On behalf of the judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit, I'd like to thank you for your attentiveness to the jury summons you recently received. We recognize that this is a trying time in our nation's history and that your life has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our justice system has experienced similar disruption; in fact, jury trials were suspended by order of the Supreme Court of Alabama. However, the Supreme Court has lifted that suspension and jury trials have resumed in Shelby County.
The right to trial by jury is one of our fundamental constitutional rights and a core foundation of our freedom, and it cannot be exercised UNLESS citizens like you make reasonable and necessary sacrifices to protect it.
As we resume jury trials, it is important for you to know that your wellbeing is our top priority. We would never ask you to put your health at risk by serving on a jury. You may have understandable fears about contracting COVID-19 and the law does allow the court to consider your request to be excused from jury service because of health concerns.
Whether you have these concerns or not, you must complete the Online Juror Questionnaire at juror.alacourt.gov within 7 days of receiving your juror summons. The Questionnaire will address your qualification, residency, and health, as well as any COVID-19 concerns you may have. The court will give you further instructions after reviewing the information you provide.
Jury service is one of the most important duties of citizenship that we have in our country. You'll be taking part in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years and stands as the cornerstone of our justice system. We believe that you, like so many others before you, will find jury service to be an educational and satisfying experience.
I hope that this information has allayed any concerns you have about serving as a juror. If not, please contact our Court Administrator, Jennifer Nalu, whom I have authorized to defer your jury service to another time or excuse you altogether. Ms. Nalu's contact information is:
Jennifer Nalu, Court Administrator
112 North Main Street
Columbiana, AL 35051
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If your concerns have been addressed and you are comfortable making the necessary sacrifices to protect and uphold our Constitution, I want to thank you for your willingness to serve, and look forward to seeing you in court!
With sincere regards,
William H. Bostick III
Presiding Circuit Judge
You may park anywhere on the street. There is also a big parking lot behind the courthouse and an annex lot across College Street. All parking in town is free.
A prospective juror must present the summons for jury duty to his/her employer to be excused from work for the days he/she is required to serve. Should you be released earlier than expected, you should return to your job. Alabama law states that a full-time employee will receive his/her usual wages while serving as a juror. A "Certificate of Jury Service" will be provided as proof of jury service for your employer.
State law prohibits an employer from dismissing an employee because he/she is summoned for jury service. If an employee is discharged solely because he/she has been summoned for jury service, the employee may sue the employer in any state court and may be entitled to recover both actual and punitive damages.
The courts have defined "full-time" as the amount of time considered as the normal or standard amount of work time for a given period, such as a day, week, or month. In most employment situations, "full-time" means 40 hours a week. Also, the phrase "full-time employee" may be defined by industry standards, in addition to the standards of that particular community. The Attorney General of Alabama has concluded that the phrase "full-time employee" includes an employee who is paid hourly wages as well as a salaried employee. (See Code of Alabama §12-16-8(c) and Attorney General's Opinion #93-00048)
The law requires that a juror be excused until the next day so the juror may be fully attentive to his/her duties as a juror. His/Her primary responsibility is that of jury service and he/she must be excused from work to perform that service. (See Code of Alabama §12-16-8 and §12-16-8.1 and Attorney General's Opinion #97-00138)
The State of Alabama will reimburse a juror for some of the expenses he/she may incur while serving. A juror shall receive $10.00/day and $0.05/mile for each day he/she is asked to report for service. This reimbursement cannot be deducted/withheld from his/her salary or usual pay.
Jurors will receive a "Certificate of Jury Service" generally within 7 days of completion of jury service. If you or your employer needs documentation sooner, please contact the Court Administrator, Jennifer Nalu (205-669-3781 or ).
Wear comfortable clothing, but dress in a way that reflects the seriousness of your duties. Dress suggestions for men: collared shirts (long or short sleeved) and khakis/slacks. Dress suggestions for women: blouse/sweater and skirt or pants. The temperature throughout the building varies, therefore layered clothing may be most comfortable and convenient.
To qualify for jury duty one must be reputed to be honest, intelligent, possess integrity, good character and sound judgment.
