Indiana Judicial Center > Committees > Jury > Jury Rules FAQ Jury Rules FAQ

The Indiana Jury Rules can be found at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/jury/.

Contents

General Questions

Question:
Currently, when the court receives no response after sending out the notice and questionnaire the court still send a summons to that person at that address. If any mail comes back and the staff can locate a new address the documents are sent to the new address. If the person does not respond to the summons (which the court has to assume it was delivered) the staff tries to locate the person by telephone and schedule them for a future trial. What about those you cannot locate? How much do you have to do in these situations?

Answer:
The Jury Committee recommends judges develop a local court policy that outlines the steps staff should take to locate jurors who do not respond to the summons and the procedure for documenting the action.

Question:
Is it permissible for the parties to agree to waive the new Jury Rules? If the attorneys for the parties request a waiver of the Jury Rules, can the Judge grant this request? Is it permissible for the Judge to request the attorneys to agree to waive the Jury Rules?

Answer:
No. The Indiana Supreme Court has exercised its authority to supervise the administration of all courts in this state in adopting the Indiana Jury Rules. The Indiana Jury Rules, like other Rules of Court, are to be observed and followed.

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Rule 2: Jury Pool

Question:
What is the Jury Pool?

Answer:
Rule 2 is the process for forming the jury pool. The jury pool is the result of the jury administrator selecting names from lists approved by the Supreme Court for the entire year. Rules 3 and 4 would come into play when drawing names from the jury pool.

Question:
What happens with jury commissioners?

Answer:
The position of jury commissioner no longer exists, but a judge may appoint a jury commissioner as a jury administrator.

Question:
Does Rule 2 prevent the appointment of co-administrators?

Answer:
No. Rule 2 allows the judge to "appoint clerical personnel to aid in the administration of the jury system". The number of jury administrators is within the discretion of the judge.

Question:
Can we randomly pull from separate lists rather than integrating sources into one list?

Answer:
Yes, as long as the system is impartial and not arbitrary.

Question:
Does each court have its own pool or is there one pool for the whole county?

Answer:
The Rules are silent on this issue. The Jury Committee urges judges within a county to attempt to agree on a uniform county procedure. Otherwise, each individual court would have to create its own pool.

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Rule 3: Random Draw

Question:
Jury pools are randomly selected using lists approved by the Supreme Court. Is it necessary that the jury panels be randomly selected from the jury pool that has already been randomly selected as required by Indiana Jury Rule 3?

Answer:
Yes, Rule 3 provides that names shall be randomly drawn from the jury pool as needed to establish jury panels.

Question:
Can we still draw by quarters?

Answer:
The rules do not specifically state when names must be drawn. Rule 3 states that names are randomly drawn "as needed to establish jury panels for jury selection". Therefore, you may draw by the quarter, the month, the year or even by the individual trial.

Question:
Do we still have to maintain proportionality to districts?

Answer:
No, but the draw must be random.

Question:
Once it is decided how the random draw will take place, how should this information be memorialized? By local rule?

Answer:
Except for notice procedures under Rule 4, the Jury Rules do not specify how to memorialize information regarding jury selection. This is a matter for the judges within the county to determine, which could be accomplished with a jury plan, or a local rule.

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Rule 4: Notice of Selection for Jury Pool and Summons for Jury Service

Question:
Can the jury administrator send out a qualification form, notice and summons containing the required information that states a person is summoned as a potential juror for the next year and then when a specific trial comes up prospective jurors will be contacted by phone with the specific date to appear? Would this be considered a proper method for supplementing this notice using telephone communications?

Answer:
Because Rule 4 requires specific information in the summons, the rules do not contemplate summoning a juror by telephone. However, this notice may be supplemented by systems using telephone communications to confirm or designate the precise date and time to appear for jury service provided that the court summons prospective jurors at least one (1) week before service.

Question:
Are there any requirements on how the notice and questionnaires are sent (i.e. by regular mail, sheriff, certified mail, etc.)?

Answer:
Rule 4 states that the jury administrator "shall mail" the juror qualification form and notice. Thereafter the rule uses the word "send" for the summons and questionnaire which would imply mailing. Since certified mail is not specifically indicated, first class mail would be sufficient. It is also possible that personal service by the Sheriff's Department would comply with the rule. The primary intent is content and timing rather than the method of delivery.

Question:
If we send the information required in the summons (i.e. information on parking, directions to court, compensation, etc.) with the notice can we then summons jurors by telephone? If we can not summons jurors by telephone, are there any requirements on how the summons is sent?

