questionsi'm serving on jury duty this week, how does it…


In my area, they break up the jury pool for the week into small groups. There's a phone number to call each night to see if your group is required to serve the next day. They call in 5-10 groups each day if needed, and once you've been dismissed by the judge, you're dismissed for the week. Chances are good that you'll only have to show up for 1 or 2 days, unless you're selected for the jury.

As well as they handle that, I've found that the court isn't terribly organized. BF was recently selected for jury duty, but the court sent the notifications to his old address. He's lucky that the second, nasty-gram notification was forwarded by USPS.


Wow, that's really inconvenient! In my area, I received a letter saying I would be "in the pool" for the next year. Then I received another letter saying my group was in the "active pool" for 3 months. If a trial is scheduled, we are notified a few days in advance. If the trial is cancelled, we are notified the day before that we need not show up.

I have been in the pool several times over the past few years, but have NEVER had to actually show up at the courthouse. It seems everyone takes plea deals these days.


In my very large city/county we're required to be available for the entire week. On Monday morning, we're all shuttled into smaller groups while juries are being chosen for the trials scheduled that week. If we're pulled into a particular trial group but don't get chosen, we go back into the pool. I was last called for duty about three years ago, and on Wednesday afternoon those of us who were still "unseated" were excused for the remainder of the week, as all the scheduled trials had their jurors.

There was no wi-fi available, but we were welcome to use laptops if we had them.
There was a large, comfortable break room with vending machines, and we were allowed to leave for the lunch hour if we wished. I was impressed with how smoothly more than 400 people were welcomed, sorted out, politely moved from room to room, and individually thanked for our service when we left for the day.

I've been called for duty only three times in 40 years; I served once, on three trials in a week.


My county assigns numbers to everyone and you just need to call or check the website daily for the week. If your number is within the selected group for the day, you need to show up to the courthouse. Otherwise, you're free for the day. I haven't been selected yet, so I can't say much beyond the first draw.


I've been called up recently for the very first time, so I don't have anecdotal information - just what's on their little letter.

I'm given a Monday start date (at 8:45am) and a local number to call the weekend before to see if I'm needed.

"Jurors should dress appropriately in keeping with court room decorum." - What does that really mean anyways? We're paid $12.50 for the first day and $25 for each additional day, plus $.56.5 per mile to drive - check to be mailed to me later. There's a section for detailing what facilities are available for lunch, but it's blank and just says "or you may bring a lunch". Doesn't mention how long we get for lunch or if we can leave. Gotta love it.

I did have to reschedule the first time they called me up - I had just had minor surgery, wasn't allowed to drive and was on some pretty heavy duty painkillers. Probably woulda been the most fun jury duty could be, but I suspected they wouldn't want me to be loopy while helping to decide someone's fate.


Wow, there are a lot of different systems. Ours seems to be pretty convenient compared to some listed here. We get a voir dire form in the mail which we complete and mail back. Then we report at 9am on the scheduled day. They call in several hundred prospective jurors and fill up the pending trials by rows. If they run out of trials before they get to your row, you are dismissed until the next time you are summoned. They send around 30 people into each trial room, where the judge and the attorneys have been given your voir dire forms. They first ask if anyone needs to be dismissed for cause (usually personally knowing someone involved in the case), then the prosecutors and attorneys ask questions of the prospective jurors based on their form and the trial at hand, dismissing people till they whittle down to their jury. Everyone else gets dismissed, and is done till the next time they are called. If you are selected I think you are exempt from jury duty for a year.


That really sucks. Gotta say though, that I don't even know how jury duty works around here. I've never been called upon for jury duty and rarely have I ever even seen someone that I work with be called upon for it. I guess now that I've admitted that I'll be called upon sometime soon...


Echoing some of the above, hereabouts you get a number and you call each night to find out if you have to report in the next morning. Luckily for me, my number was hundreds from being called. And not getting called means my jury duty was fulfilled, I didn't have to be left in the pool of available jurors or anything.



