Honorable Carl F. Gerds III
38th District Court
In the State of Michigan, a jury trial is a matter of right in criminal cases. In civil law suits, a jury trial is an option available to the parties, but there is a required fee for requesting a jury trial in a civil law suit. In Michigan, juries are made up of six citizens, except for criminal felonies (offenses in which a convicted defendant may be sentenced to a year of more in prison), which have twelve person juries.
How was I selected for jury service?
The jury selection process is a random process from start to finish. Initially, your name was among those from Macomb County randomly selected from the State of Michigan drivers' license and state identification lists. From the initial pool of juror candidates received from the State, the Macomb County Jury Commission issues qualification and personal history questionnaires to a randomly selected sample. Upon receipt of the completed qualification questionnaires, the Jury Commission reviews and qualifies potential jurors according to law. Questionnaires for a random pool of qualified jurors from Eastpointe are then forwarded to the 38th District Court for summoning.
What can I expect as a juror at the 38th District Court?
The 38th District Court conducts jury trials during one week each month and uses a “one week – one trial” jury system. This means that your term of service will last for the duration of the selection process (a maximum of one week, but typically 1 – 3 days) or the duration of one trial if you are seated on a jury. District Court trials are for misdemeanor criminal offenses (offenses in which a convicted defendant may be sentenced up to a maximum of 1 year in jail) and civil law suits in which the amount in dispute is less than $25,000. Jury trials for these types of cases generally last anywhere from 1 day to 1 week, although occasionally a trial may continue beyond 1 week.
The 38th District Court has one judge: the Honorable Carl Gerds. During a typical jury week, the court schedules criminal, traffic and civil cases for that jury trial day. Jury trials are generally scheduled several months in advance and may have as many as ten jury trials originally scheduled for a given day. Between the time the cases are scheduled and the actual selection of a jury, the judge does everything he can do to resolve the cases short of jury trial. Many of the cases are resolved by settlement, plea or dismissal, which saves money for the community and time for prospective jurors. Typically, only a few or the originally scheduled cases are left for the judge on the day of jury selection.
Of those that are left on jury selection day, many reach resolution without an actual jury trial taking place. The fact that the jurors are in the courthouse and ready for selection often drives parties to the realization that reaching an agreement on their own – even with compromise – is more attractive than leaving the decision to an objective third party like a jury. In other words, your mere presence as a juror helps to resolve disputes, even if you never get in the jury box.When you arrive at the 38th District Court on the date and time for which you have been summonsed, you will be checked in by the court staff provided an information pamphlet that explains what is expected as a juror. You will then be escorted into the jury orientation room. The court staff will then verify Juror check-in list and advised all parties present
If I have a schedule conflict with when I've been summonsed, can I get rescheduled?
If upon receiving your summons you realize you have a scheduling conflict (for example, a pre-purchased or planned vacation, a scheduled medical procedure, a business trip, etc.), contact the 38th District Court Jury Clerk for information on rescheduling your service. No more than one postponement will be granted.
Will serving on jury duty affect my job?
Your employer is required by law to release you for jury service. An employer who discharges or disciplines or threatens to discharge or discipline an employee because that person is summoned for jury duty may be charged with a misdemeanor and also may be punished for contempt of court. In addition, an employer may be charged with a misdemeanor if he/she forces an employee to work any number of hours during a day which, in combination with the hours served as a juror that day, exceeds the number of hours normally and customarily worked by the person during a day (unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement).
Although not mandated by State law, many employers today will continue to pay you during your jury service. As mandated by law, jurors receive not less than $25/day ($12.50/half day) for the first day of jury service; $40/day for each subsequent day ($20/half day).
What if I've moved do I still have to serve?
If you have moved outside the jurisdiction of the 38th District Court Eastpointe you may be excused from service by forwarding a copy of your driver's license with the change of address noted by the Secretary of State's Office to the Jury Clerk.