Answer:
Because Rule 4 requires specific information be included in the summons, the rules do not contemplate summoning a juror by telephone. However, this notice may be supplemented by systems using telephone communications to confirm or designate the precise date and time to appear for jury service.

Question:
When the jury administrator draws the jury pool does the jury administrator have to send a notice to the whole jury pool within 7 days?

Answer:
No, according to Rule 4 the notice and qualification form are sent within 7 days after "the drawing of names from the jury pool".

Question:
If the jury administrator sends out 500 notice and qualification forms for a quarter and only 300 are available to serve as jurors what can be done if the court runs out of people?

Answer:
If you run out of jurors during a specific draw, you can obtain more from the jury pool and provide notice under Rule 4. Note: Rule 9 provides that jurors who serve "may not be selected for another jury until all nonexempt persons in the jury pool" have been called for jury duty. Also, Rule 6 provides an exemption for those who have served within the 24 months preceding the date of the summons.

Question:
Explain how the single and two tier systems work.

Answer:
Under the single tier system, the notice, juror qualification form, and summons with local information are sent to prospective jurors in a single mailing. This mailing must be done within seven (7) days of drawing the names from the jury pool and at least 6 weeks before jury service begins. Under the two tier system, the notice and juror qualification forms are mailed within seven (7) days of drawing the names from the jury pool. The summons with local information is sent separately at least one (1) week before jury service begins.

Question:
When do you send the questionnaire? With the notice or summons?

Answer:
The Rule states that the "judge may direct the jury administrator to include a questionnaire". It is within the judge's discretion to send a questionnaire at any time, with the notice of service, with the summons, or in a separate mailing.

Question:
What to we tell jurors about attire?

Answer:
The intent of this part of the Rule is to inform jurors of the type of attire that the judge deems appropriate for the courtroom prior to jury selection. Some examples might be:

  1. "Business attire is not required. Casual, comfortable attire is acceptable.";
  2. "Business casual. Due to environment changes a sweater or jacket may be desired.";
  3. "Everyday business attire is suggested and appreciated. You should bring a sweater or jacket for air-conditioned areas.";
  4. "Jurors should dress appropriately in keeping with courtroom decorum."

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Rule 5: Disqualification

Question:
Rule 5 says a convicted felon whose right to vote has not been restored is disqualified from jury service. When is a convicted felon's right to vote restored?

Answer:
According to the election laws, a person convicted of a crime is "eligible to register to vote when the person is no longer imprisoned or otherwise subject to lawful detention". I.C. 3-7-13-5.

I.C. 3-7-13-6 provides that otherwise qualified persons on probation, parole, subject to home detention, or placed in community corrections program are eligible to register and vote.

See also: Ind. Const. Art. 2 §8,I.C. §§ 3-7-13-1, 3-7-13-4, 3-7-13-6, 3-7-46-1, 3-7-46-2, U.S. v. Brown, 235 F. Supp.2d 931 (S.D. Ind. 2002), and U.S. v. McKinley, 23 F.3d 181 (7th Cir 1994).

Question:
What options does the court have in a situation where the court receives a questionnaire containing information that would indicate the person would be unable to render satisfactory service due to a mental of physical condition, but the juror does not mark that disqualification item on their questionnaire?

Answer:
Jury Rule 5 governs disqualifications and states that the court shall determine whether the prospective juror is qualified. It is the belief of the Committee that this determination, if challenged, would be reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.
See e.g. Jones v. State, 540 N.E.2d 1228 (Ind. 1989); Daniel v. State, 582 N.E.2d 364 (Ind. 1991); Smedley v. State, 561 N.E.2d 776 (Ind. 1990); and Morgan v. State, 419 N.E.2d 964 (Ind. 1981). [Note: These cases deal with courts excusing jurors prior to the effective date of the Jury Rules.] In addition, the Committee recommends that the judge can receive and act on additional verified information received from the prospective juror regarding disqualifications. If the parties have already received notice of the panel for their case, then the disqualification should be reviewed with the attorneys on the record.

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Rule 6: Exemption

Question:
Does federal jury duty count as jury service within 24 months?

Answer:
The Rule is silent. The Jury Committee's consensus is that better practice is to recognize federal jury service as equal to state jury service.

Question:
Under Rule 6, does a person actually have to have served to meet the meaning of "completed a term of jury service" or is it enough if they were "on the hook" but not chosen?

Answer:
Term of jury service, as defined in Jury Rule 9, includes those who served as jurors for a trial as well as those who appeared for service, but were not selected as jurors.

Question:
What exemptions are permitted by Indiana statute?

