Jury Duty

Did You Know?

  • The City of Southfield was the first city in the State of Michigan to hold a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Walk Celebration in commemoration of the first national holiday observance in 1986.

  • The City of Southfield has more than 700 acres of park land as well as two public nine-hole golf courses. 

  • Southfield Flower Day was developed by the Mayor and City Council to promote curb appeal and beautification efforts throughout the City of Southfield.

  • There are 32 miles of rivers and streams in Southfield, and the City hosted the 1st annual Rouge River Cleanup over 35 years ago.

Jurors serving the 46th District Court are obligated for one day or one trial, whichever is longer. This procedure was designed for the convenience of citizens called as jurors. Each week one jury panel is shared by the three judges of the 46th District Court: Hon. Cynthia M. Arvant, Hon. Shelia R. Johnson, and Hon. Debra Nance. Each Judge can select and conduct a jury trial at the same time. This type of jury selection results in efficient case processing as well tax savings for the community.

Potential jurors are summoned by mail with a date certain. To find out which jurors must report for jury duty, jurors must call the taped message at (248) 796-5822 one day prior to the jury service date, after 1 p.m. (unless directed otherwise). Only those jurors whose names are listed on the recording need appear the next day.

The court recognizes, however, that there may be circumstances justifying temporary deferral of jury duty or complete excusal from the process. The following is offered as a guide.

  • Excusals - A copy of the Michigan statute identifying persons who are exempt from jury duty is provided below. If you are in one of these categories, please send a letter to the court stating the reason you choose to exempt yourself. If you have moved out of the district, you must send a copy of the front and back of your driver's license showing your new address in order to be excused. If you are requesting an excusal due to a language difficulty or personal belief not addressed by the statute, you must appear, if your name is selected, and a determination will be made in court on your service date.
  • Reasons for Deferral of Jury Duty - The following summary of the more common requests includes the documentation required by the court for deferral consideration.
    • Students: Requests for deferral must include a letter indicating the institution where you are currently enrolled and specifying three possible weeks that you could serve during the next six months.
    • Scheduling Conflicts: Approximately 95% of our jury trials are completed in one day or less. We recognize everyone's time is important and have developed an efficient jury system accordingly. However, if you have made plans to be out of town on business or vacation or have other scheduling conflicts, you may send a written request for deferral indicating the reason and the dates that you will be unavailable. Copies of documentation, such as plane tickets or other reservations, would be helpful.
    • Medical Deferrals: Requests must be accompanied by a doctor's letter
  • Time Guidelines for Requests for Deferral or Excusal - All requests for deferral or excusal from jury duty must be made in writing and received by the court at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of jury service. The reason for the request must be clearly specified. Please note that if a deferral is granted, you have only postponed your service. You will receive another summons for jury duty within the next one to two months.
  • Emergency Requests for Deferral - If you need an emergency deferral due to an unexpected circumstance, call the jury clerk immediately. You will also need to write a letter explaining the circumstances. Please note you will be summoned for jury duty again within the next one to two months.
  • First-time Requests for Deferral -A deferral of jury service will be granted upon written request with good cause shown for first-time jurors.
  • Multiple Requests for Deferral - Subsequent requests for deferral of jury service must be accompanied by a significantly higher level of documentation, such as a letter from an employer or copies of travel ticket or reservation confirmation before the request will be considered.

MCLA 600.1307a Jurors; qualifications, age exemption, service

  1. To qualify as a juror a person shall:
    1. Be a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older, and a resident in the county for which the person is selected, and in the case of a district court in districts of the second and third class, be a resident of the district...
    2. Be conversant with the English language.
    3. Be physically and mentally able to carry out the functions of a juror. Temporary inability shall not be considered a disqualification.
    4. Not have served as a petit or grand juror... in a court of record during the preceding 12 months.
    5. Not be under sentence for a felony at the time of jury selection.
  2. A person more than 70 years of age may claim exemption from jury service and shall be exempt upon making the request.
  3. For the purposes of sections 1371 to 1376 a person has served as a juror if that person has been paid for jury service.

All requests for deferral (postponement) must be in letter form and received by the court no later than 10 days prior to the scheduled service date. Any requests for excusal from jury duty for medical reasons must be accompanied by a doctor's letter certifying same.

The cooperation of every citizen is necessary if our system of justice is to function fairly and efficiently. Refusal or failure to appear for jury duty could result in fine, jail term or both, for contempt of court.

Questions about jury service can be directed to the Jury Clerk at (248) 796-5822.