A Right And Duty
The right of every citizen to a trial by jury is one of the most important American liberties. No such trial is possible without jurors. Jury service is a privilege and a duty to one's fellow citizens. Colorado law makes jury service as convenient as possible for the majority of our citizens.
- We use a One-Day/One-Trial jury system. Jurors serve for only a single day, or for the duration of a single trial. On the average, jurors can expect to be at the court between 4-5 hours.
- The Colorado Springs Municipal Court rarely excuses jurors from service. If the prospective jury service date conflicts with an existing appointment, however, the jury commissioner will work with a juror to select a mutually agreeable date for service.
- Citizens are selected for jury service in this court randomly by a computer. The sources used are the list of registered voters and the list of licensed drivers. The master list of jurors is created at the State Court Administrator's Office in Denver.
- Courts with overlapping jurisdiction may each call their citizens to serve as jurors. For example, residents of Colorado Springs may be called for jury service in the U.S. District Court, Colorado's Fourth Judicial District, as well as the Municipal Court. Citizens are not subject to serve more than one time per calendar year.
- To serve in our court, a juror must:
- live within the city limits of Colorado Springs
- be a citizen of the United States of America
- be at least 18 years of age
- be able to understand the English language.
- Prospective jurors will receive a jury summons and questionnaire in the mail. Their answers are used by attorneys to select the final members of each jury panel.
- The jury summons includes general information about jury service, and a jury group number, which is used by the court to adjust the number of jurors needed.
- Specific appearance instructions for each group are recorded the night before jury service and are available by calling (719) 385-5926 after 5:00 PM Be sure to call the night before your appearance date!
Jurors may reach Tammy Cluver, Jury Commissioner, by telephone or e-mail. You may call (719) 385-5926, or contact the main operator at (719) 385-5928. If there is no answer, you may leave a message. These messages are checked daily for your convenience.
Orientation To Jury Service
Citizens summoned to jury service in the Colorado Springs Municipal Court are asked to take a day out of their busy lives and participate in a fundamental obligation of citizenship in our American democracy. A juror’s job is to serve as the ultimate finder of fact in a court trial. If you have been summoned to serve, here is what you can reasonably expect to happen:
- Jurors are instructed to call the court at (719) 385-5926 and listen to a recorded message prior to reporting. This message contains reporting instructions and is updated the afternoon before your jury service date. There are times that not all jurors summoned need to report for service. Calling and listening to this message eliminates the inconvenience of unnecessarily appearing the morning of trial.
- Prospective jurors are asked to report to the jury assembly room (Room 120, which is close to the building entrance on the first floor) of the Robert M. Isaac Municipal Court building by 8:30 AM. Parking is free to jurors (see PARKING below for instructions.)
- All who enter the courthouse pass through a metal detector and security screening. This is done for everyone’s protection – remember, this is a courthouse.
- Upon arrival at Room 120, please check in with the Jury Clerk who will be located to your left as you enter the room. The Jury Clerk will ask for your completed questionnaire, which was included with your jury summons. The Clerk will also validate your parking garage stub and pay you the statutory sum of $5.00 for your service.
- After check-in, you will wait with others in the assembly room. Coffee, donuts, and bagels will be provided. Newspapers will be available, as will cable TV. Secure restroom facilities are located on the east side of the assembly room.
- Courtrooms will begin calling for jurors at about 9:00 am. Municipal court schedules its jury trials on Fridays to assure the best utilization of your time. Generally, two or more courtrooms will be calling for jurors, but, occasionally, only a single courtroom may call. If there are a lot of people in the assembly room with you, you can expect multiple courtrooms to call. It is also possible that none will call on you. Sometimes the mere presence of potential jurors in the building will cause cases to settle. When this happens, you will be permitted to leave early. Even if you do not serve, by simply reporting for service you may help this court close its cases, and your obligation has been met.
- If a courtroom does call for a jury, the jury clerk will call names and assemble the members of the jury panel. A clerk from the courtroom will come down and escort the panel to the courtroom.
- Juries in municipal courts are composed of either three or six people. In addition to the three or six people needed to serve on the jury, the jury panel also has an additional six or seven other members, making the whole panel consist of a total from nine to thirteen. Everyone on the panel will be seated in the first few rows of courtroom benches.
- Questions will be asked of you by the judge as well as by the prosecution and defense (this is called voir dire, which is pronounced vwahr [with a near-silent "r"] deer). The City Attorney represents the City of Colorado Springs and is also called "the prosecution", and sometimes "the City" or " the People." An attorney may also represent the defendant –the person charged with violating the law. Sometimes the defendant will not have an attorney and will represent himself or herself in the trial.
- Defendants in Municipal Court have been charged with violating either a city traffic regulation or city criminal ordinance. Common charges include: speeding, illegal lane changes, driving without insurance, shoplifting, harassment, fighting, etc. The charge against the defendant is contained in a document called a Complaint. While some of these charges may seem minor at first glance, they are very important to the person who has been charged.
- After the questioning has been completed, each side will alternate striking three names from the panel. Those six people and any extra panel members will be excused from service on that jury. The remaining three or six will constitute the jury and will be seated in the jury box. If you are excused from the panel, please do not take offense, as being excused is no reflection on your ability to serve as a juror. In many cases, both sides would like to keep all panel members for the jury; nevertheless, six panel members must be excused. The remaining three or six will constitute the jury.
- Once you are selected to serve as a juror and are seated, you and the other members of the jury will take an oath. The judge will then give you some instructions on what you may and may not do during breaks in the trial. The judge may also be able to give you a better idea of how long the trial is expected to last and may give you the opportunity to make a phone call to inform your family and employer about your selection as a juror.
At the beginning of the trial and throughout the entire process, the judge will give you instructions outlining the trial process. For your convenience, a notebook and pen will be placed by your chair in the jury box, as Colorado law allows jurors to take notes. The judge will also give you instructions about taking notes.
If you are excused from service on a jury:
- Return to the jury assembly room to await a call for another trial in another courtroom. You should know by noon whether or not you will actually be selected to serve on a trial jury.
- Once all trial jurors have been selected for the day, the remainder will be released and are free to leave. The municipal court makes every effort to release jurors as soon as possible.
Free juror parking is located in the parking garage at the Southwest corner of Kiowa Street and Nevada Avenue. The entrance can be found on Kiowa Street, which is a one-way street heading east. Parking is permitted in any space not marked Reserved or Handicapped. Bring the parking garage stub with you and present it to the Jury Clerk for validation when you check in. The validation assures jurors of free parking while on jury duty.
Request for Postponement/Excusal
People from every profession and occupation can be summoned for jury duty and the Colorado Springs Municipal Court rarely excuses jurors from service. No one is exempt; even judges, attorneys, police officers, and military are called. If you are a resident living within the city limits of Colorado Springs, you are eligible for jury duty.
Any illness or medical condition that would prohibit you from appearing for jury duty will require a written doctor’s statement. Additionally, if you are over 70 and have a hardship, you may have cause for an exemption. In either case, please bring the matter to the attention of the jury commissioner by filling out the Jury Request for Postponement/Excusal form prior to the date summoned, or by calling (719) 385-5926. In such cases, we will try to work with you regarding your obligation to appear.