excused or postponed from jury duty?
    You must submit your request in writing on your jury summons or online. If you no longer have your Jury Summons, you may mail your request to:

    Jury Coordinator
    P.O. Box 196310
    Nashville, TN 37219-6310
  • What is a civil case?
    A civil case usually involves a claim for money damages or some claim with respect to property. The party filing the case is called the plaintiff. The suit is started by the filing with the Circuit Court Clerk of the written claim of the plaintiff, called the Complaint. The defendant, or party who is being sued, responds to the Complaint by filing an Answer. In the Answer, the defendant either admits or denies the claims made by the plaintiff. In some instances, the defendant may make a claim against the plaintiff, called a counterclaim, or against one of the defendants, called a cross-claim. All of these papers together are called the pleadings. A juror should always remember that these pleadings are merely written claims of the parties and are not evidence.
  • What is a criminal case?
     A criminal case is brought in the name of, and by, the State of Tennessee against a person, the defendant, charged with breaking the law. The attorney who represents the state is usually called the prosecutor. The case is ordinarily started by the grand jury of a county and the written charge or accusation that is brought against the defendant is called an indictment. The indictment merely describes the crime, which the defendant is accused of committing. The indictment is not evidence. Also, the fact that the grand jury has brought an indictment against a defendant should not be considered as evidence that the accused is guilty. The accused is not required to make a written to the indictment. The defendant may plead guilty or not guilty and go to trial.
  • What if my son or daughter receives a jury summons and they are in college?
    You may complete the form on their behalf. Indicate that they are in college and return the form to our office.
  • Still have a question?
    E-mail the jury staff anytime at jurycoordinator@jis.nashville.org or call (615) 862-5294 between 8:00am and 4:30pm Monday through Friday.