Jury Duty

Thank you very much for your jury service. It is a very important responsibility that each citizen has, and is vital to a fair and impartial court system in Minnesota.

Types of Cases

Juries are called to hear two types of cases: civil and criminal.

Civil Cases
Civil cases involve disputes between people or organizations. They may involve property or personal rights, such as landlord/tenant disputes, auto or personal injury accidents, product warranties, contract disputes, and harassment and employment disputes.

Criminal Cases
Criminal cases are filed in District Court by the State of Minnesota against individuals or corporations accused of committing crimes. Those who are charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony have the right to have a trial by a jury.

Duration & Schedule
The length of each jury term in Otter Tail County is two months long. The six jury terms that are scheduled each year are set up every two months, beginning in January of each calendar year. The jury terms are:
  • January / February
  • March / April
  • May / June
  • July / August
  • September / October
  • November / December
Responding to a Jury Notification
Once you have been notified that you have been selected as a juror for a specific jury term, you will be notified by Otter Tail Court Administration each time that you are required to report for jury duty during your two- month term. Court Administration will notify you by letter, usually at least one week before the trial, that you are needed for jury duty.

The letter will contain all of the information that you need in order to report for jury duty as required, including the date, time, and location of the trial. You do not need to report for jury duty during your two-month term unless you receive a letter from Court Administration telling you to do so. Again, you will be notified by Court Administration each time you are to report for jury duty during your jury term.

You will be compensated by the State of Minnesota for the times that you report in for jury duty during your two-month jury term. You will receive $10 for the day and $.27 a mile for your round-trip mileage to the courthouse each time that you report for jury duty. You may be reimbursed for day-care expenses if you have to hire a day-care provider while serving as a juror, when you normally do not need the services of a day-care provider. Day-Care Expense Reimbursement forms are available at Court Administration, and staff is happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the reimbursement of day-care expenses.

If you are employed, your employer is required by Minnesota law to give you time off for jury duty; however. your employer is not required to pay you for this time off. You will need to contact your employer to find out your organization’s policy regarding this matter.

Excused Jurors
The only jurors who are excused from serving on jury duty are those jurors who provide a doctor’s statement indicating that a medical condition exists that would prevent them from serving as a juror, or those jurors who provide documentation that serving on jury duty would create a financial hardship for them. During the 2-month jury term, jurors may be excused from jury service on a case-by-case basis for medical appointments, planned vacations, or other exceptional circumstances. To be excused from jury service, prior approval must be obtained from the Court Administrator, or her designee.

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