Jury Services FAQ's

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

·         What if I do not speak English?

·         What happens to my job or school attendance record?

·         How much and when will I get paid?

·         What if I do not have child care?

·         What if I am breastfeeding?

·         What if I care for a dependent child or adult?

·         Why do I always get summoned but other people do not?

·         What if I have already served in the past year?

·         What should I do if I need special accommodations?

·         How long does a trial take?

·         Why do I have to wait around so much as a juror?

·         What kind of trial will I hear?

·         Can I take notes or ask questions during the trial?

·         Is my privacy protected during and after the trial?

·         What happens after the verdict?

·         How can I get out of jury service?

·         Why do I have to serve?

·         What if I am called as a grand juror?

·         Am I qualified to serve on a jury?

·         What happens if I fail to appear for a Jury Summons?

·         Where can I park my vehicle?

·         What should I wear?

·         Court security and prohibited items

·         Do not give out your personal information over the phone

Q:  What if I do not speak English?

If you do not have sufficient knowledge of the English language, check letter “D” under section (1) DISQUALIFICATION on your summons.  Sign, date, and return it to the Jury Clerk.  If you need assistance, a friend or family member who has sufficient knowledge of the English language may assist you.  

Q:  What happens to my job or school attendance record?

The California Labor Code § 230 makes it unlawful for any employer to fire or harass an employee who is summoned to Court to serve as a juror.  If you are harassed or fired, contact the Jury Clerk or Judge assigned to your trial.  School employees and students are also protected in different parts of the law.

Q:  How much and when will I get paid?

Currently, jurors are paid $15 per day starting with the second day of service, plus 34 cents per mile, one way from their home to the Courthouse for mileage (Code of Civil Procedure § 215).  Amounts are computed at the completion of service, and are mailed to you.  Checks should be received within two weeks after you complete service.  Contact the Jury Clerk if you have not received compensation or have questions.

Q:  What if I do not have child care?

California Law does not allow an excusal from jury duty because of lack of routine childcare.

Q: What if I am breastfeeding?

A mother who is breastfeeding may request that jury service be deferred for up to one year, and may renew that request as long as she is breastfeeding (California Rules of Court, Rule 2.1006). 

You may request a deferral by checking the space in section (F) "REQUEST TO BE EXCUSED" on your jury summons.  Date, sign, and return it to the Jury Clerk.

Q:  What if I care for a dependent family member?

If you have a personal obligation to provide actual and necessary care to another, including sick, aged or infirm dependents, or a child who requires personal care and attention and no comparable substitute care is either available or practical without imposing an undue economic hardship (California Rules of Court, Rule 2.1008(d)(7)), you may request an excusal by checking the space in section (2) (E) "REQUEST TO BE EXCUSED" on your summons.  Date, sign, and return the summons to the Jury Clerk along with providing the written verification requested on the summons.  (Verification from the family member’s physician listing age, relationship and reason care is necessary). This will excuse you from service for two years.

Q:  Why do I always get summoned but other people do not?

All persons chosen for jury service are selected at random from source lists provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as the list of registered voters residing in the county who are 18 years of age or older, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 197.

Q:  What if I have already served in the past year?

If in the past 12 months you have already served, contact the Jury Clerk by phone or on the summons.  Check box “F” under section (1) DISQUALIFICATION.  Fill in the necessary information, then date, sign and return it to the Jury Clerk.  If you have been called again, but it has been more than 12 months, your name has been randomly selected again.  Please read the summons carefully and follow the directions.  Call the Jury Clerk if you have specific questions.

Q:  What should I do if I need special accommodations?

If you need special accommodations (such as assistance with a wheelchair, hearing amplification, special seating), contact the Jury Clerk right away and let her know what type of assistance you will need.  The Jury Clerk will provide you with an ADA request form to be completed and returned so that reasonable accommodations may be met.  If she cannot reasonably accommodate you, you may be excused from jury service.  

Q:  How long does a trial take?

The length of trials vary depending on how complex the issues are and how long jurors spend in deliberations.  Most trials are completed within one day, and very few last more than one week.  The Judge knows about how long the trial will take, and he or she will tell you the time frame when your group is called for jury selection.  Judges know how difficult long trials can be.  Let the Judge know whether it is a serious hardship for you to sit on a long trial.  Be patient during this process because a lot of people have similar time concerns.

Q:  Why do I have to wait around so much as a juror?

The Judge and Court staff work hard to reduce the time you spend waiting as a juror.  However, waiting time cannot be completely eliminated.  A trial is very important to the people involved.  The law is also complex and many steps have to happen before, during, and after the trial.  Try to be patient and come prepared with a book or other reading material to occupy your time while waiting.  Court staff will try to explain delays when possible.  Be assured everyone is working to avoid delays.

Q:  What kind of trial will I hear?

There are two types of jury trials:  criminal and civil.  Juvenile and family law trials are not heard as jury trials.

Q:  Can I take notes or ask questions during the trial?

It depends.  Judges decide whether jurors can take notes or ask questions during a trial.  A juror may ask the Judge about this at the beginning of the trial, but the final decision rests with the Judge.  If permission to ask questions is granted, the questions will be given to the Judge in written form.  Jurors should pass these written questions to the bailiff so that the questions remain anonymous.  It is important that jurors stay connected to the proceedings, and both note taking and question asking can assist jurors in processing the evidence presented.

Q:  Is my privacy protected during and after the trial?

