Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Information If You've Been Summonsed

Length of Service

The Sacramento Superior Court operates on a One Day/One Trial system.

In order to minimize the number of jurors who must appear in person and avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the juror, the standby service process is used. You are required to check the reporting instructions for a maximum of five (5) days or until instructed that your service is complete without having to report.

If you are instructed to report to the courthouse, you may or may not be selected to serve as a juror in a trial court. The Jury Commissioner is required to have a sufficient number of jurors for all anticipated trials. The jury staff tries to carefully estimate the number of jurors needed, but there are many variables outside their control. You may want to bring something to occupy your time.

If you are selected to serve on a trial as a sworn juror, the term of service will be the length of that trial. Trials vary in length, but generally last one to two weeks.

If you are not selected to serve on a trial by the end of your first day at the courthouse, and the judge has not ordered you to return for another day of jury selection, you have completed your jury service.

Standby Service

All prospective jurors begin their service on a standby status. You may begin to check for initial reporting instructions anytime after 5:00 p.m. the Friday before your service week begins.

Your reporting instructions may be to report the following court day at 8:00 a.m., to check back between 11:15 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for a possible 1:00 p.m. report, or to check back later for further instructions. You are required to check the group reporting information until you are either instructed to report to the courthouse or instructed that service is complete without having to report.

You are required to report to work until your group is called in.

If you cannot participate in the standby service process, contact the Jury Commissioner's Office immediately and staff will further direct you. Attendance credit will not be given unless you physically report to the courthouse.

How Long Do I Have to be Available?

In order to ensure that you can serve as a sworn juror on a case, you must be available for the week you are summonsed and the following week. If you are not available for this time period, click on the hyperlink below to have your service postponed.

What If A Juror Does Not Report as Instructed?

Every resident of Sacramento County who is qualified to serve and who does not have a legal hardship or excuse must appear for jury service when summoned. Willful failure to appear is contempt of court. Contempt of court is punishable by fine of up to $1,500.00 and/or five days in the county jail.

How Jurors Are Summonsed

The selection and management of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. Jurors' names are selected at random from lists of registered voters and persons who have valid California drivers licenses or identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The two lists are combined to create one Master Jury List. Prospective jurors are summoned weekly and are randomly selected from the master list to receive a summons. The summonses are mailed approximately five weeks prior to the service date. Sacramento County residents are eligible to be summonsed every eighteen (18) months.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers cannot discriminate against employees serving on jury duty. Employers must allow employees time off to serve on a jury. The California Labor Code, section 230 - external link, prohibits any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned to court for jury service as long as reasonable notice is given. The California Education Code, section 44037 - external link and California Education Code, section 87036 - external link protect teachers and students as well. Employers can also be prosecuted criminally and face a misdemeanor charge if found guilty.