Ocean County Jury Information
Each year, thousands of Ocean County citizens serve as petit or grand jurors, performing a civic duty. A petit jury decides the outcome of a criminal or civil trial. In criminal trials, 12 jurors render a verdict; in civil trials, six jurors can do so. Petit jurors are summoned for a week or less; the average time spent in jury service is 3 to 3.5 days. Our code-a-phone has proven to be a useful communication tool, instructing our jurors on a daily basis. The summoning process is now done under the direction of the Assignment Judge in Ocean County; in previous years, the Ocean County Sheriff would summon grand and petit jurors. The Jury Management Office is responsible for juror payment, a function formerly provided by the Sheriff's Department. Funding is forwarded by the New Jersey State Treasurer to a local bank in Toms River. We can provide letters for employers upon request. Petit Jurors are given Exit Questionnaires upon conclusion of their jury service. If they wish a response, they may sign their name and juror number.
A Grand Jury must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to seek an indictment. The Grand Jury consists of 23 persons who meet once weekly for 16 to 18 weeks, or until discharged by the Assignment Judge. In Ocean County, we maintain two Grand Juries. In addition, a State Grand Jury meets in Trenton to consider criminal matters, presented by the Attorney General's Office.
JURY POOL: grand and petit jurors are selected at random by computer under the direction of the Assignment Judge. Sources for jurors include Ocean County's registered voters, licensed drivers and homestead rebate applications. A prospective juror must be a U.S. citizen, be between 18 and 75 years of age, must not be serving a sentence of incarceration. Jurors must be able to read and understand English. New Jersey statute requires that jurors have no mental or physical disability that would prevent them from jury duty. However, the New Jersey Judiciary does accommodate persons with disabilities and many serve as jurors.
Ocean County is unique in that we provide jurors with a phone system (code-a-phone) for jury service. Jurors can contact the system the night before they are to appear in court to see if they are needed for service. This saves the judiciary thousands of dollars each year and helps eliminate juror waste. The phone number is 732-929-4710.
Our system of justice is imperfect, but it is still the best system for our Nation.