Answer:

Generally, Indiana statutes don’t provide for any exemptions from jury service.  There are two exceptions.  The first permits individuals who are 75 years of age or over to claim an exemption under IC 33-28-5-18(d), effective for jurors serving on or after January 1, 2010.  The second is a narrow exception for individuals who serve on active military duty in the armed forces or Indiana National Guard under IC 10-16-16-1.  Keep in mind the court’s ability to grant a deferral under Jury Rule 7 and the disqualifications listed in Jury Rule 5.  The use of these other rule provisions may be applicable depending on the circumstances raised by the military service person.

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Rule 7: Deferral

Question:
Is there a system or procedure outlining how to keep track of deferrals? If the court sends out notices and questionnaires and a person receives a deferral to the next draw, when during the next draw does that person's name come back up for jury service?

Answer:
Jury Rule 7 permits deferral for up to one (1) year for undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity but does not specify a procedure. The committee recommends judges develop a local court policy or local standing order for deferrals that would include positioning jurors. The Jury Committee agrees that the preferred practice is to summon deferred jurors for the first trial after the deferral period, but judges may choose another procedure. For example, "Deferred jurors shall be randomly positioned in the draw." Or, "Deferred jurors shall be summoned after the draw is exhausted."

Question:
Does allowing deferrals affect the random drawing of jurors?

Answer:
No. "[C]ompletely random selection of jurors is not required as long as the system used is impartial and not arbitrary." Azania v. State, 778 N.E.2d 1253, 1257 (Ind. 2002) (citing State ex rel. Burns v. Sharp, 271 Ind. 344, 348, 393 N.E.2d 127, 130 (1979).

Question:
Can deferrals go into a new jury pool?

Answer:
Yes, Jury Rule 7 permits deferrals for up to one year.

Question:
Do we have to notify them of a right to defer?

Answer:
The rules do not require the court to notify jurors of a right to defer, but the Jury Committee encourages judges to do so.

Question:
Do excuses still exist under the Jury Rules?

Answer:
The rules only provide for disqualifications, exemptions, or deferrals.

Question:
By what methods may a court accept information from prospective jurors concerning deferrals under Jury Rule 7? How do these methods meet the requirements for documentation under Jury Rule 8?

Answer:
There is a wide range of methods courts can use to accept requests for deferrals under Jury Rule 7 including by telephone, by electronic mail, in writing, or in person.

Jury Rule 8 requires facts supporting deferrals to be recorded under oath or affirmation. This provision is broad to permit the courts to develop the processes that work best. Generally, courts do not require a prospective juror to appear in person to request a deferral, but if an individual does appear in person the necessary form can be completed at that time.

Many courts receive deferral requests on forms provided by the court via mail or fax. In addition, courts would be able to send and receive deferral request forms via electronic mail. As for telephone requests, courts have been handling these in a variety of ways including:

  1. by accepting the telephone request with the understanding that the documentation will be submitted to the court by mail or fax;
  2. by taking the telephone call in the courtroom, placing the person under oath on the record to record the necessary information, and ruling at that time;
  3. by accepting an affidavit filed by the staff person receiving the telephone request documenting the information received.

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Rule 8: Documentation

Question:
How should the court handle a situation when a juror calls the morning of the trial and informs the court that the juror cannot attend? Can staff notes be enough to document deferral or does a deferral form have to be completed? If a form is required, does the form have to be mailed or can it be faxed? (The caller also noted that "after the fact" paperwork seems useless when the staff or judge makes notes at the time of the deferral.)

Answer:
Rule 8 requires that facts supporting disqualifications, exemptions, or deferrals be "recorded under oath or affirmation". Deferral forms may be mailed or faxed. The Jury Committee recommends judges develop a local court procedure for deferrals that arise at different time intervals before trial.

Question:
Since Rule 8 requires facts supporting disqualifications, exemptions, and deferrals to be recorded under oath or affirmation, how should courts handle military personnel on active duty? Do courts need to have the prospective juror complete the forms to request a deferral or exemption or can the courts take the word of a family member that the prospective juror is on active military duty?

Answer:
Under these circumstances, the court could ask another person to return the qualification form to the court indicating that the prospective juror is on active military duty with a verified signature. The Jury Committee recommends that the court should also request the affiant to indicate their relationship with the prospective juror.

Question:
If a juror asks to be disqualified, exempt, or deferred for a mental/physical reason, can the court request medical documentation from a doctor?

Answer:
Rule 8 requires facts that support the granting of a disqualification, exemption, or deferral. The level of proof is within the discretion of the judge.

Question:
By what methods may a court accept information from prospective jurors concerning deferrals under Jury Rule 7? How do these methods meet the requirements for documentation under Jury Rule 8?

