Jury Information

Please read carefully, jury instructions have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you have received a jury summons, you should register online at https://juror.alacourt.gov immediately.

JURORS: Please review the Juror FAQ to find answers to questions about how the Mobile County courts intend to handle jury assembly and trials during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Welcome New Jurors

You have been summoned to render an important service as a juror. You have enjoyed the privileges of citizenship and the protection of your liberties and property by the government. As a juror, you are part of the judicial system of our state and will serve as an officer of the Court along with the judges and lawyers. Your service as a juror is as important as those of the judge. You are obligated to perform this service honestly and conscientiously, without fear or favor.

The purpose of this information is to help you understand the procedure in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama, and to enable you better to do your part in administering justice. In the case in which you sit as a juror, the judge will give you instructions as to the law applicable to that case.

THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF SUCH INSTRUCTIONS.

We hope that your service as a trial juror will be both interesting and informative. The Circuit Court Judges and their staffs will make every effort to make it a pleasant experience.

Michael Youngpeter
Presiding Circuit Judge
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
State of Alabama

Please see the "Empanelment & Service" tab for directions.

At this time, we have disabled the link to the PDF version of the Mobile County Juror Handbook because some of the information contained therein is not applicable at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  When the Handbook link is again enabled, you may need the latest version of the Adobe PDF Reader to view the Handbook.

Why a Trial by Jury?

Trial by jury is deeply established in the American judicial system and guarantees are found both in the federal and state constitutions.

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall happen, …"
United States Constitution, Amendment VI

"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved …"
United States Constitution, Amendment VII

Empanelment and Service

If you have been summoned for jury service, you should report to the Mobile Civic Center Theater, 401 Civic Center Drive, Mobile, AL 36602.

After changes of address and occupation are posted to the records, a judge will conduct the empanelling process.  For those jurors who were unable to access the AOC website to answer qualification questions, the empanelling judge will inquire into the qualifications of those prospective jurors and administer the oath of office.  Jurors will then be placed in panels of fifteen and sent to the Courthouse as necessary.

 

Qualification and Selection of Jurors

 

Our jury list consists of names randomly selected from the voter registration list kept by the Alabama Secretary of State in Montgomery.  Until a few years ago, many persons, due to their age or profession, were exempt from jury service.  The legislature of Alabama abolished these exemptions.  Now no person is exempt by reason of old age or profession.
In general, a juror must have the following qualifications:

  1. Be 19 years of age or older.
  2. Be a citizen of the United States.
  3. Be a resident of Mobile County for more than 12 months.
  4. Read, speak, understand and follow instructions given in the English language.
  5. Be physically and mentally able to perform satisfactory jury service.
  6. Have not lost the right to vote by conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude.

A person who is qualified for jury service may be excused by making a showing to the Court of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience or public necessity.  Each prospective juror will be asked questions relating to Covid-19 (online or by calling court administration). A person excused for Covid-19 or any reason will be rescheduled for jury service at a later time.

Term of Service

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, persons are being summoned for jury service in the Circuit Court of Mobile County for only one day unless actually selected to serve as a juror on a case.  If you are not selected for a jury on the day you reported, your service will be concluded.  For the vast majority of persons, jury service will begin and end on the same day.  For those persons who are selected to serve as a juror, your service will conclude when the trial is finished. 

Parking

Parking in the downtown area is very limited.  The Civic Center parking lot has parking for jurors for $2 per day.  The lot is located off Claiborne Street near Civic Center Drive.  There are other lots near the Government Plaza and the day-rates vary.  PARKING ON THE STREET IS NOT ADVISED AND IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.  You may not leave jury service to put coins in the parking meter.  The court does not have the authority to pay for parking and cannot arrange to have parking tickets canceled.

Attire

While formal dress is not required, court proceedings are quite formal in nature.  Since jurors are often referred to as officers of the court, you are requested to dress appropriately.

Juror Badges

After being empanelled on your first day of service you will be given a juror badge to wear.  You are asked to wear this badge at all times while you serve.  This will identify you as a juror to security, and possibly will prevent you from overhearing conversations pertaining to your case.  These are paper badges and you may obtain a new one as needed.

Daily Routine

All instructions given by the judges and their staffs must be strictly followed until the case has concluded. Each judge will advise when breaks and recesses will occur in that courtroom.  

Work Verification

Many employers require proof that you were summoned to report as a juror.  Part 1 of the jury summons form will serve as your verification.  If you are empanelled and sent to the Courthouse, you will receive a certificate of service form the court at the end of your service indicating the dates that you served and the amount of fees you were paid.  If you are a Federal employee and you must have daily certification, please advise the administrative staff on the first day.  You are responsible for the daily notation of the time you arrive and leave and Court Administration must certify this daily.

Payment for Jury Service

State law sets jury fees.  For each day you serve you will be paid the regular jury fee of $10 plus travel expense of 5 cents per round-trip mile from your residence to the courthouse.  An Alabama employer is legally responsible for paying a full time employee’s regular wages while in service as a juror.  Section 12-16-8 Code of Alabama.

Courtroom Conduct

If you are called by name or panel number to be a member of a jury trial panel, you and other members of the panel or panels will be sent to the Courthouse to report to the Ceremonial Courtroom (Mezzanine floor) or the Jury Assembly Room (8th floor).  If you are selected to serve on a jury, you will be assigned to a courtroom.  Once inside the courtroom, you should follow instructions given to you by the court attendant or by the judge.  When a trial jury is selected and you are not a member of that jury, your jury service is concluded.  If you have been selected to sit on a trial jury, generally, you will be permitted to return home at the close of each day’s court session.  If you are unable to stay late due to your reliance on public transportation or a car pool, please notify the judge during the selection process.  If an emergency arises while you are sitting as a juror, consult the judge about your problem.  Should you need to get in touch with your family, the court attendant will be happy to assist you.

