Answers to Frequently Asked Jury Duty Questions
Called for jury duty in Erie County, Pennsylvania? We have Erie County’s answers to some frequently asked jury duty questions. For more information about the trial of injury, malpractice, and insurance cases, call today for a free, no-obligation consult at 814-833-7100 or toll free at 814-833-7100.
Jury Duty is an important civic duty, but it is one that many citizens know little about. In fact, as Erie trial lawyers, we frequently get questions from family, friends, and clients when they get their jury duty summonses. Fortunately, Erie County has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked jury duty questions and we provide those answers here for you.
Who may be called to serve as a juror?
The service you will be performing as jurors in the Court is the cornerstone of our judicial system. It is a vital duty of every citizen and absolutely essential to our form of democratic society. Without it, our system of justice could be ruled by oppression or engulfed in anarchy. Fulfilling your obligation as a juror ensures your fellow citizens of a fair decision regarding their property rights or their life and liberty.
How was my name selected for jury duty?
The process of selecting jurors began many months ago when a computer randomly chose your name from a list of over 215,000 registered voters in the county and from the statewide drivers’ license list. Some people were exempted by law from this duty and others were excused because of medical or other reasons. For many of you, serving as a juror is an inconvenience and a sacrifice. However, the success of the jury system depends upon your willingness to serve. Your contribution is important not only to the community, but also to you personally, since our form of society is only as strong as its system of justice. Your participation as a juror will leave you with firsthand knowledge of the judicial branch of government. You will find most trials extremely interesting and will feel gratified to have taken part in a real-life situation of great significance to your fellow citizens. You should take pride in helping to preserve and strengthen our system of justice.
Why have some people never been called for jury service and I’ve been called more than once?
Selection is a random computer process. As such, there is always a chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times.
Will I be automatically exempted from service if I am a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or school teacher?
No. Jury service is a civic obligation that we all have. No one is automatically excused because of their occupation. Many doctors, lawyers, dentists, and school teachers have served as jurors in Erie County. Not even the judges themselves are exempt from jury duty.
How long will I have to serve?
Let us now clear up a few misconceptions you may have about jury duty and alert you to some of the rules of conduct that each juror must follow during a trial. Court usually begins at 9:30 a.m. and adjourns at approximately 4:30 p.m. each day, unless you are instructed differently. It is important to be on time since many people are dependent on your actions. Your length of service is for one day or one trial. If you are chosen to serve as a juror in a trial, you will return each day to hear the case until it is completed. The trial may be carried over into the following week, in which event jurors are usually notified in advance. However, if you are not chosen to serve on a panel by the end of the day, your juror obligation has been completed and you will be excused. Jurors normally are not required to stay overnight.
What can I expect if I am required to report?
You will be greeted by jury personnel in Room 211, Second Floor of the Erie County Courthouse, and they will check you in. A brief orientation will be provided by advising you of the jury selection procedures. During the jury selection, you will be told about the length of the trial. Any conflicts that you may have will be addressed during the jury selection.
What time will I arrive and leave?
The normal business hours for the court are 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You may be required to report at a different time, and the phone call-in system or website will advise you of the specific time to report if your services are required. If you are seated on a trial, you may serve later than 4:30 p.m. Morning, afternoon, and lunch breaks will be provided.
What is the telephone call-in procedure?
After you have received and responded to your summons, the telephone procedure should be followed based upon your service dates from your summons. You must call the Jury Information Line: 814-833-7100 after 4:30 p.m. on the business day of your service, or go to the Erie County website at www.eriecountygov.org and go to Jury Duty. Please listen carefully and follow instructions.
How much do I get paid for jury duty?
According to PA law, jurors are paid $9.00 per day for the first three days of jury service and $25.00 per day for every day thereafter. PA law also calls for payment of mileage at the rate of .17 cents per mile. Mileage is calculated by using the zip code table from the Erie County Courthouse to the center of the zip code listed in the mailing address of the juror. Your juror payment will be mailed to you within 6-9 weeks of your service date.
Does my employer have to pay me while I am serving jury duty?
PA law does not require an employer to compensate an employee for jury service. Check with your employer for their individual policy.
What happens if a person ignores a summons or fails to report for jury service?
The law provides that such conduct is Contempt of Court, punishable by fine or imprisonment.
Is there an exemption due to my age?
PA law does not exclude persons due to their age. However, Erie County is liberal with excusing senior citizens upon written request for good cause.
Why do I have to wait until the night before to find out if I have to report?
The number of jurors needed by the court changes daily. An adequate number of jurors must be summoned each day to cover potential trials. They try to summon as few jurors as possible. In the past, all jurors summoned were required to report to the Courthouse each day and then were sent home if they were not needed. As a convenience to jurors, they established the call-in system to avoid an unnecessary trip to the Courthouse.
What should I do if being a juror at the time would create a hardship for me?
Only those persons for whom jury service would be an extreme hardship may be excused. Should you need to be excused from jury duty or have your jury duty postponed, YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST IN WRITING to the Jury Coordinator, Erie County Courthouse, 140 West 6th Street, Room 207, Erie, PA 16501. Please include your jury summons number and service date with your correspondence.
Where do I park when I report for jury duty?
If you drive, Erie County government provides discounted parking for $3.00 at the Municipal Parking Ramps on Peach Street (between 7th and 8th Streets) and on 9th Street (between Peach and Sassafras Streets). Bring your ticket stub from the parking ramp with you to the Courthouse so that it can be stamped. The Court is not responsible for parking violations.
What if I have an emergency on the day that I am to report?
If there is a sudden illness or emergency which will prevent you from appearing on your service date, please call the Jury Coordinator’s office at 814-833-7100 after 8:30 a.m.
What should I wear?
Dress should be comfortable, business casual. Jeans, shorts, tank tops, etc. are prohibited.
Will I have to go through any security measures when I enter the Courthouse?
Yes, all persons entering the Courthouse are subject to a security search and will be required to pass through a metal detector. Please do not bring any sharp objects with you (for example: scissors, pen knives, and knitting needles) when reporting for jury duty.
Do you provide childcare while serving as a juror?
Childcare is not provided at the Erie County Courthouse. Jurors are expected to arrange for childcare during their term of jury service.
What should I bring when I report?
You should bring something to read during waiting periods. Magazines are provided in the Jury Assembly Room for your convenience.
Contact an Erie County Trial Lawyer
You may be looking for an Erie injury lawyer with experience in trials, including trials after accident injury claims, car insurance disputes, health care malpractice, and other injury cases. For a free, no-obligation consult with one of our Erie injury attorneys, call today 814-833-7100 or toll free at 814-833-7100 or use the online consult form.