"Trial by jury is one of the fundamental ideals of American democracy; serving as jurors reminds us that these ideals exist only as long as individual citizens are willing to uphold them.”
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court
Jury Service REPORTING Instructions
Use the Court’s interactive jury reporting system (below) along with your juror badge and pin number from the upper left of your summons to:(1) Confirm if your service is required, (2) Check your current juror status, and (3) Postpone your date of service. Information about reporting for jury service is also available 24 hours a day at (831) 420-2203. Please call after 5:30 PM on the Friday before the date on your summons and each evening of the week you are summoned.
Parking for jurors reporting to the Santa Cruz Courthouse (701 Ocean Street) is available at:
- County Governmental Center Visitors Lot (Front of Courthouse) – Jurors must use two hour visitor spaces. Detach parking pass from juror summons and place on dash to avoid a ticket
- Metered spaces available on Dakota Avenue (Off Ocean Street)
- Street parking on Ocean and Water Streets (very limited)
- City of Santa Cruz Parking Garage located at 24 River Street (between Wells Fargo Bank and the Riverfront Twin Theater)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. I'm busy. Why should I serve?
As a juror you participate in an important public process and fulfill a civic obligation. All persons accused of a crime or involved in a civil dispute have a constitutional right to have a jury decide their cases. When you serve on a jury, you make important decisions affecting other people's lives as well as your own community.
2. How did you get my name?
All potential jurors are selected at random from a list that is created using contact information from the Department of Motor Vehicles and voter registration lists.
3. How does jury service work?
Jurors receive a summons in the mail and are placed on telephone standby beginning with the date printed on the summons and continuing through Friday of that business week. If you are required to report for service and you are not selected for a trial and you are not ordered to return for a second or subsequent day, your term of service will be completed. If you are selected for a trial, your term of service will be the length of that trial.
4. How long does a trial take?
Trial length depends on how complex the issues are and how long jurors spend in deliberations. Most trials are completed within a week. The judge knows approximately how long the trial will take and he or she will give you an idea when your group is called for jury selection. Judges are aware that long trials can be difficult. Let the judge know if it would be a serious hardship for you to serve on a long trial. Please be patient during this process because a lot of people have similar concerns about time.
5. May I postpone my service to another date?
Jurors who cannot serve during the date on the summons may use a one-time postponement by completing the REQUEST FOR POSTPONEMENT section on the summons (See Section A on the RESPONSE FORM). Jurors must select a new date within three (3) months of the date on the original summons. Jurors will receive a new summons by mail approximately one month prior to the newly selected date. There are a very limited number of circumstances under which a juror may be excused. Requests to be excused must be made in writing and are considered on an individual basis. Jurors must complete the REQUEST TO BE EXCUSED section of the summons and return it to the court. It is possible that you may have been excused in the past for a reason that still prohibits you from serving; however, California law requires that a new file be created each year. Therefore, jurors must complete the RESPONSE FORM from the summons and return it to the court along with applicable documentation.
6. How much will I be paid as a juror?
Starting on the second day of service, jurors receive a per diem of $15.00 per day and $0.34 (34 cents) per mile, one way from their residence to the court.
7. What kinds of trials will I hear?
Two types of trials have juries: criminal trials and civil trials. Juvenile and family law trials do not have juries.
8. Will court staff ask me for financial or personal information?
No. Staff of the superior courts will never ask past or prospective jurors for personal information like financial history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Do not provide this type of information to anyone claiming to be associated with the courts, and contact your local jury office if you receive this type of request. If you receive a telephone call, an e-mail or other form of electronic communication from someone identifying himself or herself as a court employee and requesting your personal information, you may be the victim of a jury fraud scam. Please do not provide any information and immediately contact the fraud unit of your local police department and the jury office of your local court.
9. Why do I always get summoned but other people don't?
Selection is random. If you have already responded to a summons or have served in the past 12 months, contact your local jury office. Explain to the staff person that you have been summoned twice in 12 months. It is important for you to contact the court to resolve the problem.
10. What if I have never been summoned but am interested in serving?
Jurors are summoned randomly from countywide lists maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the local registrar of voters. Inclusion in the list of eligible jurors does not guarantee that you will be immediately selected for jury service. If you have not been selected, you may contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and your local registrar of voters to update your mailing address.
11. What if I do not speak English?
You do not need to speak perfect English to serve as a juror. The court uses common, everyday language that people can understand. The work done by the courts affects all people, so it is important that all communities be a part of our justice system. No one person has to know everything. Jurors decide the outcome of a trial as a group, with each member making an important contribution. If you cannot understand English, follow the instructions on the summons or contact the jury office. If you need assistance, a friend or a family member who speaks English can call for you. However, you may still have to come in person to request a disqualification.
12. May I serve on a jury if I am a felon?
You may not serve on a jury if you have been convicted of a felony offense and your civil rights have not been restored. See California Code of Civil Procedure section 203(a)(5). However, if you have received a pardon from the Governor and had your civil rights restored pursuant to California Penal Code sections 4852.01-4854, you may serve on a jury. There are two ways to receive a pardon: one is by applying for and being granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, and the second is through a Direct Application for Pardon. Please consult an attorney for legal advice, the court, or your probation office for further guidance
13. What happens to my job obligations?
Your employer must allow you time off to serve on a jury. That is the law. The California Labor Code prevents any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned for jury service. School employees and students are protected as well in different parts of the law. However, you must let your employer know well in advance, as soon as you receive your summons. You should contact the court if you have a problem with your employer. Remember that you can postpone jury service to a more convenient time. Read your summons carefully or contact the jury office to find out how to request a postponement.
14. What if I care for a child or an adult?
If you have a child or an adult under your care, you may ask for a postponement or excuse from jury service. Read your summons carefully or contact the jury office. If you are a mother who is breastfeeding a child, you may request a postponement for up to one year by filling out the summons response form.
15. What do I do if I need special accommodations?
If you need certain accommodations such as assistance with a wheelchair, hearing amplification, or special seating, contact the jury office right away. Let them know what you will need. If they cannot reasonably accommodate you, you may request to be excused from jury service.
16. Why do jurors seem to wait around so much?/h3>
The judge and court staff try very hard to reduce the time prospective jurors spend waiting for assignment. The court asks for your patience and suggests that you bring a book or other reading material to occupy your time while waiting. The judge and court staff will explain delays when possible. The court is equipped with free WiFi Internet access for jurors.
17. What if I receive a summons for the grand jury?
- Click here for informaiton about the civil grand jury