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Frequently Asked Questions
If you are called for jury duty, you will have many questions – from where you should report to what will happen during a trial if you are chosen to serve. Most of these steps are set by state law and a few court rules. What you read here should cover most of your questions when called to serve in the Superior Court of California, although each county may be slightly different.
1. Who may be called to serve as a juror?

You may be called to serve if you are 18 years old or older, a United States citizen, and a resident of the County of Humboldt. In addition you must not have served as any kind of juror during the past 12 months, nor have been convicted of a felony.

2. How did my name get selected for jury duty?

Jurors’ names are selected at random from lists of registered voters. In addition, the law provides that the courts may use the names of all persons who have driver’s licenses or identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

3. How long will my name be on the prospective juror's list?

Your name will remain on the court’s jury list for at least one year, and you may be called for jury duty at any time during that year. If you are not called one year, your name may be placed on next year’s list.

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

READ the summons and juror information form. Complete the juror information section, date and sign it. Bring the summons form with you when reporting. Keep the summons portion and parking permit for your future use. Your juror group number and future instructions are located on the summons portion. Check your status by checking the reporting instructions at this website or by phone, per the instructions on your summons. The parking permit lists the address of the courthouse for the Superior Court of California, County of Humboldt. In Humboldt County trials are held at the 825 Fifth Street site in Eureka.

5. What happens if I do not respond to the jury summons?

For your information, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 209 provides that “Any prospective trial juror who has been summoned for service, and who fails to attend upon the court as directed or to respond to the court or jury commissioner and to be excused from attendance, may be attached and compelled to attend; and, following an order to show cause hearing, the court may find the prospective juror in contempt of court, punishable by a find of up to $1,500, or 5 days in the county jail, or both” (CCP 1218(a)).

6. May I postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?

You may request to reschedule your jury service to a more convenient time. Usually it must be rescheduled during the same year and not exceed 90 days from the date of your summons. Jurors are allowed one postponement. Mail your request for postponement to the Jury Services Office.

7. Do I get paid for jury duty?

Payment to jurors begins on the second and subsequent days. You will not get paid on the first day of service. The minimum amount paid is set by the State Legislature. The county pays $15.00 per day plus .34 cents per mile one-way from home.

8. Does the Court pay for meals?

No. Meals are not provided during a trial or during deliberations.

9. How can I be a juror if my boss won’t let me off?

Employers must allow employees time off to serve on a jury. The California Labor Code Section 230 prohibits any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned to court for jury services as long as reasonable notice is given. If you are a teacher or student, you are protected by California Education Code Sections 44037 and 87306.

If you are concerned that jury duty has negatively impacted your employment, the Department of Labor Standars Enforcement (DLSE) can provide assistance. A Senior Labor Commissioner will respond to questions at DLSE2@dir.ca.gov.

Some employers may pay the difference between your jury allowance and your salary. For example, if your salary for the day is $35.00 and the jury fee is $15.00, your employer may pay $20.00. However, this is not required by law, but many contracts require the pay differential.

10. What should I wear to Court?

Dress as you would to go to a business meeting or social function. Check with the Jury Services Office if you have any doubts.

11. 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 don’t read while court is in session. Be sure to turn off all cell phones and audible pagers in the courtroom. Eating and chewing gum is not permitted.

12. How much of my day will jury service take?

You should plan to attend court as a juror all day from 8:00 – 4:30 p.m. depending on the court’s schedule. Civil cases will last could last from one to two weeks or sometimes longer. The average length is around five days. Criminal cases generally last from one to two weeks.

13. 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 need time to prepare their witnesses and other aspects of the case.

14. What happens if I’m late?

Contact the Jury Services Office as soon as you know that you are going to be late. If you are already assigned to a courtroom, contact the Jury Services Office or the clerk of the court and 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.

15. Is it true that I must not discuss the case with anyone while it’s 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. If any person persists in talking to you about the trial or attempts to influence you as a juror, tell the bailiff. During deliberations at the end of the trial, of court, you will discuss the case with other jurors in order to reach a verdict.

16. May I investigate some parts of the case that aren’t brought out by the attorneys on my own?

No. Under no circumstances should you investigate the case on your own, either alone or with other jurors. You may not talk to witnesses, or do independent experiments. Your verdict must be based only on evidence produced in court. This prevents a trial based on secret evident. If you violate this rule, you could cause a mistrial.

17. Why do attorneys talk with the judge out of the jurors’ hearing?

If this happens, do not feel slighted or guess what is being said. Such conferences are held to discuss legal issues or to agree upon points of evidence. These conferences often help speed up the trial or avoid the possibility of a mistrial.

18. Who can I write with suggestions about my jury service?

The Presiding Judge or the Jury Commissioner, at mailing address 825 Fifth Street, Room 231, Eureka, Ca. 95501

© 2014 Superior Court of the County of Humboldt