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Jury Duty - INFORMATION

juror instructions   INFORMATION ABOUT JURY DUTY



  • Payment of Jury Fees

      Prospective jurors are paid $15.00 per day and 34¢ per mile, one way from home. There is no payment for the first day of service. Payment begins with the second and subsequent days of service.

      Effective August 16, 2004, if a prospective juror is employed by any government agency and receives regular compensation and benefits while performing jury service, they will not be paid the $15.00 per day jury fee. If a prospective juror works for: the federal, state, or local government, or any other public entity as defined in Code of Civil Procedure section 481.200 , such as:
      -- the Regents of the University of California
      -- a county or city
      -- a school district
      -- a water district
      -- a transit board
      -- any political subdivision or public corporation in the state
      they will be asked to sign a waiver of jury fees. For more information, refer to Code of Civil Procedure Section 215 .

      Mileage is automatically tabulated by computer according to the juror's home zip code. "Service" is defined as physically reporting to the courthouse. Days spent on standby do not count as service payment days.

      Jury payroll is processed every two weeks. It is possible that a juror will receive more than one paycheck for jury service. Payroll checks are not forwarded by the post office. Therefore, it is important that the jury office has the juror's correct name and address, in order to make sure that checks are delivered in a timely manner.

  • Length of Service

      If your group number is instructed to report to the courthouse for jury duty and, after reporting, you are not assigned to a courtroom that day, your jury service is complete at the end of the day. You will not be required to continue to call the recorder or access our Online Services Jury Duty page. If you are assigned to a courtroom, your service is required until you are excused from jury selection. If you are selected as a sworn juror or as an alternate juror, you must serve for the entire trial, however long. If you are not initially needed to report to the courthouse, you may be required to remain on telephone standby and be instructed to call the recorded message daily or access our Online Services Jury Duty page for a maximum of five working days.

  • Parking Information

      See juror parking information on the General Info page, listed under Parking information. If you are cited for any illegal parking, it will be your responsibility to pay for any citations that are issued to you.

      DO NOT PARK AT A METER. You will not be allowed to leave the court once in session. If you are cited, we cannot dismiss your ticket. It will be your responsibility to take care of the ticket.

      Most bus routes and light rail stations  are within a few blocks of the courthouses. The phone for transit information is (408) 321-2300. The teleprinter for the hearing impaired is (408) 321-2330. Please make every effort to use public transportation since parking is limited at some court locations. See public transportation online info at this site. If you have any questions or wish further information about jury duty, please call (408) 882-2500 or (408) 808-6666. The TDD for the hearing impaired is (408) 882-2591.

  • The Trial

      The reason we have trials is to allow two or more parties to have their dispute settled by a court. Some lawsuits are decided by the judge alone; others are decided by a jury. A jury is a body of citizens from the community sworn to make an impartial decision based on the evidence presented during a trial.

      Jurors serve in two kinds of cases -- civil and criminal. In a civil case, one person or entity (for example, the plaintiff) asks the court to protect some right or to help recover money or property from another the defendant. In a criminal case, the State of California (the plaintiff) charges that a person (the defendant) committed a crime and asks that the defendant be fined or sent to jail or prison.

    • Jury Selection

        You and the others called for jury duty will be taken into a courtroom. Twelve to eighteen names will be randomly selected, unless the parties agree to a smaller jury. These people will take seats in a jury box. The rest of you will remain seated in the courtroom.

        The judge will state the names of the parties in the case and names of the lawyers who will represent them. The judge will also tell you what the lawsuit is about, for example, a drunk driving case, a burglary case, or a civil suit such as an automobile accident.

        Next the judge and/or the attorneys will question each of you seated in the jury box to find out if you can be a fair and impartial juror in this particular case.

        One of the attorneys may "challenge you for cause".  This means the attorney will ask the judge to excuse you from the jury for a specific legal reason.  For example, if you know one of the attorneys, you might tend to favor his or her side. Each lawyer has an unlimited number of challenges for cause.

        Each attorney has the right to a certain number of peremptory challenges. That is, the attorney may ask that you be excused without giving any reason at all. If this happens, don't take it personally.  The lawyer is merely exercising a right given by law.

        After the required number of jurors has been chosen, the jury panel is sworn to try the case.

    • How the Trial Proceeds - Opening Statement

        First the attorney for the party who is suing will tell the jury what he or she intends to prove. In a civil case, this is the plaintiff's attorney; in a criminal case, this is the prosecuting attorney.  The attorney for the defense may speak then or may wait until after the other side presents its evidence.

        After all of the evidence has been presented, both attorneys will sum up the case from their perspectives. Taking turns, each will tell you what he or she believes the evidence shows and why it favors his or her side.

    • Instructions to the Jury

        The judge will instruct you on your duties as jurors. The judge will also tell you what law applies to the facts you will consider. After that, the bailiff will take you to the jury room where you and the other jurors will deliberate.

    • In the Jury Deliberation Room

        First, you will select one of the jurors as foreperson. He or she leads the discussion and tries to encourage everyone to join in. Don't be afraid to speak out during deliberations. The whole idea of a jury is to come to a decision after full and frank discussion, based on calm, unbiased reasoning.

        In civil cases, it takes nine jurors to reach a verdict. In criminal cases, all jurors must agree, that is, the verdict must be unanimous.

    • The Verdict

        When you have reached your verdict, which may come after a few hours or several days, the foreperson will record your verdict on an official form. The bailiff will tell the judge you are ready and you will return to the jury box.

        The judge will ask if you reached a verdict. The foreperson will answer, handing the written verdict to the bailiff. The clerk will read it aloud and mark the record accordingly.

        Sometimes one of the parties will ask that the jury be polled. This means that the judge or clerk will ask each juror individually if this is his or her own verdict. After the judge discharges the jury, their service will then be complete.

  • Officers of the Court
    • JUDGE:  Appointed by the governor or elected by the voters; has the authority and duty to hear and decide questions of law. The judge must see that everyone receives equal and fair justice under the law.
    • ATTORNEY:  Licensed practitioner of the law, who is employed either by a party or by the government to prepare and present their case.
    • CLERK:  Chief administrative officer of the court. The clerk compiles official files, stamps and collects exhibits, swears in jurors, and maintains records of court proceedings.
    • BAILIFF:  A court attendant who keeps order in the courtroom and has custody of the jury.
    • COURT REPORTER:  Records legal proceedings accurately for the official record.
    • INTERPRETER:  Hired by the court to translate foreign languages, or aid disabled participants.
© 2017 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara