The right to a trial by jury is a privilege that applies to both criminal and civil cases and is recognized as the foundation of the American court system, guaranteed by both U.S. and California Constitutions.
The Jury Services unit of the Superior Court of Alameda County does not call citizens to request payment for failing to appear for jury service. California law does not permit citizens to pay a fine in lieu of jury service; a fine may be assessed, but the citizen would still be required to reschedule jury service for a later date. Please be advised that any requests for such information may be a scam. This notice provides guidance as to how to proceed if you think you are being targeted by this scam.
IF YOU RECEIVED A SUMMONS
Step 1. Read Your Summons
Read your summons and look for your reporting week.
Step 2. Register at the JPORTAL
One week before your service date, register at the JPORTAL website and complete your juror questionnaire. You can sign up for text or email notifications or request an excusal or deferral.
Step 3. Inform Your Employer (if applicable).
Employers cannot terminate an employee called for jury duty.
Step 4. Report for Jury Service
After 5 p.m on the Friday before your summons date and every night during your summons week, check any of the following sources for your reporting instructions (ONLY APPEAR IF YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO REPORT):
1. Visit the Jury Reporting Instructions page to see if your group is required to report on the subsequent business day;
3. Call the Interactive Voice Response Line at (510) 879-3079.
If your group is not requested to appear the next business day, please go about your normal business, and check again after 5 p.m. for your jury reporting instructions.
Step 5. Your Day in Court
If on the day you are required to report you are ill, have a fever, are experiencing chills, shortness of breath, or are experiencing other symptoms associated with COVID-19, please do not come to court. Instead call 510-891-6031 or email: email@example.com to explain your condition and request a deferral of your jury service.
If directed to report, plan to attend court as a juror from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The time you are released will depend on the court's schedule. Masks are not mandatory, but you are free to wear one should you choose to do so. Please dress appropriately (shorts, tank tops or bare feet are not permissible).
Postponement or Hardship Requests
You may request to be postponed or excused for hardship by logging on to our JPORTAL website. If your request is not allowed on JPortal, you may need to contact the jury services office for further assistance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling: (510) 879-3079.
IMPORTANT: Requests are not automatically granted. Most requests may not be granted until the day of your jury service by a judge.
The Court provides an optional COVID-19 Prevention Training for Jurors.
All visitors will also be required to self-screen by reviewing a health screening survey.
Do not enter court facilities if you have answered “yes” to any of the questions in the survey.
After 5 p.m. on the Friday before your summons date and every night during your summons week, check our Jury Reporting Instructions page or call (510) 879-3079 to receive reporting instructions. Please check reporting instructions as your reporting location may change. You may check reporting instructions using any of the following methods:
Contact the court immediately to reschedule your jury service.
You are eligible to serve as a juror if you are 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the county or district where summoned. You must know enough English to understand the proceedings, 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, must not be currently incarcerated in any prison or jail, and must not have been convicted of a malfeasance in office for which your civil rights have not been restored. Effective 1/1/2020, if you have been convicted of a felony, you are eligible to serve as a juror if you are not:
- On parole, post-release community supervision, felony probation, or mandated supervision for the conviction of a felony; or,
- Required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code Section 290.
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 Franchise Tax Board, from everyone who is a registered voter and/or has a driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If you have not already rescheduled your jury service once before, you may request that your service be rescheduled to a more convenient time by logging on to our JPortal website, or by calling our IVR (Interactive Voice Response) service at (510) 879-3079. You may only reschedule your jury service one time to a different week, 3-6 months after your current summons date.
You may request to be excused for hardship by logging on to our JPortal website. If your request is not allowed on JPortal, you may need to contact the jury services office for further assistance by emailing email@example.com or by calling the Jury Services Division at 510-891-6031. Only law enforcement officers as defined in Sec 830.1 & 830.2(a) of California Penal Code (CCP 219) are statutorily exempt from jury service by virtue of their occupation.
Section 230(a) of the California Labor Code reads: An employer may not 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.
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.
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.
You should plan to attend court as a juror all day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but the hours may vary depending on the court's schedule.
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.
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 clerk of the court you are assigned to, 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!
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, you will naturally discuss the case with other jurors in order to reach a verdict.
No. Under no circumstances should you investigate the case on your own, either alone or with other jurors. You may not use the internet to investigate the case. You may not talk to witnesses, or do independent experiments. Your verdict must be based only on evidence produced in court. This rule ensures a fair trial based on evidence that all sides have seen and can challenge. If you violate this rule, you could cause a mistrial.
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.
The presiding judge or jury commissioner of the court
No, you cannot.
Contact the court and let them know you have two summonses. You will have to report for jury duty for one of the summonses. This occurs when the DMV, Registrar of Voters, or Franchise Tax Board has your name differently in their systems. It could be 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.
The selection and management of jurors is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. By law, potential jurors are selected RANDOMLY from the Department of Motor Vehicles' drivers and identification card holders, Voter Registration list, and the Franchise Tax Board list. If the information you provide to these three sources is not identical, you may be summoned more often than others.
No, you may not substitute someone else in your place for jury duty. The selection process is done randomly and must stay that way.