I've done jury duty, and I think the dress code part is just don't come in wearing a wife beater or your favorite hoochie skirt. I've always worn jeans and a nice shirt with a collar, but no tie or anything like that. Nobody has ever complained, and quite frankly for $10/day, if they don't like it they can send me home, I'll be fine with that. I'm unlike most people, I'm perfectly willing to serve, but I'm certainly not going to jump through hoops.


In South Florida (Broward County) they had jury pools on Monday or Wednesday. You waited in the main room until you were picked for a jury trial (20-50 people at a time), or after 2-3PM they let you go. That was it. Of course, if you get picked for a jury, they choose 6 (or sometimes 12) of the group and the rest can go home. If you are on the jury, you stay until a verdict is decided. There must be over 1000 people who show up at the start of each day, and 20 or so juries are chosen. We only get paid from the 3rd day on.


In SF, you're eligible if you're registered to vote or if you have a drivers license. If you get called up, you'll get a notice in the mail where you'll dial in daily to find out if you have to come in or not. More often than not, you won't have to come in. If you get called in, you'll sit in a room for a pool of potential jurors. The good thing is that they offer WiFi so you can work remotely if that's an option. If you get selected, then you go through voire dire and if you make it through that, then you're on the jury. I think after being called for jury duty, you're good for another 18 months.


In my county you show up at the court house, and they have a list of which courts need a jury. For each court they call out names of people in the room to comprise the pool for that court. Then when all the courts have enough, they tell everyone whose name wasn't called to go home and you are off the hook for 3 years. The last time I got a summons with forms to fill out, I went online to fill it out because I didn't notice I had received the form until after the mail-in date and it told me my service would not be needed. Not sure if that got me a 3 year get out of duty free card though.


I live in Michigan and it's much different here. I actually just served yesterday as well. The rules here are 'One Day or One Trial'. If you're picked for a trial, you're obviously there for the duration. If you're not picked for a trial, you can be dismissed as quickly as a couple of hours, or at the latest by 4:30pm. I was dismissed by 11:00am because the trial that I was 'assigned' to was dismissed at the last minute. There were other groups that were out even earlier than me as well.


In my mid-30's and have never been selected for jury duty. Yes I vote. Yes I'm registered for the selective service. Yes I have a driver's license. Yes I pay taxes....or any other way people claim they select for jury duty. Just lucky I guess.

knock on wood


JD UPDATE: Today seemed like a long day at the courthouse. I arrived prior to the 8:45am check-in and shortly after everyone was in, they actually played a movie for us - Lincoln. I had not seen it yet, so I was happy about getting to watch it to pass the time. By 11:30 they had not pooled anyone for a jury so they let us go to lunch until 1:15. There is a market in the city that is open Tuesdays & Thursdays so most of us walked down to it for lunch. When we came back for the afternoon, again, they never pooled anyone for a jury. One of the tipstaff let us know there were 5 cases that were to be tried today but they all settled before a jury was needed. So we all have to be there by 8:45am again tomorrow.

It is very interesting to hear how other places handle jury duty. I don't mind serving, I just wish there was a better system in my area and that maybe they could get better chairs in the room for us!


A couple weeks ago i got my first summons for Juror service. I don't have to go until June 3rd. I had to respond online or by mail within ten days of getting the Summons. They say they will remind me within 10 days before june 3rd. with map and directions. After that i don't know.


Count me as another 30 something registered voter with a DL, paid taxes, and homeowner; who has never been called upon for jury duty.

Maybe they just know me.


MA was the first state to implement a One Day / One Trial system, circa 1980, with many advantages for citizens, the court and the state.

Jurors phone in the previous afternoon to confirm that their presence is required in the pool; if not, they may be summoned again in a year. Jurors assemble in a large room and wait to be called in groups for potential empanelling. By day's end, and often much earlier, anyone not selected is dismissed, with their obligation fulfilled for three years. According to court stats, 95% of jurors complete their service in three days, with most serving only one day.

