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FAQs

Who may be called to serve as a juror?

You may be called to serve if you are 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the county or district where summoned. You must be able to understand English, and be physically and mentally capable of serving. In addition, you must not have served as any kind of juror in the past 12 months, nor have been convicted of a felony.

How did my name get selected for jury duty?

The objective of the court is to provide an accurate cross-section of the county's population. The names of jurors are selected at random from lists of registered voters. The law also allows that courts may use the names of all persons who have drivers licenses or identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

How long will my name remain on a list of prospective jurors?

Your name will remain on the county jury list for at least one year. During that time, you may be called for jury duty at any time.

When I am summoned as a juror, what should I do?

Read the summons. The summons which informed you that you were selected as a prospective juror will also include the reporting address, the date and the procedure you should follow in order to get the correct time to report for jury duty.

May I postpone my jury service to a convenient time?

Yes, you may request that your jury service be rescheduled to a more convenient time. You may request a postponement by logging on to our juror website at https://ejuror.alameda.courts.ca.gov/, or by calling our IVR (Interactive Voice Response) service at (510) 729-8600. You may request a 1 time postponement of at least 6-months and no more than 12 months from your summons date.

May I be excused from jury service?

You may request to be excused (limited conditions) by logging on to our E-juror website at https://ejuror.alameda.courts.ca.gov/. If you excuse is not allowed on E-juror you must complete the Jury Service Exemption/Excuse Form portion of your summons, attach your verification and mail it back to us. The only statutory exemption for occupation conflicts regards Law Enforcement Officers as defined in Sec. 830.1 & 830.2(a) of California Penal Code (CCP 219).

Who pays for meals?

You do. Lunches are not provided during a trial, but are provided during deliberations.

How can I be a juror if my boss won't let me take time off?

Section 230(a) of the California Labor Code reads: No employer shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve as required by law on an inquest jury or trial jury, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, give reasonable notice to the employer that he or she is required to serve.

What should I wear to court?

Dress as you would to go to a business meeting or a social function. Do not wear shorts or tank tops. Check with the jury commissioner if you have any doubts.

Is there any special way I must act in court?

Be alert and courteous. You may bring a book or newspaper to read while you're waiting for court to begin, or during recesses, but not while court is in session. While in a courtroom all cell phones and pagers should be turned off.

How much of my day will jury service take?

You should plan to attend court as a juror all day from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but the hours may vary depending on the court's schedule. For your first day of jury duty, be sure to call the telephone number indicated on your summons to confirm when you are expected to appear.

Why are there such long breaks and lunch hours during a trial?

The judge may have to set the next day's calendar and dispose of other cases. Attorneys may also need time to prepare their witnesses and other aspects of the case.

What happens if I'm late?

Contact the jury commissioner's office as soon as you know that you are going to be late. If you are already assigned to a courtroom, contact the jury commissioner's office or the clerk of the court in order to explain your situation. Remember: The trial cannot proceed until everyone is present. If you don't have a good excuse, the judge may fine you for being late!

May I take notes during the trial?

The practice varies from courtroom to courtroom, but usually note taking is allowed.

May jurors ask questions during the trial?

If you have a question, write it down on a piece of paper. Motion for the bailiff or marshal, who will hand your question to the judge. The judge will respond by writing a note back, by answering directly from the bench or may indicate that trial procedures do not allow that question to be answered at that time.

Is it true that I must not discuss the case with anyone while the trial is in progress?

Do not talk to anyone about the case until you are discharged from the jury. Not even the lawyers or the judge, except through the bailiff. Discussions with others can cause a mistrial because the juror gained evidence outside the record or was influenced. If any person persists in talking to you about the trial or attempts to influence your judgment as a juror, tell the bailiff. During deliberations at the end of the trial, of course, you will discuss the case with other jurors in order to reach a verdict.

May I investigate some parts of the case that aren't presented by the attorneys - on my own time?

No. Under no circumstances should you investigate the case on your own, either alone or without other jurors. You may not talk to witnesses, or do independent experiments. Your verdict must be based only on evidence produced in court. This rule prevents a trial based on secret evidence. If you violate this rule, you could cause a mistrial.

Why do attorneys talk with the judge out of the jurors' hearing?

If this happens, do not feel slighted or try to guess what is being said. Such conferences are held to discuss legal issues, or to agree upon what evidence may be submitted for you to consider. These conferences often help expedite the trial or to avoid the possibility of a mistrial.

Who can I write with suggestions about my jury service?

The presiding judge or jury commissioner of the court in which you served.

Can I transfer my service to another one of your court locations?

No, you cannot.

What do I do if I received two summonses from two of your court locations?

Contact the court and let them know you have two summonses. You will have to report for jury duty to one of the court locations. This occurs when either the DMV or Registrar of Voters has your name differently in their systems. It could be just a middle initial missing or a maiden name not changed after marriage. Because our selection is random and doesn't contain information such as social security number or dates of birth, the system has no way of determining that you are one in the same person. This may happen more often unless you contact these agencies and correct your name. You may contact the Registrar of Voters office at (510) 272-6973 or your local DMV office.

Why am I always being summoned and others are not?

The selection and management of jurors is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. By law, potential jurors are selected RANDOMLY from the Registration list and the Department of Motor Vehicles' drivers and identification card holders. If the information you provide to these two sources is not identical you may receive two summonses or you may be summoned more often than others.

Can I send my spouse in my place?

You may not substitute someone else in your place for jury duty. The selection process is done randomly and must stay that way.

What should I do if I missed or forgot about my summons date?

Contact the court immediately to reschedule your summons date. By doing so you could avoid receiving a failure to appear notification, court contempt hearing or possible monetary penalties.

How does a juror make an ADA accommodation request?

You may call the court to request an accommodation at (510) 891-6031.
For those with TDD access, please call (510) 463-3929.
For ADA accommodation policies, procedures and request form, please click here.
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