Jury FAQs

 I received a Summons for Jury Service, what do should I do first?

First; to comply with current Missouri Statutes you must RESPOND to the summons by completing the Qualification questionnaire either online or you may contact the Circuit Clerks Civil office and request a paper one.

https://www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/Click on the icon below to access the Juror Portal and complete your Qualification Form.


How was I selected for jury service?

Jurors are selected by computer randomization of names from a minimum of two government records from either the Secretary of State, or The Department of Revenue, They could use your, personal property tax list, voter’s registration list, and or your driver’s license records. Sometimes you don’t update your current information with these Agencies, so now is a great time to verify your current address.

What constitutes jury service?

There are two ways to complete jury service. The first is to appear in person and serve until you are released, regardless of whether or not you were selected as a juror for a case.  The second is to be summoned and have your service cancelled by the Court.  To find out if your current service has been canceled call the automated message line (417) 256-7505 after 5:00 p.m. the evening before your report date.

How long should I expect to serve on jury duty?

Your term of service is a 2 month period. The two months of your service is printed on the front of your summons.  It ends on the last date of the last month printed.  There are multiple jury trials scheduled a month.  It is common to appear multiple times during your term of service. On the day you are to report, please plan on being at the courthouse the entire day; rarely after 5:00 p.m. The jury selection process is usually completed in half a day. You may plan on the trial starting directly after the Jury has been selected.  The average length of a trial is 1-2 days.  During the selection process, you will be informed how long that particular case/trial is expected to last.

Where and when do I report?

Report to the Howell County Courthouse at the West Entrance of the building located at 106 Courthouse, West Plains, MO  65775. Your first report date and time for your 2 month term is printed on the left front of your “Summons For Jury Service” (yellow card)

To verify your report date and time call the automated message line (417) 256-7505 after 5:00 p.m. the evening before your scheduled report date.  Report time is typically no later than 8:15 a.m. however, some trials are scheduled at a later time.

What happens if I fail to appear for jury service?

A person who willfully fails to appear for jury service is in civil contempt of court. The Court may issue an order directing the person to a hearing where the person would be required to show good cause for failure to appear as summoned.  If the individual fails to show good cause for failing to appear, the Court may impose a fine for as much as $500 and may order the prospective juror to perform community service for a time no less than would have been spent in jury service.  The juror is also re-summoned for jury service.

Where do I park?

Free parking lots are available in the downtown area (see interactive map below).  Please allow ample time for parking.

How should I dress for jury service?

Appropriate dress is required.  Think business casual.  Jeans are allowed, but shorts, tank tops, and graphic tee-shirts are NOT considered appropriate.  Hats are NOT allowed in the courtroom. Temperatures in the courtrooms are kept cool and it is recommended that you bring a sweater or jacket with you.

Cell phones, laptops and electronic equipment: are they allowed?

No. Cell phones, smart watches, tablets, and other electronic devices are not allowed to be brought into the courthouse/courtrooms for Jury Service.  However, they may be left in your vehicle for access during breaks. Keep in mind if you leave the courthouse during a break you will be required to go through security screening before re-entry to any courtroom.

What if there is an emergency and someone needs to contact me?

If someone needs to contact a juror in an emergency, they may call the Circuit Clerk Civil Division at (417) 256-3741, and a message will be delivered as soon as possible by a clerk.

Will the Court pay me for jury service?

You will receive $6.00 plus $0.07 per mile round trip for the first day of appearance, and if selected as a juror an additional $14.00 for each day of service through the end of the trial. You will be issued a payment card when you check in at the Courthouse for Jury Selection. Your daily allowance and mileage will already be preloaded on the card.  You will be given a brochure how to use this card. By the time you leave the courthouse that evening it will be automaticity updated for those jurors who were selected to serve on the jury. The same card will be updated each day you are requested to appear in your two month term of service.

Will my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?

The law does not require an employer to pay regular wages while an employee is serving on jury duty however some employers do.  We suggest you ask your employer for their jury service policy. Do not just assume they will not pay you, They may just surprise you.

Can my employer penalize me for reporting to jury duty?

No!  Missouri Revised Statute 494.460 prohibits an employer from taking adverse actions against an employee because that employee received or responded to a jury summons.  In addition, an employee may not be required to use available leave for time spent responding to a jury summons, time spent participating in the jury selection process, or time spent actually serving on a jury.

I completed jury service within the last 24 months; do I need to serve again?

No.  If you completed Howell County jury service in the last 24 months you are entitled to be excused. Log into the Show-Me Jury Juror Portal website at www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/, complete the qualification form and questionnaire, and select Excuse Code “Served within Last 24 Months.”  If you served under a different name or different address please enter that information.  If you would like to serve again you are free to do so by not selecting the Excuse option.

