Contacting the Winnebago County Jury Commission:

How can I reach the Winnebago County Jury Commission?
The Winnebago County Jury Commission office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m. We are closed each day between noon and 1:00 p.m. and closed all legal holidays.  Our office telephone number is 815-319-4880 and the fax number is 815-969-0274.  The email address for the Jury Commission is jury@17thcircuit.illinoiscourts.gov.  You may also manage your jury service online by visiting the online juror website at http://ijuror.wincoil.usThe Assembly Room for jurors is located on the fifth floor of the Winnebago County Courthouse in Room 502.  

What is the address where I report for jury duty?
Winnebago County Courthouse
Winnebago County Jury Commission
400 W. State Street - Room 502
Rockford, IL 61101

 

Jury Selection:

How does the Jury Commission obtain names of prospective jurors?

The list of names that is used for jury service is created by a combined list of drivers/voters/identification card and Illinois disabled person ID cardholders in Winnebago County.  Names are randomly selected from the master list by computer.

I cannot serve as a juror.  I would like your office to remove my name from your records.
Under no circumstances is the Jury Commission permitted to remove an individual's name.  However, if you believe you are not eligible to serve, you may call the Jury Commission to discuss your situation.

I am not a resident of Winnebago County or a citizen of the United States.  May I serve?
No. You must be a Winnebago County resident to serve as a juror in Winnebago County. The law automatically disqualifies residents who are non-citizens

 

Jury Service:

Why is jury service important? 
The United States Constitution guarantees all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or economic status, the right to trial by an impartial jury of one's peers. In order to uphold this guarantee, those summoned need to participate in the jury process to ensure every citizen's right to have their case decided by an impartial jury selected from a representative pool of prospective jurors.

Who is entitled to a jury trial? 
Any person charged with a criminal offense has a right to a trial by jury.  Any party in most civil cases may request a trial by jury.  All parties are equal before the law and each is given the same fair and impartial treatment.

What are my duties as a juror? 
Your duty as a juror is to weigh all of the evidence and testimony presented to you during the trial in the courtroom and to decide the outcome of the case based upon the instructions on the law given by the judge and the evidence presented. Your decision must be fair, impartial and free of any bias or prejudice. Jury service is the cornerstone of our judicial system and is essential to the fair administration of justice.

How are jurors selected to go to a courtroom? 
A specific number of jurors referred to as a "panel" are randomly selected by computer.

What happens when I go to a courtroom? 
After your panel is selected and reports to a courtroom, a process known as voir dire begins.  During voir dire, the judge and the attorneys will ask you questions to assure that you have an open mind and can be fair.  After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused from that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge.  If you are not selected, you will return to the Jury Assembly Room and may be sent to another courtroom or released from further service.

How long does jury service usually last if I am a selected juror? 
The length of a jury trial depends on the actual case itself.  The average length of a jury trial is two to three days.  It may sometimes last a week or more.

How long will I serve if I am selected to be on the Grand Jury? 
If you are selected to serve as a Grand Juror, you will serve two days per month for six months.

What is a Grand Jury? 
A Grand Jury is a group of citizens that are selected from a jury pool and sworn by the court.  Grand Juries listen to the evidence presented by the State's Attorney and then determine if that person should be charged or prosecuted for a criminal act if there is probable cause to believe that person has committed the offense.  Different from a Petit Jury, Grand Juries do not determine guilt or innocence. 

What type of trials may I be selected to serve on as a juror? 
There are basically two types of jury trials: criminal and civil.  In a criminal trial, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a civil trial, the jury decides whether any monetary damages should be awarded by a preponderance of the evidence.

Is jury service mandatory?
Yes, the United States Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. Failure to respond to a jury summons may subject you to penalties provided by law.  Persons receiving a summons are obligated by state law to serve as jurors, provided they are:

  • A United States citizen
  • A resident of Winnebago County, Illinois
  • 18 years of age or older

What is the proper dress attire for jury service? 
Jurors should dress appropriately for the courtroom.

What am I allowed to bring to jury service? 
Jury service can require waiting a considerable length of time. For this reason, you may want to bring reading material, office work, or a laptop.  You may bring a lunch or dine at one of the restaurants in the downtown area. Jurors may NOT bring: camera cell phones, video and audio recorders, cameras, chemical sprays, metal belts, large scissors, knives or work tools.

