Overslept for jury duty? Judge gave juror 10 days in jail

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  • Ana Bonilla

Jul 7, 2017

    Ana Bonilla Jul 7, 2017

    “Very educational. I got the summons and want to serve, however I’m pursuing a city job which doesn’t allow absence in the beginning stages. This really helped me have a better understanding of how jury duty works! Thank you so much for creating this! Also, it definitely helps those who do not want to serve. “…” more

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How Long Does It Take to Complete Jury Duty?

Jury duty may be a short commitment, or it may be a long one. The average juror will serve three to four days on trial, and many jurors will be in and out after only a one- or two-day commitment.

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself on a long, drawn-out case (like a serious crime or a major civil dispute), you may end up working on that case for months, but that is very rare. Jury service is very unpredictable, and that is why so many people are eager to get out of it.

Reaching a Verdict

Deliberations may take a few hours or a few days. While you and the other jurors debate the evidence in the case, you may all draw from your life experiences to make sense of things, but you’re prohibited from using any outside resources, such as libraries or the Internet. Any questions will get submitted to the court for further clarification. It’s considered "juror misconduct" to consider evidence that wasn’t produced at trial and, if it happens, the judge will likely declare a mistrial, meaning the case will have to be heard all over again with a new jury. Similarly, a jury that can’t come to an agreement about the verdict may be considered "hung," and the case would have to be retried.

More Ways to Get Excused From Jury Duty

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Jury Selection

Next, the attorneys and judge will begin their "voir dire ," where they question both the group and individuals about potential biases against the parties or preconceived notions about elements of the case. During this process, it’s possible for many of the potential jurors to be dismissed without any explanation from the attorneys. They just decide, based on the juror’s answers to their questions, whether that person would be fair to their client. If you happen to be one of the dismissed jurors, you’ll report back to the assembly room and await further instructions.

How Does Jury Duty Work?

When you are called for jury duty, you'll receive the official summons calling you to be available for jury duty at a particular time, date, and place. When you arrive at the assigned court, your first task is to fill out a questionnaire and participate in the jury selection process.

In some municipalities, the potential juror can call the court the night before they have been asked to report for jury duty to find out whether their services will be needed the next day.

State laws address jury duty and these laws differ between states. Check with your state’s labor department to find the laws that govern jury duty in your particular state. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a listing of state labor offices where you can find this information.

If a person has been called for jury duty, a number of outcomes may ensue. They may request and be granted a delay or postponement to a more convenient time during the year. Typically, this requires a phone call and possibly filling out a jury questionnaire, and the potential juror should be prepared to provide an alternate time in the future when they will be able to serve.

The rules for requesting a postponement will vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Also, be aware that just because a person requests a postponement or delay does not mean the court will grant it.

It's also possible to request an exemption to be excused from jury duty altogether. Accepted reasons for a possible exemption vary by state but may include financial hardship, medical reasons, full-time student status, or caregiver duties. Exemptions aren't guaranteed, and usually, they must be accompanied by a written note or proof of the situation, such as a note from a doctor if someone is claiming a medical reason.

Paid Jury Duty Leave

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of employees who work in state government, 94% receive paid jury duty leave. Of employees who work in local government employment, 85% receive paid jury duty leave. Federal employees receive their regular salary while they perform jury duty.

In the private sector, 57% of employees receive paid jury duty leave.

The percentage of workers who receive paid jury duty leave varies widely and is based on the job title, job level or classification, type of work, industry, and location.

The majority of states leave an employer's jury duty policy up to the employer. However, eight states require employers to pay their employees while serving jury duty:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Tennessee

Some states specify what the employer must pay an employee, which is usually the same as the jury duty pay for a certain amount of days at the beginning of the process. After that, for additional days of jury duty, the state court system pays the employee the going rate for jury duty. Other states specify that the employee must be paid their regular pay while reporting for jury duty.

As an example, in New York, the jury fee is $40 a day. New York law states that if a company has more than 10 employees, they must pay the juror their regular daily wage or the $40 juror fee, whichever is lower, for the first three days of jury service. If the juror is paid less than the juror fee, the state will make up the difference.

The Bottom Line Jury duty is when a U.S citizen is summoned to serve on a jury in a court proceeding.An employer is not required by federal law to pay you for time not worked, including jury duty, but some state laws do require that employees be paid when serving jury duty.You cannot be fired for taking time off work for jury duty.

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