Maryland Courts

Jury Service

Kent County Jury Commissioner
103 N. Cross Street
Chestertown, Maryland 21610

Office hours: Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
410-778-2512 410-7787412 (fax)
Recorded Jury Reporting Instructions after 5:00 P.M. (410-778-2512)

Jury Announcements | FAQs | Helpful Links | Generous Juror Program

Juror Information

The Jury Commissioner for the Circuit Court for Kent County is Ruth Voshell-Russ. If you have any questions or need to discuss your jury service with her, you may reach her by telephone at 410-778-2512. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; the office is closed on Friday.

Kent County Circuit Court is one of fifteen jurisdictions to replace its jury system with a new jury management system. This system offers many advantages to the citizens of Maryland and will improve jury management efficiency in the Circuit Court. A few benefits of the system for prospective jurors is the ability to access their juror information, complete a juror qualification form online, request to be excused or deferred and update their juror profile information twenty-four hours a day.

Kent County has one Grand Jury term, beginning in January and running through December. Grand Jurors generally serve one or two days on the first day of their term and are convened at the request of the State’s Attorney for additional sessions.(Usually three additional sessions throughout the year-long term) Grand Jurors will be given approximately two weeks written notice of the date and time for additional sessions. Grand Jurors are not subject to a call-in system and should appear only when notified.

Petit Jurors, also known as Trial Jurors, generally serve less than 4 times during the one month term of service. The Circuit Court schedules jury trials beginning Monday through Thursday and attempts to avoid scheduling jury trials on Friday, if possible.

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A SUMMONS FOR JURY SERVICE, please complete Part B - Juror Qualification Form, on the back portion of your summons and return it to the Jury Office within ten (10) days of receipt. You may also complete the Qualification Form online at http://mdcourts.gov/juryservice/jurorqualificationform.html.
Please remember to include any documentation required (Codes A - J) with your qualification form
.

Kent County has a convenient automated call-in system for jurors to verify if their service is required. The juror summons provides the information needed to access the call-in system. The phone number for the call-in system is 410-778-2512. Jurors must call after 5:00 p.m. each and every evening, beginning the evening prior to their start date. You may also visit the JURY ANNOUNCEMENT WEB PAGE to see if your service is required. You will need your reporting number from the “Juror Badge” portion of your summons to obtain reporting information. Your summons specifies if you are a Trial juror or a Grand juror. The recorded message will advise jurors as to whether or not they should appear for jury service the next day and will provide additional instructions including the reporting time. Please make certain that you listen to the entire message carefully. Trial Jurors must call in each and every evening (Sunday - Thursday) during their service month to confirm if service is required the next day.

Please note that all excuse requests must be submitted in writing two weeks before the day your service begins. Failure to do so will significantly reduce your chances of being excused for any reason.

Any juror needing auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation is asked to contact the Jury Commissioner ten (10) days prior to scheduled jury service. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Jury Commissioner at 410-778-2512.

Jury service is an important aspect of the rights, privileges, and freedoms we all enjoy as citizens. Your service and participation in this essential part of our judicial system is greatly appreciated by the Court.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long is my jury term?
The term of service is one (1) month for Trial Jurors and one (1) year for Grand Jurors.

How often do I call in?
Trial Jurors should call 410-778-2512 each and every night, Sunday through Thursday, during their service month after 5:00 p.m.

What happens when I call the Juror Information Line?
Please listen for instructions for your reporting number.  Your reporting number can be found on your juror badge. You do not report for jury service unless the recording instructs you to do so (This includes your first day of jury service).  Jurors should call 410-778-2512 every evening, Sunday through Thursday, after 5:00 p.m. to check your reporting status. Please listen carefully to the message as the reporting time varies.

How long will I be there?
Most jury trials last 1-2 days.  If a trial is scheduled longer, the presiding judge will address this in the courtroom during jury selection. You may advise the judge if you have a conflict with your schedule.  In general, prospective jurors will know by noon if jury selection will occur in a courtroom; however, you should make arrangements to be here all day just in case you are selected.