Answer:
There is a wide range of methods courts can use to accept requests for deferrals under Jury Rule 7 including by telephone, by electronic mail, in writing, or in person.

Jury Rule 8 requires facts supporting deferrals to be recorded under oath or affirmation. This provision is broad to permit the courts to develop the processes that work best. Generally, courts do not require a prospective juror to appear in person to request a deferral, but if an individual does appear in person the necessary form can be completed at that time.

Many courts receive deferral requests on forms provided by the court via mail or fax. In addition, courts would be able to send and receive deferral request forms via electronic mail. As for telephone requests, courts have been handling these in a variety of ways including:

  1. by accepting the telephone request with the understanding that the documentation will be submitted to the court by mail or fax;
  2. by taking the telephone call in the courtroom, placing the person under oath on the record to record the necessary information, and ruling at that time; or
  3. by accepting an affidavit filed by the staff person receiving the telephone request documenting the information received.

Question:
Does Rule 8 refer just to the supporting documentation or does it also cover the juror questionnaires?

Answer:
Rule 8 only refers to records concerning disqualifications, exemptions, or deferrals. This could include juror questionnaires if used for these purposes. Under Administrative Rule 7, juror questionnaires can be destroyed after two years from the date of creation.

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Rule 9: Term of Jury Service

Question:
What is the term of service for grand jurors?

Answer:
Rule 9 specifically refers to petit juror service and does not define the term of service for a grand juror. Because the term of service for a grand juror is not specifically defined in Rule 9, the Jury Committee believes that the term of service for a grand juror remains governed by the grand jury statutes, specifically I.C. 35-34-2-2, 35-34-2-13, and 35-34-2-14.

Question:
When calling jurors can we rotate through the names in a particular quarter until all persons have served or do we have to go through the entire pool first?

Answer:
Pursuant to Rule 9(b), people who have served as a juror or have served until jury selection is complete may not be selected for another panel until all nonexempt persons in that year's pool have been called for jury duty. So you must exhaust the entire pool for the year before you can recall a juror who has already "served".

Question:
What if jurors are summoned and the trial is cancelled before they appear, can we summons those jurors for another trial?

Answer:
Yes. If the jurors were notified that the trial was cancelled, then those jurors could be summoned for another trial because they did not appear in court for jury selection.

Question:
What if the court uses all eligible jurors in the jury pool before the end of the year?

Answer:
Rule 9 states that jurors who serve "may not be selected for another jury until all nonexempt persons in the jury pool" have been called for jury duty. This implies that if you exhaust your jury pool, you can recall persons in that same jury pool to serve on another trial. However, note that Rule 6 provides an exemption for a juror who actually served and Rule 17 provides for a cause challenge for any juror who served on a jury in the same county within the previous 365 days that resulted in a verdict. Also, the rules do not prohibit the court from compiling a supplemental pool in the event a court exhausts the jury pool for that year. One way to avoid this issue would be to increase the size of the jury pool.

Question:
Can all jurors be selected on Monday for all trials that week and then be told when to report for the actual trial?

Answer:
The rules do not preclude the court from selecting a jury on one day and recessing for a reasonable time before commencement of the evidence.

Question:
A question has come up regarding the definition of "service" provided in the jury rules. In essence, there is some concern that it is unfair to jurors who serve in trials (especially lengthy trials) that a potential juror who is not chosen as a juror but who participates in voir dire until the jury is chosen receives the same exemption from service. Is our understanding of the Jury Rules' definition of service correct?

Answer:
Yes.

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Rule 10: Juror Safety And Privacy (See also: Frequently Asked Questions for Administrative Rule 9.)

Question:
The court typically would read the names of the jurors selected into the record or placed in an order after selection, how does this affect confidentiality? What about using juror names during selection?

Answer:
Rule 10 provides that personal information not disclosed in open court is confidential. If juror names were read into the record, placed in a court order, or used during the selection process, then juror names would not be confidential. Many judges refer to jurors by number rather than name particularly in criminal trials.

Question:
How can Rule 8 and Rule 10 be reconciled? Is documentation provided under Rule 8 public? Can reporters have access to the reasons provided or are they confidential under Rule 10?

Answer:
Rule 8 requires facts supporting a request of disqualification, exemption, or deferral be given under oath or affirmation. Rule 10 states personal information relating to a juror not disclosed in open court is confidential. Any information received under Rule 8, not given in open court, would be confidential other than for the use of the parties and counsel.

Question: What juror specific information can be provided to attorneys of record and parties to a case under Jury Rule 10?

