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What is a Grand Jury?

A grand jury consists of twelve people whose job is to review criminal complaints and decide if there is sufficient evidence to issue an indictment.  The standard of proof for an indictment is probable cause.

Who can serve on a Grand Jury?

A person can serve on a grand jury in Harris County if he or she:

ü  is a citizen of Harris County, Texas, and qualified to vote in Harris County;

ü  is of sound mind and good moral character;

ü  is able to read and write;

ü  has never  been convicted of misdemeanor theft or any felony;

ü  is not under indictment or other legal accusation for misdemeanor theft or any felony;

ü  is not on probation for misdemeanor theft or any felony;

ü  has not served as a grand juror in the last year;

ü  is not related within the third degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity to any person selected to serve or serving on the same grand jury;

ü  is not a complainant in any matter to be heard by the grand jury during the term of court for which he has been selected as a grand juror.

How is a grand jury selected?

Prospective grand jurors will be selected and summoned in the same manner as for the selection of panels for trial cases in the district courts.

From among those prospective grand jurors who are summoned, the court impanels twelve (12) grand jurors and four (4) alternate grand jurors to serve.

The law requires courts to impanel grand jurors who are “randomly selected from a fair cross section of the population of the area served by the court.”

This means that even if the court summons you, you may or may not be selected to serve.  If you are not selected, this is not a reflection on you, but rather the court’s attempt to comply with the requirements of the law.

Why would I want to serve on a Grand Jury?

Only a small percentage of citizens are privileged to serve on a grand jury.  Those who take advantage of this unusual opportunity enjoy having a close up view of the criminal justice system and participating in the process.  Serving on a grand jury provides a unique education about our criminal justice system.

Grand jurors meet new and interesting people and often form lasting bonds with fellow grand jurors.  We always receive letters from former grand jurors stating what a rewarding experience they had and how much they will miss their fellow grand jurors.  

Grand jurors are also offered the opportunity to ride with a patrol officer from the Harris County Sheriff's Department and take a tour of the county morgue.

When and where does the Grand Jury meet?

Ten new grand juries are impaneled for each of the January and July Terms, with five serving for three months.   Each grand jury meets for two scheduled days a week at 1201 Franklin, 3rd Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.   The grand jury's workday can last as long as a regular work day, but is often shorter. 

Will I be paid for Grand Jury Service?

Jurors will receive $6 for the first day of service. Jurors serving more than one day of jury service will be compensated at a rate calculated by the State Comptroller based upon available funding.

How can I serve on a Grand Jury?

To be eligible for grand jury service, you must attend when summoned for Harris County jury duty.  Attendance does not guarantee that you will be selected for grand jury or trial service.  But you will have exercised the right and obligation of all qualified citizens to help ensure fair and impartial justice for all.

Thank you for your interest serving as a
Grand Juror for the Harris County District Courts!

Updated: March 10, 2016


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