I received a jury summons for someone who doesn’t live at my address.  What should I do?

Please write “Not At This Address” on the summons card and return it to us by placing it in the mail. It then becomes a legal document and proof of the jurors change of address.

I received a jury summons for a deceased family member.  What should I do?

Log onto the Show-Me Jury Juror Portal website at: www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/.  Click on the Gavel Icon and Using the nine digit ID  on the summons and their date of birth; log into the qualification form and affirm that the summoned individual is deceased. The first question is Are you the person who has been summoned. OR call the Circuit Clerks Civil Office and speak with a Jury Duty Clerk and confirm your knowledge of the death.

Is there an age limit?

You must be 21 years of age to serve as a juror. Pursuant to Section 494.430 (7) RSMo., Any person who is seventy-five (75) years of age or older may be excused from jury service on petit or grand jury service during the qualification process. Please note Howell County welcomes all who still wish to perform their civic duty in our justice system at age 75 or older.

I don’t live in Howell County do I still have to appear for jury service?

Only current residents of Howell County are eligible for jury service. If you do not live in Howell County Please log into The qualification process  at www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/, complete the questionnaire and be sure to update your name and address information.  If you enter an email address or cell phone number we will notify you of your disqualification.  DO NOT appear for jury service. Proof of current address will be required.

I am a medical professional must I report for jury service?

Any person licensed as a health care provider as such term is defined in Missouri Revised Statute 538.205, may be excused, if such person provides a written statement to the Court certifying that he/she is actually providing health care services to patients, and that the person’s service as a juror would be detrimental to the health of the person’s patients. Use the Show-Me Jury Juror Portal website at www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/ to notify the jury office of your status, and upload your certified credentials.

Reporting for jury service would cause a financial hardship for me, my family, my business or my employer.  Can I be excused?

Because of the importance of assuring that individuals from throughout the community participate in the jury process.  The Court generally does not excuse individuals based on financial hardship prior to Jury Selection.  Instead, hardships are discussed during jury selection for a trial.  If you believe your circumstances fall within the provisions contained in Missouri Revised Statute 494.430 you need to request an excuse on the Show-Me Jury Juror Portal website at http://www.courts.mo.gov/jurorportal/.  Be specific and provide information such as business name and type, financial, medical, and/or other proof regarding your hardship.  If postponing your service to a later date would help you to be able to make arrangement you have the right to a one time postponement.  For further information on postponements please see next question and answer.

This is a bad time for me to perform jury duty.  Can I get a postponement?

Yes. Each prospective juror is entitled to one postponement.  With a timely request, a postponement date may be between 6 weeks to six months of the original summons date.  Exception: Full-time students of any accredited institution may be postponed up to twelve months from their original summons date.

You will be required to serve on your new postponed date.  To request a postponement, please contact the Circuit Clerks CIVIL office. Or submit a written request to the Jury Commission.

You will receive a new summons approximately three weeks before your new report date.

I am a nursing mother.  Can I be excused?

Yes.  Nursing mothers may submit A written statement from her physician certifying she is a nursing mother.  Doctors my submit requests directly to the courthouse via fax.

I am a stay-at-home parent with children that are not yet in school or the caregiver to a disabled person.  Can I be excused?

The Court generally does not excuse individuals based on financial hardship prior to Jury Selection Day.  Instead, hardships are discussed during jury selection for a trial.  If you believe your circumstances fall within the provisions contained in Missouri Revised Statute 494.430. You may file a written request to the Jury Commission.  Be specific and provide information such as financial, medical, and/or other proof regarding your hardship.  Postponing your service to a later date may help you to make arrangements.  Each person has the right to a one-time postponement.  For further information on postponements please call the Circuit Clerks Civil Office at 417-256-3741 x1 x2

Is childcare provided?

No. The Court does not provide childcare services. Please DO NOT bring your child(ren) when reporting for jury service.  Your childcare arrangements should be made prior to reporting for jury service.

Is lunch provided?

Lunch is NOT provided for jury selection; however, a lunch break will be given.  Light snacks, coffee, tea, sodas, and water bottles are provided.  Dinner will be served to the Jury when a trial runs late.  (times are determined by presiding Judge) Lunch and dinner will be provided for the second and any consecutive days of the jury trial.  There is a snack vending machine in the courthouse and several restaurants located within easy driving distance of the courthouse.  If you choose to bring your lunch, do not bring metal cutlery, it will be confiscated by security personnel. If you need accommodation for any special dietary needs, please call (417) 256-3741 at least one week in advance.