- Elizabeth Stern
Called to jury service? Here's what you should know!
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
The District Clerk’s Office sends jury summonses randomly from a database of all Harris County adults who hold either a Texas Driver’s License, Texas ID or Harris County Voter Registration. Summonses are delivered by the US Postal Service to your home address, and unless you qualify to claim one of the exemptions, you are expected to comply. Exemptions are available to caregivers of young children or other dependents, students enrolled in higher education, and people over age 70, who have the choice of whether or not to serve. There are some disqualifications, also, which are outlined on the summons.
One of the new technologies introduced during Marilyn Burgess’s tenure is convenient online registration, which allows jurors to acknowledge and schedule their service, claim an exemption or disqualification, and allows the District Clerk’s office to send convenient text and email communications. This registration system offers the added benefit that fewer jurors need to be called for any given day.
Jury assembly is in downtown Houston at the Jury Plaza located in the center of the courthouse complex near the Criminal Justice Center and Civil Courthouse.
Jurors have always had the privilege of free passes on the Metro public transit system, and now they also have access to free downtown parking and complimentary coffee. Jurors selected to serve in a trial also receive a complimentary lunch.
Marilyn Burgess was the 2021 recipient of the prestigious J. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation from the National Center for State Courts. Among the many reasons she received the award was her Stand For Justice campaign to promote jury service, aimed at increasing appearance rates and minority participation in jury pools. She continues to work toward the goal of impaneling juries that reflect the diversity of Harris County’s population.