If you have received a grand jury summons for the week starting September 7, 2021, please see the announcement below from the Honorable Louisa Abbot, presiding Judge:
In re CANCELLATION of Grand Jury Summons for September 7, 2021
Dear Potential September 2021 Term Grand Juror:
Due to the continuing spike in Covid-19 infections in Chatham County, the Superior Court will not select a new grand jury for the September 2021 Term. Therefore, you do not need to appear on September 7, 2021, at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum for Grand Jury selection.
Please do not forget that jury service is both a duty and civic responsibility. Your willingness to serve our system of justice is commendable.
You are expressly relieved from compliance with the Summons and from any further obligation for appearing for grand jury service unless summoned in the future.
Very truly yours,
Louisa Abbot, Judge
Superior Court of Chatham County
Grand Jurors are usually drawn quarterly from the master list of potential jurors provided to Chatham County by the State of Georgia's Council of Superior Court Clerks. This master list of potential jurors is the same one from which trial jurors (sometime called “petit” jurors) are selected. The requirements to serve as a Grand Juror are basically the same as for a trial juror. In addition to the basic requirements for serving as a trial juror, Grand Jurors when summoned must have resided in Chatham County Georgia for at least six months. Also, they must not be holding or have held an elected office in state or local government during the previous six months.
Citizens summoned for grand jury service are usually instructed to report on the first Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday) of the term of court for which they have been summoned. On the first reporting day, twenty-three to twenty-six Grand Jurors are chosen to serve for a three month term. Those citizens who are chosen to serve as Grand Jurors usually report every Wednesday for three months. The Superior Court Judges rotate the responsibility of presiding over Grand Jury every six months.
The summonses for Grand Jury service are sent out approximately a month ahead of the reporting date with instructions to contact the presiding judge if someone summoned has a problem serving during that term. Only the judge presiding over the grand jury may excuse or defer someone from grand jury service. All requests for excusal or deferral from Grand Jury Service must be put in writing to the presiding Judge by the deadline date specified on the Grand Jury summons you receive. The presiding judge will respond in writing to all requests. There are alternate Grand Jurors chosen who will be able to fill in for any Grand Juror who may need to miss one or two meetings during their term of service. Therefore, during the District Attorney’s Grand Juror orientation that follows being sworn or affirmed as a grand juror, you should inform them of any meeting date that you may not be able to attend. They will then possibly be able to schedule an alternate to replace you for that meeting day.
Questions concerning the grand jury summons and procedures, may be directed to someone in the Jury Service Division. You may contact someone in Jury Service at 912-652-7170, Monday through Friday between 2 pm and 4:30 pm. Please keep in mind that Jury Service personnel cannot defer or excuse anyone from grand jury service.
The Grand Jury will meet under the advisement of the District Attorney once the members for the current term are selected.
Click here for the Grand Jury Service Fact Sheet