Jury Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is jury service mandatory?
A: Both the U. S. Constitution and the California State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury.
Q: Who is exempt from jury service?
A: You are exempt if you: Are not a citizen. Are under 18 years of age. Do not have sufficient knowledge of the English language. Have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored. Are subject of conservatorship.
Q: How often must I serve?
A: In the County of San Bernardino once a person has served as a juror, they are exempt from further jury service for 12 months, with the exception of Barstow and Needles. County residents in these districts may be summoned to serve twice a year due to limited population.
Q: How do I request to be excused from jury service?
A: Prospective jurors otherwise eligible to serve may be excused from jury service only for EXTREME hardship. All requests to be excused must be submitted to the Jury Commissioner IN WRITING prior to the prospective juror's service date as explained on the Juror Affidavit Questionnaire attached to the Summons.
A prospective juror MAY be excused if he/she; must provide actual and necessary care for another and alternate arrangements are not feasible; has a physical or mental disability that would prevent him/her from serving (the prospective juror must provide a doctor's note verifying the disability).
Q: Where does the Jury Commissioner obtain names of prospective jurors?
A: Both the voter registration and motor vehicle records are used as source lists for prospective jurors. Names are randomly selected from the county wide population by computer.
Q: Does my employer have to pay me while I serve on jury duty?
A: Employers are not required by law to compensate employees while they are on jury duty. Many employers support the jury system and provide jury duty benefits and will continue employee wages while they serve. Please check with your employer regarding your company's policy.
Q: Can my employer prevent me from serving as a juror?
A: State law (Labor Code, Sec. 230) prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating against an employee for taking time off to serve as a juror if the employee, prior to taking such time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer of the requirement to serve as a juror.
Q: May I postpone my jury service to a more convenient time?
A: The Court realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to postpone service to a more convenient time in most instances. Jury Service may be postponed one time within 90 days of the original summons date. To postpone jury service you may either use the automated phone system or the Court's website.
Q: How many days will I have to serve?
A: The term of service for San Bernardino Superior Court is one trial. The average trial is 3-5 days. If, however, a prospective juror is not selected to serve as a juror by the end of the first day and is not ordered to return for a second or subsequent day of jury selection, his/her service is complete.
Q: Are there ever any instances when I may have to serve longer?
A: Due to the nature of trials, it is impossible to predict exactly how many jurors may be needed on any given day. If you are notified by the Court that you are a "stand-by" juror, you will be instructed to call in daily and may be told to report when there are juror shortages. However, in an emergency situation where there still is not sufficient jurors available, the court may order prospective jurors to serve additional days. This is extremely rare!
Q: Why are some prospective jurors instructed to report on their summons while others are told to call back for further instructions?
A: All San Bernardino County prospective jurors are required to call a prerecorded message the evening prior to their actual date of appearance. Most prospective jurors are summoned to appear but others are asked to call back again between 11 a.m. and 12 noon on their same summonsed date for possible appearance at 12:30 p.m. that same day. If additional jurors are required they will appear that same date – if not the jurors will cancel and their service is complete for the next twelve months.
Q: What if I am summonsed as a 'call back' juror and I can't call in or leave my job in the middle of the day?
A: Calling in does not work for everyone. The nature of many professions makes it difficult for some prospective jurors to call and/or report in the middle of the day. Please contact Jury Administration and they may be able to accommodate other arrangements.
Q: How late will I be at the courthouse?
A: The Court's normal hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Prospective jurors should make arrangements to remain the entire day.
Q: Can my jury service be transferred to a court closer to my home?
A: We understand everyone would like to serve as close to home as possible. State law requires that we randomly select prospective jurors from the county wide population. Therefore, we are unable to grant requests to be transferred to another court except in extreme situations.