Frequently Asked Questions

General

Pursuant to Lake County policy and Indiana State Law, the county will pay jurors a fee of $20 for appearing for selection and $40 for each day of physical attendance on a trial.
The most common complaint of jurors everywhere the seemingly endless waiting. The time you spend waiting is being used by the judge and attorneys to resolve cases. Many cases are resolved once the parties realize that potential jurors are in the building. The staff of the Court Administrator's Office will do their best to keep you well informed. Your attendance is crucial to our judicial process and is greatly appreciated.
As a general rule, jurors go home at the end of the day and return the next morning. There are occasions on which the court will be required to "sequester" a jury on a criminal case during deliberations. In extremely rare instances, a jury may be sequestered during the trial itself. "Sequestered" means that jurors do not go home at the end of the day, but stay in a hotel, where their access to other people and to radio and television news or newspapers is limited. The judge or bailiff will inform you in advance if there is a possibility that the jury may be sequestered.

The expense of all meals and lodging for sequestered jurors is the responsibility of the Lake Superior Court.
Yes. In many cases, parties seek to settle their differences to avoid the expense and time demanded by a trial. Thus, while several trials may be scheduled for one particular day, the court cannot be certain until that morning, and sometimes afternoon, which cases will actually require a trial and a jury.

Even if not selected to serve on a jury, the juror's role is vital. Many times, it is the very presence of a jury-which signifies the trial process and an uncertain outcome-that encourages parties to resolve issues, reach a settlement, or enter a plea.

A number of people will be in the courtroom in addition to the judge and jury. The list below explains who they are and what they may be doing.

Plaintiff - In a civil case, the plaintiff is the party who initiates the lawsuit by bringing the case to court.

Defendant - In a civil matter, the defendant is the party who is being sued. In a criminal case, the defendant is a person who has been charged with a crime.

Attorneys or Counsel - In certain cases, including criminal cases, attorneys representing the plaintiff, the defendant or the government are referred to as counsel. An attorney representing the government in a criminal case is called the prosecuting attorney.

Court Reporter - The court reporter records the official record of the trial by recording every word which is spoken. This record will be converted into an official transcript of the trial. 

Court Security Officer - The court security officer keeps order, maintains the security of the court, and assists the judge and the jury as needed.

Witnesses - Witnesses provide testimony, under oath, as to what they have seen, heard or otherwise observed regarding the case.

Interpreter - Interpreters, under oath, provide language interpretation for the court on behalf of a non-English speaking or hearing impaired party or witness.

Spectators - Spectators are members of the public who are generally permitted to observe court proceedings. Often spectators include representatives of the media
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Indiana State law prohibits an employer from subjecting an employee to penalties or termination of employment due to jury service- so long as the employee notifies the employer upon receipt of the jury summons. The question of salary and wages is a matter to be addressed between the juror and the employer.

In order to verify to an employer that jury service was performed, jurors may request that court staff provide them with an attendance/work slip.

Jurors who believe that they have been penalized by their employer due to jury service should contact the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.

Lake County provides .40 cents per mile for each round trip made to the juror’s court location as reimbursement for transportation costs. There is no need to keep track of your mileage.

The jury rules do allow for a deferment of your service. The request must be made in writing through our online deferment/excuse forms available at http://ijuror.lakecountyin.org or  faxed or emailed or via your appearance in person. The fax number is (219) 755-3004. The email address is JURYDUTY@LAKECOUNTYIN.ORG  Only one postponement will be granted, normally for a period of 2 weeks to 6 months. 

  • Matters of Conscience/Religious Convictions: Any request to be excused based on matters of conscience will be handled during jury selection and determined by the judge and attorneys.
  • Request from Employer: The Office of the Court Administrator may not accept any request for deferral from an employer.
  • Work Related Excuse: A work related excuse is not a valid reason for postponement.
  • Full Time Student: As there are no exemptions, students must select an alternate date to serve during school recess.
  • Transportation and Childcare issues are not acceptable reasons for deferral.

 

Any Juror who fails to report may be called in on an Order to Show Cause to explain their absence. Any failure to report may find you in contempt of court, which is punishable by up to 3 days in jail or $100.

Prospective jurors are randomly selected from a combined list including Department of Revenue and Bureau of Motor Vehicles information. Throughout the year, prospective jurors are selected randomly and sent a juror qualification questionnaire. This questionnaire must be completed by the prospective juror. Those individuals who "qualify" for service - a US citizen and county resident; at least 18 years of age; who are able to understand and communicate in English; are not suffering from a physical or mental disability or under a guardianship because of mental incapacity; have not had their rights revoked due a felony conviction and are not a law enforcement officer (criminal trials only) must report for service as summoned.

On July 1, 2006, juror exemptions were eliminated statewide. This means that no automatic exemptions are available by statute. All jurors must respond to the court as to why they cannot serve and the determination as to defer a juror's service now falls completely on the Court.

If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation to allow you to serve, the court will try to provide the services or auxiliary aids that you need. The kinds of auxiliary aids that are generally available include assistive listening devices, and sign language interpreters.

Any access questions or requests for assistance can be conveyed to the Jury Administrator, Bailiff or Judge in the courtroom where you are assigned.
The Constitution of the United States and the State of Indiana guarantee defendants in criminal cases and litigants in civil cases the right to a trial by jury. Indiana law states that all litigants have the right to juries selected from a fair cross section of the community and that all eligible citizens shall have both the opportunity and obligation to serve.
The Indiana Supreme Court recently implemented a policy to reduce the length of service to the shortest possible term.

A person who appears for service as a petit juror services until the conclusion of the first trial in which the juror is sworn, regardless of the length of the trial or the manner in which the trial is disposed. A person who appears for service but is not selected and sworn as a juror completes their service when jury selection is completed and they are released by the court.

Some trials may last longer than three days. The judge or attorneys will inform the prospective jurors of the expected length of the trial.
Jurors very often have to wait while important pretrial activities take place before they are assigned to a particular jury panel. Reporting jurors are encouraged to bring along books or newspapers to read during breaks. Cell phones are not permitted in the Courts Building in Crown Point or East Chicago. However, once the jury selection or trial begins, reading materials and the like are not permitted unless authorized by the trial judge.

Contact

 2293 N. Main Street
Crown Point, IN 46307

Phone: 219-755-3494
Fax: 219-755-3004

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