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How was I selected for jury duty?
Potential jurors are randomly selected by computer from voter registration lists provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State, Voter Registration Division.
I am not a registered voter; why was I summoned for jury service and do I still have to serve?
Yes! Your name was randomly selected from county voter registration lists. Other courts do use motor vehicle lists and other source lists. The ONLY requirement for serving on a jury is that you MUST be 18 years of age and you MUST be a U.S. Citizen. You will not be excused simply by stating you are not a registered voter. If you are currently not a registered voter and you were summoned, it is because you may still be listed as a registered voter in your locality.
What is a Petit Jury?
A PETIT jury is a trial jury for both civil and criminal cases. The petit jury listens to the evidence offered during a trial and returns a verdict. A verdict in a civil case may be a finding for the plaintiff or for the defendant. A verdict in a criminal case finds the defendant guilty or not guilty.
What is a Grand Jury?
A GRAND jury determines whether there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed. The evidence is normally presented only by an attorney for the government. The grand jury must determine from this evidence whether the government should file formal criminal charges. If the grand jury finds probable cause, it returns a written statement of the charges called an "indictment". Grand jurors serve a term of eighteen (18) months.
How long will I serve?
PETIT JURORS are "on call" for one month. You are required to check your reporting status every Friday of the month that you are on call. Typically, trials last about two to four days in length but some may be longer. Your summons indicates a start date to verify reporting status on the automated information line at 1-866-624-7516 or the court’s website at www.pamd.uscourts.gov.
GRAND JURORS serve a term of eighteen (18) months and are usually required to appear in court two (2) days per month.
Who is exempt from jury service?
- Members in active service in the Armed Forces of the United States
- Members of the fire or police departments of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or subdivision thereof
- Public officers in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of the government of the United States, or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or subdivision thereof, who are actively engaged in the performance of official duties
Can I postpone my jury service or be excused from serving?
We recognize that jury service rarely comes at a convenient time. But because that is true for nearly all individuals called for jury duty most individuals will be required to serve.
If you want to postpone your service to a later date or be excused, you must make a request in writing to the jury office of the courthouse to which you have been summoned. You must describe the reasons you believe you should be postponed or excused and provide as much information as possible, including supporting documentation. The request should be received by the jury department at least five (5) business days before your term of service begins. You may also request a postponement or excuse via the court’s website after you have completed your questionnaire. Log into eJuror and select from the options Postponement, Excuse or Temporary Excuse. If you need to request a week or less, select the option Temporary Excuse and follow the instructions.
After submitting your request for postponement or excuse, please allow 2-3 business days for processing before checking your updated status to see if your request was granted by the court. Follow the instructions on the back of your summons to check your status by phone or by logging into eJuror from the court's website. You are considered qualified for service unless the Court approves your request.
Who may be excused from jury service?
(You can still choose to serve, even if you fall into one of the following categories)
- Persons over 70 years of age;
- Actively engaged members of the clergy;
- Persons having active care and custody, during hours of normal jury service, of a child or children under 12 years of age whose health/safety would be jeopardized by their absence for jury service, or a person who is essential to the care of the aged or infirmed persons;
- Actively practicing attorneys, physicians, and dentists;
- Persons who have served as a grand or petit juror in a state or federal court within the past two years;
- Any person whose services are so essential to the operations of a business, commercial or agricultural enterprise that said enterprise must close if such person were required to perform jury duty;
- Volunteer safety personnel who serve without compensation as firefighters, members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for a public agency. Public agency for the purpose of this plan means the United States, the State of Pennsylvania, or any unit of local government, department or instrumentality of any of the foregoing;
- Teachers or students in actual attendance at a university, college academy, or other school having a regular schedule of classes;
- People for whom jury service would cause undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.
How will I know when to report to the courthouse?
- On the date indicated on your summons, call the toll free juror automated information line at 1-866-624-7516 or eJuror on this web site for reporting instructions
- You will be asked to enter your nine-digit participant number and the first three digits of your last name
- If you have an appearance date, you will be told when and where to report. If you do not have an appearance date, you must check every Friday until you are told your term of service is complete
If the message instructs you to report to the courthouse for jury service on a particular date, you must call the juror automated information line at 1-866-624-7516 or check eJuror the night before the reporting date to confirm that you are still needed the following day. Cases frequently settle or get continued just before trial is ready to begin, and you may not need to report. The instructions will either state that you are still scheduled to appear or it will indicate your appearance date has been removed.
If the reporting date has been canceled, you will need to check the next Friday for your up-to-date instructions. If you report for service without calling the juror information line or the web site and you are not scheduled to report, you will not be paid for your attendance or reimbursed for your travel. Always check for up-to-date reporting instructions.
What is the dress code for jurors?
Appropriate attire for jurors is clothing that would be worn for an important business meeting. You are requested not to wear shorts, tank tops, tee shirts, halters or similar attire when reporting for jury service.