Interesting that OP states that cellphones, laptops, etc. are prohibited. As far as I could determine online, current MA policy is that devices are not confiscated and electronic communications are not prohibited except for empanelled jurors actually in trial or deliberating.

Also, MA treats empanelled jurors to a lunch of cold deli sandwiches. :-)


My jury duty letter says I start tomorrow, so I called the local number today to find out if I'm in. They said those w/last names starting with A-G are free for a year. Those starting with H-Z are in...that's me.

And I'm already over it.

I totally support the concept. I want actual peers to be the jury on cases. I don't do illegal things (seriously, though), but would want my actual peers deciding on my life (especially because I don't trust judges thanks to too many cop shows...)

However, this is an actual burden for me and my company. I am 1 of 2 in the entire rentals/sales/customer service department in my tiny company and I'm the manager, who deals w/50% of the standard clients and all of the "hard" clients. If they actually choose me to be stuck on a case in our tiny area of things like minor shoplifting and "he stepped on my lawn", I will probably have my boss call and scream until something else is done.

Other than acting relatively deaf, which isn't true, got any ideas?


@smtatertot13: I know most of the trials that people were picked to serve on were short and only lasted a day. One was a child molestation case and it lasted 2 days. I never ended up serving on a case as I was picked a 2nd time but the case settled at the last minute but those who did found it extremely interesting. Good luck and let us know how it goes!!!


@lmensor: so....i got chosen. trial started in the afternoon and they think it's going to go through at least Thursday. I'll be working in the evenings to make an attempt at keeping up with my job, which kinda sucks, but it would also suck to lose a bunch of clients right now.

while it has already been difficult to hear the details of the case due to its nature, i admit it does help me to feel the importance of fulfilling this role (as opposed to being on a case about something less important like shoplifting, for example).

everyone on the jury is friendly (and 10-30 years older than I am), so that's cool. and the jury chairs are freakin fantastic! i was not expecting to be physically comfortable throughout this process.

crossing my fingers that this process is as short as they project!


@smtatertot13: Yes, the chairs the jurors sit in at our courthouse look really nice compared to the chairs we had to sit in all day while waiting. Good luck with your case, I hope it doesn't last too long so you don't have to miss too much work!


@lmensor: I am now free to go back to work like a normal person. The trial was a tough one - a child molestation case, putting one person's testimony against another's without any other real evidence at all.

Our first jury vote was 3 Not Guilty, 9 Guilty. (I was one of the 3 Non's since there was NO evidence). After much discussion, we ended with a deadlocked jury - 11 Not Guilty's and 1 Guilty (who was being ruled by her heart, not the law, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, of course).

It was quite the frustrating ending, but I learned a lot and will probably look back at it fondly, once I've gotten over how fried I feel after 8.5 hours of deliberation, and the fact that I still had to carry a full time job during the process while others were not burdened with that in this case. Totally okay with it in principle, but damn am I tired. Can't wait until I get to sleep in tomorrow morning!


@smtatertot13: Wow, sounds like it was a long week. I've always felt bad for the jurors who get picked for the molestation cases and have to listen and sometimes see the evidence. But to go through all that and then have a hung jury, I can see why you were frustrated! I hope you got some rest over the weekend!!


@lmensor: I did get to sleep in & it did help!

It really was awful to sit on trial where the prosecution did not have a case, regardless of the truth. There was no DNA, no collection of any type of physical evidence that was even mentioned to us, so we all left feeling very let down...and feeling that the Prosecution let down this little girl.

There were also some very weird things about another kid, about twice the child's age, that left us wondering if the little girl wasn't molested by him instead (hard to explain w/o all of the details)

Her testimony (as a 9y/o discussing what happened when she was 7 - she also has Asperger's) against his testimony (41y/o) and the vague, not terribly helpful testimony of the other kids that were home and around that night.

Anyways, without any actual evidence, 11 of us felt we didn't even have a choice. Sad really, as someone definitely did something to her. Awful, in fact.