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When you become 18, it is very likely you will attend jury duty at some point in your lifetime. As an American Citizen it is our civic duty, when called upon, to show up when summoned (called), to attend jury duty. Not only is it your responsibility, but you are legally obligated to attend. Being on a jury can be a rich and rewarding experience and provides you the opportunity to get an inside look at how our legal system works.

 

Q: Does being 18 make me eligible for jury duty?

A: That’s part of it. You also must be a U.S. Citizen and a resident of the jurisdiction in which you are summoned to serve. You must also have never have been convicted of a felony (unless your civil rights have been restored) or be currently adjudicated mentally incompetent or insane (A.R.S. §21-201).

 

Q: If they call me to serve, do I have to answer?

A: Yes. All qualified citizens have an obligation to serve when summoned (A.R.S. §21-202) unless they are excused for some special reason or are granted a postponement (A.R.S. §21-336). In fact, failure to respond and report for jury service may subject you to punishment.

 

Q: Can I be excused?

A: The Court may excuse people in the following circumstances (A.R.S. §21-202):

  • Those people with a mental or physical condition that causes them to be incapable of performing jury service
  • Anyone whose jury service would affect the public interest or welfare in an adverse manner
  • Anyone who is not currently capable of understanding the English language
  • Anyone who would experience extreme physical or financial hardship or serving would cause harm to someone  under the care of the person who is called upon for jury duty

The judge may also excuse people in other special circumstances, but this is not automatically granted. In the event you request to be excused, you must provide the court with documentation that supports your request (A.R.S. §21-202).

 

Q: How do they decide who should be called to serve on a jury?

A: A list of potential jurors is usually prepared from voter registration and driver's license lists. Before a jury is needed, names are chosen at random from those lists and those people are notified to appear at court. Questionnaires are also sent to those people to determine their qualifications. This is the jury pool from which jurors are chosen (A.R.S. §21-301 - §21-314 & §21-331).

 

Q: If I’m called to serve, will I be part of a jury?

ANot necessarily. More people are notified to appear than will be needed because some requests to be excused are approved, and some people may be excused by the judge or the attorneys following questioning.

 

Q: Once I have responded and appeared for jury service, what’s next?

A: Once you are in the jury assembly room, names are chosen at random from those who have appeared for jury duty to go to a courtroom for jury selection. The judge asks general questions of all potential jurors, and may excuse people for certain reasons. Lawyers may ask other questions and then may ask the judge to excuse other potential jurors. Each lawyer is allowed to excuse from the case. a limited number of people without any reason given.

 

Q: Why would a judge excuse some people and not others?

AJudges have the right to excuse prospective jurors from serving on a particular jury for a variety of reasons. Including, but not limited to:

  • Family members related to someone involved in the case
  • Financial interest in the case
  • Prejudice or bias about the case or the parties
  • Already formed opinions about the outcome of the case

 

Q: How will this effect the time I may have to take off from my job?

A: Your employer may not refuse to permit you to serve as a juror and may not dismiss you or penalize you in any way if you serve on any type of jury trial. However, your employer is not required by law to compensate you while you are absent from employment because of jury service (A.R.S. §21-236).

 

Q: How is my jury service obligation fulfilled?

AGenerally, your jury service obligation is fulfilled when you have (A.R.S. §21-332):

  • served on one trial until being excused or discharged;
  • appeared at court, but are not assigned for selection of a jury before the end of the day;
  • appeared at court and were assigned to one or more jury selections that day, and were excused or not selected for a jury;
  • complied with a request to telephone a court or check a court's website to report in on a particular day for four days within a thirty day period; or
  • provided the court with a valid telephone number and are ready to serve on the same day for  two days.

 

Q: Do I get anything for serving on a jury?

A: For each day’s attendance you will be paid $12, and a mileage fee for travel from your home to the court and back, equal to the fee paid to state officers and employees through A.R.S. §38-623. You may apply for additional compensation if you are selected to serve in a jury trial that lasts for more than five days and your employer does not fully compensate you for the time of your jury service (A.R.S. §21-221 & §21-222).

 

Q: How often can I be called for jury service?

A: If you have been summoned and selected to serve on a jury, you are not required to serve again as a juror in any court in the state for two years following the last day of your service. If you have been summoned and appeared for jury service in Maricopa County, but were not selected for a jury trial, you will be excused from further service as a juror for eighteen months (A.R.S. §21-335).

 

Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.