When can the jurors expect to be released for the day? 
Jurors will be dismissed after all court proceedings have been satisfied.

What happens if you fail to appear for jury service? 
Failure to appear for jury service when summoned is a serious matter. You may be held in contempt of court and could be fined up to $500.00.  It is in your best interest to appear if you are summoned to avoid any further court action.

Are vending machines, public telephones and restroom facilities located in or near the Jury Assembly Room? 
Yes. There are vending machines and a public telephone located in the Jury Assembly Room.  Restrooms are located just outside the entrance of the Jury Assembly Room.  Electronic equipment such as cellular phones, laptops, and pagers may be used in the Jury Assembly Room.  All electronic equipment must be turned off prior to entering a courtroom.
 

 

Parking and Transportation:

You may park in one of the nearby pay lots such as the BMO Harris Parking Garage located at 211 S. Church Street or the State Street West Parking Garage located at 301 W. State Street.  You will be responsible for parking costs associated with these garages.  For questions regarding parking garages and fees, contact ABM Parking Services @ (815) 968-5294.

The Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) Transfer Center station is at 501 W. State Street, the main hub for all RMTD routes, is across the street from the courthouse entrance.

IMPORTANT:  Please do not use any time limited parking facilities or you will be ticketed.

 

Work Issues:

Are employers required to pay employees while on jury service? 
No. An employer is NOT required by law to pay employees who are on jury service.  However, many employers do. You need to check with your company's Human Resources Department before serving to see if your company will pay your salary for the days you are serving as a juror. If you DO receive your salary, your company may require a letter of attendance from the Jury Commission.  These letters may be mailed, emailed or faxed upon your request.

How soon after jury service will I receive my juror pay? 
Juror per diem reimbursement is not intended as a daily wage, but as a token of the Court's appreciation of your service. Jurors will receive $25.00 for each day of service.  This reimbursement serves to defray some of the costs of your daily expenses and is paid at the completion of your jury service whether it is one day or one trial. 

Does my employer have the right to terminate or penalize me for performing my American right as a juror? 
No. According to Illinois law, "…An employer may not deny an employee time off for jury duty. No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of the employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service…" 705-ILCS 305/4.1(a). 

 

Excuse from Service:

May I request an excuse from jury service?
Certain categories of persons may be excused from service as a juror if they qualify by reason of one of the following: 

NOTE:  THESE ARE NOT AUTOMATIC EXEMPTIONS.

1) A person whose own health or mental condition would not allow them to serve. (A detailed doctor's statement is required.)

2)  A person who has served as a juror within the last year.

3) A full-time college student whose class would interfere with his/her ability to serve.  (Verification from the school registrar on school letterhead of the inclusive dates of the school term is required.)  Your service will be postponed until after your school term ends.

4) A person who is the primary care giver of a person with a mental or physical disability or a child under age 12 and no reasonable alternative care is feasible.

5) A person who is unable to read and/or understand the English language.

6) A member of the active military service. 

Each request is individually reviewed.  Potential jurors are encouraged to express their request for excusal or exemption truthfully and honestly.  Failure to do so is against the law.  Jury service is a citizen's civic duty and responsibility.

I am unable to judge anyone because of my moral or religious beliefs.  May I be excused?
Illinois law does not provide an automatic excuse from jury service for moral or religious beliefs.  You are still required to appear for jury service.  During the voir dire process, the trial judge will decide whether or not you can serve.

I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of my career, my relatives and/or my friends.  May I be excused?
You are still required to report for jury service.  A trial judge will make the decision in the courtroom if you should be excused.

  

Postponement:

Is postponement of jury service an option?
Yes, the Jury Commission realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time.  Our office will defer service to a more convenient time in most instances.  Jurors may request a one-time postponement after being summoned.  To request a one-time postponement, you may contact the office of the Jury Commission at (815) 319-4880 or you may access the online i-Juror website at ijuror.wincoil.usSubsequent postponements are not permitted unless it is an extreme emergency that was not anticipated.  In the case of an extreme emergency, you must contact the office of the Jury Commission by calling (815) 319-4880.  The i-Juror website does not permit more than one postponement.

 

 

 

Jury service is an important duty of citizenship.  We hope you find your term of service an interesting and educational experience.  We have done our best to answer some of your questions and alleviate some of your concerns.  However, if you feel your individual question has not been addressed, please call the Winnebago County Jury Commission office at (815) 319-4880 for further assistance.