What you need to know now that jury duty has resumed in Harris County

A gavel
A gavel (WDIV)

HOUSTON – The Harris County District Clerk announced Monday that jury duty has officially resumed.

Thirty summoned jurors showed up to the 9 a.m. jury call. Those who preferred not to go in person were given the option to participate in jury calls via Zoom.

According to a news release, the plans are for a limited return to jury service and the clerk will be mailing out “thousands” of summonses for an early July call, with the first appearance set for July 6.

“I know it’s hard to be away from families and work right now,” District Clerk Marilyn Burgess said. “That’s why I am immensely grateful for your selfless participation and I know everyone working for or appearing before the courts feels the same way.”

Since the Texan Supreme Court will not be holding jury trials prior to August, the NRG Arena will be used for Grand Jury trial selection. Exceptions include “calling for Grand Juries for five District Courts and for the Arkema trial, (which is) tentatively scheduled to resume at NRG Arena on July 13,” according to the release.

The district clerk anticipates sending enough summons to get 500 prospective jurors in order to narrow it down to 16 individuals needed for each of the five panels. Jurors for other trials will begin receiving summonses for Aug. 1, according to the release.

Several new safety precautions will be in place to ensure that social distancing and other health guidelines can be followed.

  • Jurors will undergo a health screening, including a temperature check
  • Anyone entering the NRG complex for jury-related activities will be required to wear a mask or face covering.
  • There will be hand sanitizer provided throughout the venue

“The DCO anticipates that jury calls will take place Monday through Friday,” the release said. “We expect a high call volume from the public with questions, so we will incorporate additional employees to accommodate these juror calls.”

Jurors will be provided free parking. For more information, you can visit the Harris County District Clerk’s Office website.

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