The Judge will take your privacy into consideration when making decisions about the case.  The Judge must balance the requirement in the federal Constitution that guarantees people a public and speedy trial on the one side, against jurors’ real concerns about privacy on the other side.  If you have concerns about privacy, please let the Judge know.  If a newspaper or television reporter, or a lawyer or a friend of one of the people involved in the case approaches you during the trial, let the Judge know immediately.  Such contact is inappropriate during a trial.  After the trial is over, the media and the parties in the case can contact you, but you do not have to talk to them.  Call the Judge in your case if you feel harassed.

Q:  What happens after the verdict?

Once the verdict is read in Court by the clerk, the jury may be polled.  Some jurors find it helpful to give the Judge and attorneys feedback about the trial.  Some jurors also ask fellow jurors for their phone numbers in order to discuss aspects of the case with other people who shared the same experience.  If you do not want to be contacted after the trial, let the Judge know.  After long or stressful trials, some jurors may feel disoriented.  Some jurors may need to talk to a professional about feelings that the trial may have brought up.  The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) publishes a manual “Through the Eyes of the Juror:  A Manual for Addressing Juror Stress.”  This manual is available online at http://www.ncsonline.org/WC/Publications/Res_Juries_JurorStressIndexPub.pdf.

Q:  How can I get out of jury service?

Jury service is a civic duty of every eligible adult in California.  (Code of Civil Procedure § 191.)  This service to your community is the most direct hands-on involvement in government most Californians will experience.  If you honestly cannot serve, the law provides several undue hardship categories that can allow for an excuse for a summoned juror.  Write the reason for your excuse on the summons and return it to the Jury Clerk.  You may have to appear in Court on the date on your summons in order to explain to the Judge the reason for your excuse.  California Code of Civil Procedure Section 204 states, “No eligible person shall be exempt from service as a trial juror by reason of occupation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, sexual orientation, or for any other reason.”

Q:  Why do I have to serve?

The California Code of Civil Procedure § 191 states that jury service is an obligation of citizenship and comes as a direct result of our right to trial by jury as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the California Constitution, which provide the right of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and remain inviolate.  Jurors are essential to the administration of justice.  Jury trials cannot be held unless people such as yourself are willing to perform their civic duty.

Q:  What if I’m called as a Grand Juror?

The grand jury is different from the trial juries. The terms and purpose of service are different (Penal Code § 888).  People called for grand jury duty should contact the Jury Clerk if they have been summoned and have specific questions.  For more information, contact the California Grand Jurors Association at: http://www.cgja.org/ or view our Grand Juror page located here.

Q:  Am I qualified to serve on a jury?

You are qualified to serve as a juror if you are 18 years of age or older; are a citizen of the United States; are a resident of Tuolumne County; speak and understand the English language; have had your rights restored if you have been convicted of a felony or malfeasance while holding public office; are not the subject of a conservatorship; not serving as a grand or trial juror in any Court of this State; or are not a peace officer as defined by Penal Code Section 830.1 or 830.2(A), (B), (C).   

Q:  What happens if I fail to appear to a Jury Summons?

Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 209, any prospective juror who has been summoned for service, and who fails to respond as directed and be excused from attendance, may be found in contempt of Court, punishable by fine ($1,500), incarceration (5 days), or both.

 Q:  Where can I park my vehicle?

The jury summons includes a parking slip which will allow you to park in restricted time zone areas of 1, 2, or 3 hours, if necessary.  Please refrain from parking on Washington Street if at all possible.  Parking is not permitted in the following areas:  Posted Permit parking, Handicapped parking, Emergency Vehicle parking, and other restricted parking areas (time zones excepted).  WARNING:   If you fail to properly display this notice, you will be subject to citation.  You are required to place this jury duty parking slip on the dash in the front driver’s side window of your vehicle to show that you are appearing for jury duty.  Please allow extra time for parking.

Parking is permitted in any of the four parking lots located between St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department on Jackson, unless otherwise posted; or in the parking lots located on the corner of Stewart and Mehun, Stewart and Theal, or Stewart and Lyons.

CAUTION:  Jurors parked in the lot at the corner of Bradford Street and Norlin Street will receive a citation and may be towed.

Q:  What should I wear?

Business attire is suggested. No bare feet, shorts, tank-tops, shirts with graphics or offensive language are permitted in the courtrooms. The temperature of the jury assembly areas and courtrooms can be unpredictable.  Jurors are encouraged to dress accordingly.

COURT SECURITY

All persons entering the Court facilities are subject to search.  Weapons of any kind are not allowed within Court facilities.  DO NOT carry knives, scissors, knitting needles, corkscrews, metal fingernail files, screwdrivers, tools, wallet chains, pepper spray, or any item that could possibly be used as a weapon.  All weapons and contraband are prohibited, will be confiscated, and WILL NOT be returned.  Violations of security measures could result in fines or detention.

JURY SCAM 

The Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne, has learned that persons representing themselves as Court officials may be contacting prospective jurors and asking for personal information.  Please be advised that official Court personnel may contact you by telephone, but DO NOT request personal information from jurors.

Should you receive a telephone call from someone identifying himself or herself as a Court employee and requesting personal information such as a social security number and/or credit card numbers, please contact the fraud unit of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.  Please also contact the Jury Clerk of the Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne, at (209) 533-5679.

 

CONTACT THE JURY OFFICE

For questions or mailing, contact:

(209) 533-5679

60 N. Washington Street

Sonora, CA  95370

© 2009 Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne