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Jury Duty Overview

Jury DutyThe right to a trial by jury is the privilege of every person in the United States, whether or not that person is a citizen. This cherished right is guaranteed by both the U.S. and California Constitutions. Jury trials cannot be held unless people - citizens of the state in which the trial is held - are willing to perform their civic duty. Jurors are essential to the administration of justice.

ATTENTION: The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda will never contact you to request any personal information such as your Social Security number or date of birth.  Please be advised any requests for such information may be related to phishing or identify theft.

JURY REPORTING INSTRUCTIONS

Summons for:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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 everyone who is a registered voter and/or has a driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When I am summoned as a juror, where should I go?

Read the summons carefully. The summons you received in the mail includes the reporting address, as well as date and procedure your should follow to arrive at the correct time when you report for jury duty.

May I reschedule my jury service to a more convenient time?

If you have not already rescheduled your jury service, you may request that your service be rescheduled to a more convenient time by logging on to our E-juror website at https://ejuror.alameda.courts.ca.gov/, or by calling our IVR (Interactive Voice Response) service at (510) 729-8600. You may reschedule your jury service to a date six to twelve months after your summons date.

May I be excused from jury service?

You may request to be excused by logging on to our E-juror website at https://ejuror.alameda.courts.ca.gov/. If your 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 the Court. 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?

The Court pays for lunches during jury deliberations, but not during the trial.

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: 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.

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 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, you will naturally 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 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 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.

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

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 to with suggestions about my jury service?

The presiding judge or jury commissioner of the court

Can I transfer my service to a different court location?

No, you cannot.

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

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 or Registrar of Voters 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.

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 jury service.

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.

REQUEST TO RESCHEDULE

You may request to reschedule your jury service to a more convenient time by logging on to our eJuror website.
 
Go To eJuror

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR JURORS

1. Read the summons: The address, date and time of your appearance is written on the summons you were mailed. You may request to reschedule your jury service to a more convenient time by logging on to our E-juror website. This website will also allow you to excuse yourself with limited conditions. No postponements or excuses will be granted on your day of appearance.

2. Inform your employer: Your employer must allow you time off for jury duty. Employers cannot discharge an employee called for jury service as long as the employee gives reasonable notice of the summons.

3. Call to receive reporting time: Your summons will have instructions directing you when to start calling to find out if you must report on your first day.

4. Your day in court: 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. Please dress appropriately. Shorts, tank tops or bare feet are not permissible.

 
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