Answer: Jury Rule 10 states that personal information of jurors not released in open court is confidential.  Also, Jury Rule 10 provides an exception for the use of parties and counsel consistent with their constitutional and statutory rights. Further, Administrative Rule 9(G)(xii), which describes records excluded from public access, includes similar language.  Note that Administrative Rule 9(B) provides that parties to a case and their lawyers with respect to their cases may have greater access to court records.

Based on the applicable rules cited above, courts should set a policy that allows equal access to juror information for parties and counsel, including pro se litigants.  The court should also instruct and emphasize to parties and counsel the restrictions on re-disclosure and use of this otherwise confidential information.

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Rule 11: Jury Orientation

Question:
When is jury orientation to be conducted?

Answer:
The timing of the jury orientation is within the discretion of the court provided that jury orientation is given prior to the selection process.

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Rule 14: Introduction To Case

Question:
What is meant by juror conduct in Rule 14?

Answer:
Juror conduct could include information in pattern instruction no. 1.01 or any other juror conduct the Judge deems appropriate.

Question:
What distinction was contemplated by "standard of proof" and "burden of proof" in Rule 14?

Answer:
"Standard of proof" refers to the level of persuasion required of a party. "Burden of proof" refers to the party who has the burden to prove the issue.

Question:
Should the "introduction to the case" be recorded by the court reporter?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
Does Rule 14 mean the pattern jury instructions or just basic information should be given?

Answer:
The intent of Rule 14 is to provide prospective jurors with basic information concerning the case prior to jury selection. Pattern jury instructions may be used to comply with this Rule where appropriate.

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Rule 16: Number Of Jurors

Question:
In civil cases, if the parties agree to majority rule, and you have already instructed the jury that they must be unanimous, do you call them back with the a new instruction?

Answer:
Yes, the court should instruct the jury in the presence of the parties and counsel and on the record.

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Rule 17: Challenge For Cause

Question:
How does Rule 17(a)(3) work with the requirements of the ADA?

Answer:
To the extent reasonable accommodations address an ADA issue, then it would be appropriate for the judge to deny a challenge for cause.

Question:
What is "related within the 5th degree" in Rule 17(a)(6)?

Answer:
A chart concerning degree of kindred can be found in the Civil Benchbook in tab 120.00, page 120.03(A).

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Rule 18: Number Of Peremptory Challenges

Question:
What is a "side" for purposes of determining entitlement to peremptory challenges? (the questioner recalled a case allowing the court to permit extra set of peremptories when there would be a division of interest between defendants.)

Answer:
This rule was not intended to change existing law. See: Christensen v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 565 N.E.2d 1103 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), trans. denied (allows separate sets of peremptory challenges to parties on the same side when the court finds that antagonistic interests exist). See also: NIPSCO v. G.V.K. Corp., 713 N.E.2d 842 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), trans. denied; T.R. 47; I.C. §§ 35-37-1-3, 35-37-1-4, 34-36-3-3.

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Rule 19: Oath Or Affirmation Of The Jury

Question:
Under Rule 19, do we have to use this exact language? What about people who consider to "swear or affirm" offensive? How does this fit with Indiana Constitutional provision requiring oath or affirmation to be given in a way that is most meaningful to the person?

Answer:
The judge should use the language in Rule 19 unless it is necessary to alter the mode of administering the oath or affirmation in order to comply with Ind. Const. Art. 1 §8, which states "[t]he mode of administering an oath or affirmation, shall be such as may be most consistent with, and binding upon, the conscience of the person, to whom such oath or affirmation may be administered."

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Rule 20: Preliminary Instructions

Question:
Regarding juror questions, are attorneys then allowed to ask additional questions in response to this new information?

Answer:
Yes, within the scope of the new question.

Question:
Can a judge refashion or rephrase a juror question and ask follow up question of his or her own?

Answer:
Yes. The judge may rephrase a juror's question provided that counsel has the opportunity to object on the record. It is permissible, but not advisable, for a judge to ask follow up questions.

Question:
Can alternate jurors ask questions of witnesses during trial?

Answer:
Yes, alternate jurors should be allowed to ask questions of a witness in the same manner as other jurors.

Question:
Is there a standard procedure for allowing jurors to ask questions during trial?

Answer:
See: Ashba v. State, 816 N.E.2d 862 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004) (discussing procedures for allowing juror questions during trial and the need to explain the procedure to the jury).

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Rule 28: Assisting Jurors At An Impasse

Question:
Does Rule 28 mean that the public should be excluded during the process?

Answer:
No. If the court directs further proceedings with jurors under Rule 28, the counsel, parties and the public should not be excluded.

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