Waiting Serves a Purpose

There are occasions when prospective jurors will have to wait, seemingly without a purpose.  Even while waiting, jurors being ready and available are actively serving a purpose.  For example, sometimes parties to a lawsuit will continue to negotiate and settle the matter after a jury panel has been assembled or after a trial jury has been selected.  Sometimes cases are settled during the course of the trial because the parties and their attorneys feel that you as jurors might decide their dispute less to their advantage.  On occasion the judge may need to talk to the attorneys or hear arguments on points of law out of the hearing of the jury.  Often the reason for this delay may not be explained to you.  Please remember that this time is spent discussing and simplifying legal issues.  Cases may even be settled during or because of these conferences.

The Course of a Trial

  1. Selection of a Jury
    1. Voir Dire examination
    2. Challenges for cause
    3. Preemptory challenges (striking of the jury)
    4. Seating of the jury and administration of juror oath
  2. Opening Statements:
    Brief outlines by the attorneys to inform the jury what the case is about and what they expect the evidence will be when presented.
  3. Presentation of Evidence
  4. Closing Arguments:
    Summation by the lawyers as to the evidence presented and the reasonable inferences that could be drawn from the evidence.
  5. Judge’s Instruction as to the Law
  6. Deliberations by Jury
    1. Selection of foreperson
    2. Weighing of evidence
  7. The Verdict

The jury’s verdict in both civil and criminal cases must be unanimous.  It must be the independent verdict of each and every juror.

Court Administration

The Presiding Circuit Judge directs all administrative activities of the court and is assisted by the Court Administrator and staff.  A most important area is the general management of the jurors serving each week.  Court Administration will work with you during your service to assure that your questions regarding jury service and the jury process are answered; that you are available when needed for trial jury selection; that your daily attendance is documented; and they will prepare your check for payment of jury service in accordance with the law.

Video-Intercom

If you are in the Jury Assembly Room and Court Administration staff is not personally available, you can reach that office at any time from the video-intercom system located in Jury Assembly near the door to Court Administration.  Simply press the button and someone will respond to your call as quickly as possible.

Personal Emergency

If you have a personal emergency while assigned to a courtroom, you should notify the judge in the case.  Otherwise, you should immediately notify Court Administration.  The office is located behind the Jury Assembly and the telephone number is 574-8603.  If you have a personal emergency after you are released for the day and cannot report as instructed, you must report by telephone as soon as possible, but not later than 8:15 a.m. the next morning.  You must report the nature of the emergency, a telephone number where you may be reached and obtain further instructions from the Court.  If a family member must contact you in an emergency, they may contact Court Administration at 574-8603.  You will be given the message as quickly as circumstances allow.

Juror Facilities

The Jury Lounge on the 8th floor has food and drink machines and some socially-distanced table seating is available. 

Mobile Government Plaza

The Mobile Government Plaza, occupied in January 1995, houses facilities for many government services provided by the courts, the District Attorney, and the city and county governments.  The courts and most related justice departments are located in the Courts Building located on the north side of the Plaza.

Smoke-Free Facility

The entire Mobile Government Plaza complex is designated as a smoke-free facility by Resolution of the Mobile County Commission.  This Resolution prohibits smoking in all areas of the Plaza and anyone found smoking would be issued a citation of violation by the County.  Jurors who smoke may exit the building only at times designated by the Court.  You will be advised of specific periodic breaks throughout the day as the court schedule allows.

Food and Drinks

The Mobile County Commission has restricted consumption of food and drinks to very limited areas in Government Plaza.  Open food and drink containers are not allowed in any public areas, including courtrooms, hallways and elevators.  Jurors are permitted to bring food items in closed containers into the building; however, they may only be opened and consumed while in the Jury Lounge.  Snacks and soft drinks are available from vending machines in Jury Assembly.  A concession stand is located in the Atrium on the ground level.  If you are in jury service during the lunch period, you will be instructed when you may leave for lunch and what time you must return.  There are numerous affordable cafes and restaurants within walking distance from the Courts Building.  You also may choose to bring a packed lunch to eat in the Jury Lounge; however, refrigerators and microwave ovens are not available in the building.

Building Security

Public access to the Courts Building is restricted to provide a level of security for all entering the building.  Public entry to the building is available only through the security screening station located outside the elevator lobby in the Atrium.  Court Police officers attend metal detection machines that scan for items such as guns, knives and other items that could become potential weapons.  These items are not allowed in the building and temporary safekeeping is not provided.  Anyone carrying such objects will be asked to leave and return without them.  Court Police also patrol the building.  If you encounter an unsafe situation or if you have an emergency in the building, locate the nearest officer or contact Court Police at 574-4849 or 574-4738.

Emergencies Arising In The Plaza

In the very unlikely event that an emergency arises in Government Plaza, certain court staffs have been trained to execute a plan designed to assist you in evacuating the building.  Please remain calm and quiet, listen, and carefully follow the directions provided to you.  If you are serving in a courtroom, you will receive instructions and guidance from the Judge’s staff.  If you are in recess in the hallway you must report to the courtroom immediately.  If you are not serving in a courtroom and are on the Eighth Floor, you must immediately take your assigned seat in Jury Assembly and wait for instructions from Court Administration staff.

IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to evacuate from the building without assistance from trained staff.  The public elevators may not be in service.

Updated handbook coming soon.