Can I serve on more than one trial?
Yes, jurors may serve on multiple trials as you are on call for the entire month.

Where do I report for jury service?
The Kent County Courthouse is located at 103 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, Maryland. All jurors must check in every time you appear in order to receive credit for reporting. You will be asked to provide your signature on a juror sign in and payment verification sheet.

What is the dress code for jury service?
Out of respect for the Court; please, do not wear jeans, t-shirts, shorts, gym clothes, tank tops or half shirts.  If you have a job where uniforms are required, please do not wear the uniform for jury service.  You are here as a citizen for a court proceeding.   Please do not wear employer badges or name tags from your place of employment.

Where do I park?
A parking permit, for use at metered parking, is provided for your use and convenience during jury service.

Is there a special entrance to the Courthouse?
Yes, for security reasons everyone must enter the Courthouse at the Cross Street entrance of the building.  All visitors entering the building must pass through a metal detector and bags are subject to search.   No weapons/knives of any kind are permitted.

Can I bring my cell phone or PDA into the courthouse?
Please note that the possession and use of cell phones and other electronic devices may be limited or prohibited in designated areas of the court facility. Cell phones and other electronic devices MUST be turn off while in the court rooms.

Can I get documentation for my employer proving my jury service?
Yes. Certification of your jury service will be provided upon request.

How much does jury service pay?
Jurors will receive $25.00 per day. You will be paid for reporting whether or not you are selected for a trial. You may also elect to donate your pay for jury service to the Kent County Foster Care program through the Generous Juror Program.

Can my employer fire me for appearing for jury service?
No. Under Maryland law, your employer cannot fire you (or coerce, intimidate or threaten to fire you) if you lose time from work because you went to court for jury service or had to be in proximity to the court for jury service.

Also, your employer cannot fire you (or coerce, intimidate or threaten to fire you) if you exercise your right not to work on a day on which you are on jury service. Specifically, if you are summoned and you appear for jury service for 4 or more hours, including traveling time, your employer cannot require you to work an employment shift that begins:

  • On or after 5 P.M. on the day of your appearance for jury service; or
  • Before 3 a.m. on the day after your appearance for jury service.
The laws are Annotated Code of Maryland, “Courts and Judicial Proceedings,” Sections 8-501 and 8-502. Any person who violates these laws may be fined up to $1,000.

Can I be excused if I feel I am medically unable to serve?
A juror can be excused for medical reasons upon receipt of a physician’s note stating the length of time they are unable to serve.  If you have a permanent disability the physician’s note must indicate “permanent” disability.

What do I do if I become ill on the day I am to report for jury service?
You should ask your physician to fax a medical excuse to the jury office at 410-778-7412.   We must have documentation to show the Judge why you are unable to report. Please call the jury office to advise that there is a doctor's certificate coming.  

Can I be excused because I am employed?
Employment is not a reason to be excused from jury service.  It is the duty of every citizen to participate in jury service.   All requests for excusal are to be submitted with your questionnaire within ten days of receipt.

If I am selected for a trial do I still call-in and listen to the message on the jury automated call-in system?
Once you are selected for a trial you must follow the judge’s instructions.  If you are returning for a second day of a trial you should report directly to the jury deliberation room for the courtroom where the case is being heard.  The jury staff will bring your work letter and payment voucher to the courtroom.  You should not call the recording if you are currently serving on a trial.

What is the inclement weather policy?
If the Court should be closed due to inclement weather, that information will be broadcast on WBAL radio and WBAL television, Channel ll. The Court is listed as Kent County Circuit Court, not State of Maryland.

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HELPLFUL LINKS

Trial Jurors may view an informative handbook
http://mdcourts.gov/juryservice/pdfs/trialjuryservice.pdf

Grand jurors may view a Grand Jury Handbook 
http://mdcourts.gov/juryservice/pdfs/grandjuryservice.pdf

Exemption form for Members of the Military
http://www.mdcourts.gov/juryservice/docs/militaryexemption.pdf

State of Maryland Jury Service Website
http://www.mdcourts.gov/juryservice/index.html

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