A juror must also:
Jury service may be inconvenient, but the law states that no one is excused unless serving on a jury would present an undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or be required by public necessity. The Shelby County Court has taken a strict interpretation of the law and generally no one is excused unless he/she physically or mentally unable to serve. If you believe you have a good reason to be excused from jury service, notify the Court Administrator as soon as possible (Jennifer Nalu; ; 205-669-3781).
We realize that jury service may be inconvenient and are, therefore, lenient with granting postponements/deferrals of your jury service. If you were summoned to serve at an inconvenient time, please email or call the Court Administrator (Jennifer Nalu; ; 205-669-3781) to request a postponement of service. We generally have two jury terms per month and will work with you to find a more convenient time to serve.
Shelby County summons jurors using records from the Department of Public Safety (i.e., driver's license and non-driver's ID cards). Names are randomly selected by computer and sent to the Court Administrator after the list has been generated and summonses have been issued.
If you have served as a juror in Shelby County within the last three years of receiving a new summons, you may be excused from jury duty. If you believe you are exempt, please contact the Court Administrator (Jennifer Nalu; ; 205-669-3781).
In nearly all cases, jury duty could be as little as one morning or as much as one week. It depends on how many cases are left to try Monday morning and whether or not you get selected to hear a case. We have a call in system where you call in every night after 6:00PM to receive your instructions for the next day. You will generally hear one of three messages: first, we need you to report at 9:00AM and a courtroom to report to; second, we don't need you tomorrow, but please call in the next evening for instructions for the following day; or third, you are dismissed for the remainder of the week. We don't keep you here unless we need you; therefore if we are not selecting a jury or you are not listening to a case, you are free to go about your business.
Generally not. We realize your time is important and that you provide a valuable service; however, occasionally there will be brief periods of time where you may experience a delay. We do our best to minimize this inconvenience. You may bring a book, magazine, laptop, literary reading device (Nook, Kindle, etc.) and the like. Please note, however, newspapers, cameras (except cell phones with that feature) and recording devices are NOT allowed in the Courthouse.
You will pass through Courthouse Security each time you enter the Courthouse. Please note that weapons, sharp objects, liquids, recording devices, cameras (except cell phones with that feature) will not be permitted. If you possess these items, please leave them at home or in your vehicle before entering the building. Note that the use of cell phones in the courtroom is strictly prohibited. Please silence or turn off all cell phones, pagers, electronic devices, etc. before entering the courtroom.
We will usually break at least once every hour and will take at least one hour for lunch each day. Your day will generally begin around 9:00AM and finish somewhere between 4:00PM – 5:00PM. Vending machines are located throughout the Courthouse.
Your time is valuable and we do not want to waste it. In order to maximize efficient use of your time and minimize time you spend in the Courthouse, Shelby County has a juror call-in system. We find that this is the best way to provide reporting information to jurors and be as fair as possible to employers and jurors.
Each evening you will be asked to call the toll-free number above and listen for your panel designation (A, B, C or D) to receive your reporting instructions. This is how we inform our jurors of when and where to report, when not to report and when their jury service is complete. You must call this number each night until you have been dismissed/excused from jury service.
Built in 1854, the Old Shelby County Courthouse is one block from the current Courthouse. It was used as the primary Courthouse until the new Courthouse was built in 1907. The Old Courthouse currently serves as a museum of the history of Shelby County. Visitors are welcome and there is no admission fee.
Located off the main parking lot of the Courthouse and adjacent to the Public Library, the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington houses the largest collection of George Washington memorabilia outside of Mt. Vernon. The Museum welcomes visitors and there is no admission fee.
Located off the main parking lot is the Columbiana Public Library. The Library offers a wide variety of books, a meeting room, computer center and free wi-fi. Visitors are welcome during regular business hours.
Located on Depot Street approximately one block from the Courthouse is the Driver's License Office. You can renew your driver's license, vehicle registration, boat registration, etc. there during regular business hours.
Located on McDow Road approximately 2 miles from the Courthouse is the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. You can renew your pistol license during normal business hours.
Main Street, Columbiana houses many boutiques, shops, restaurants and offices in downtown Columbiana. All shops and restaurants on Main Street are within walking distance of the Courthouse.