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July has been designated as Juror Appreciation Month in an attempt to raise awareness of jury service and its importance.

Jury service has been used as a method of settling legal disputes for more than 200 years. Bladen County Clerk of Superior Court Niki Dennis said jury service is very important and she notes potential jurors often have questions about the jury selection process.

North Carolina does have some requirements you must meet in order to serve on a jury. They are:

*You must be a resident of the state of North Carolina and a current resident of the county you in which you will serve as juror.

*You must be at least 18 years old and physically and mentally competent.

*You must not have a felony conviction or have pleaded guilty or “no contest” to a felony charge. If your citizenship rights have been restored, then you may serve as juror.

*You cannot have served as a juror any time during the last two years or served as a grand juror during the last six years.

*You must be able to understand the English language.

Dennis said folks often wonder if they can have their jury service postponed or if they can be excused from jury service. The answer is ‘yes.’ A potential juror is allowed to request a deferment if they have a strong enough reason such as a disability which could prevent them from serving. You can also be excused from jury service if you have served as a juror within the past two years or if you have served a complete term as a grand juror in the past six years.

Should a person who is summoned for jury duty not report, they could face a fine and be found in contempt of court.

Another question jurors often have is how much they will be paid while serving on the jury. In North Carolina, a trial juror receives $12 for the first day and $20 per day thereafter. If a jurors serve for more than five days, they are paid $40 per day. Those selected for Grand Jury services are paid $20 per day. Jurors are not reimbursed for travel expenses.

To learn more about serving as juror, you can contact the Bladen County Clerk of Court’s office at 910-872-7200.

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