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Jury FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the Jury-services-related questions below for more information.


You will first need to report to the jury commissioner’s office with your jury summons. It is important to bring your summons and to have your juror badge number available as they will use that number to check you in. There will be a brief orientation prior to assignment to a particular courtroom. Be prepared to wait as it may take some time to determine whether or not you will actually need to serve.

The jury office is located on the second floor of the courthouse. Please visit the Locations & Contact Info page for more information.

There are no excuses for lack of transportation. Public transportation is available through "THE BUS":

(209) 384-3111 OR 1-800-834-3111


YOUR APPEARANCE is confirmed or cancelled by a recorded message.

You must call (209) 725-4121 or 1-888-486-4398 any time after 5:00 pm the night before you are scheduled to appear (see summons) and every evening until you are excused.

If the line is busy call back again until you get through. It is busiest around 5 pm, if you call after 7 pm you will be likely to get through the first time. When prompted you will need to enter your 9-digit badge number then follow the recorded instructions. The jury system is available from 5 pm to 7 am.

Failure to appear as summoned may result in monetary sanctions from $250 to $1,500, a jail sentence or other legal consequences.

Juror selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times. It is truly the "luck of the draw". However, if your name appears one way on the voter list and another way on your driver's license, your chances of being called increases. The court is not permitted to make changes to these lists.

You MUST provide our office with a statement signed by a doctor that states your name, date of birth, specific reason(s) you are unable to serve, and how long the condition will exist (the length of the excuse 1 month, 6 months, 1 year or permanently). A medical excuse requires a doctor’s letter be provided for all persons under the age of 70 years.
You may have your doctor’s office fax all notes to the jury office at 209-725-4122. See Section 3 box 14.

If you MUST provide actual and necessary care to a member, Monday through Friday. Please provide written verification from the family member’s physician listing age, relationship, and reason for providing care. See Section 3 box 15.

No, you will need to fill out Section 2 on your jury summons requesting a (1) one time 1 year postponement. (you may request up to one year from your child’s date of birth). If you require additional time please provide a note from your physician. See Section 2 box 2.

You can stay no later than 5:00 pm.

Yes, everyone has to serve jury duty unless you are an active peace officer as defined by Penal Code Sections 830.1 or 830.2(a)-(c) or 830.33(a). Correctional officers DO NOT fall under these code sections. See section 1 box 9.

No, only if you are 70 years or older with a health problem that no longer permits you to serve. (Once you are 70, you are not required to provide us with a doctor’s excuse but you still have to respond to your jury summons). See section 3 box 1.

No, only if you have served State prison time and have NOT had your rights restored. See section 1 box 7 on jury summons.

An employer is not required to pay a person during their period of jury service. However, an employer may not discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for taking the time off to serve as required by law on a jury trial if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that he or she is required to serve.

Please visit the Court Security page to see court security policies and items that are not allowed into the courthouses.

How long?

Prepare to be available on the day printed on summons and through Friday of that week. When reporting, plan to be available for the entire day. Reporting jurors may be selected to serve on a case of any length.

How often?

The average length of a jury trial, if you are selected to serve, is 3 to 5 days and you will have satisfied your obligation for at least a year. Those who report but are excused have also satisfied their obligation for at least a year.

Yes, as long as the request is not made the week of your jury service. The clerk is authorized to grant 1 ninety-day postponement if made in advance. Fill out your requested date on the jury summons response form. If you are breastfeeding, you may have your service postponed for up to a year.

Notify your employer the day you receive this summons. State law prohibits discrimination or retaliation against an employee for taking time off to serve as a juror. California Labor Code, Section 230(a).

Your employer must let you off to serve as a juror under Labor Code Section 230. Your employer cannot fire you because you are called for jury duty as long as you provide them with reasonable notice. Your employer does not have to pay you for the time you take off to serve.

California law does not allow excuse from jury duty due to lack of child care. You may, however, request one (1) postponement. Fill out the request for postponement section on the reverse side of your summons and mail it immediately.

California law does not allow excuse from jury duty while attending classes. You may, however, request one (1) postponement. Fill out the request for postponement section on the reverse side and mail it immediately.

Yes. California law reads in part: "No eligible person may be exempt from service as a trial juror by reason of occupation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, economic status, sexual orientation, or for any other reason."

Assisted listening device is available for the hearing impaired. Notify the jury staff upon your arrival. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all state and local governmental entities, including the courts, to accommodate the needs of all persons with disabilities. To arrange for your needs, contact the jury office immediately upon receipt of this summons and request form MC-410 per California Rules of Court, Rule 1.100.

For more information, please visit the ADA page.

There are no excuses for lack of transportation. Public transportation is available through "THE BUS":

(209) 384-3111 OR 1-800-834-3111

Requests to be excused from jury service must be submitted in writing 5 days prior to the date you are called to serve to be considered, otherwise you are expected to appear on the day you are summoned. No excuses will be granted the day you are to serve except by a Judge.

This process is also called voir dire (French for “to say the truth”). A panel of prospective jurors is randomly selected, sent to a courtroom and given an oath to tell the truth. From that panel a smaller group is randomly called to be seated in the jury box. They are then asked questions by the judge and the attorneys for each side. The judge may excuse some jurors and the attorneys may ask some jurors to be excused for cause. (This means there is a reason for excusing them). Then some jurors may also be excused by the attorneys without giving a reason. This is called a peremptory challenge.

Juror pay is $15.00 per day beginning the second day of service. Federal, State, and local government employees are excluded from payment.

In California, generally 12 jurors are chosen, however there may be fewer than 12 in certain types of cases or if both sides agree. Alternative jurors may also be chosen to replace a juror if the need arises. They are expected to conduct themselves as jurors and listen carefully to all the evidence.

No. In fact you can’t even discuss the case with your fellow jurors until the jury deliberations at the end of the trial. The judge will give you instructions you must promise to follow. You are not allowed to do any outside research on your own. You will be asked to keep an open mind and not form any opinion until you have weighed all the evidence in the case.

A recent method for scammers to obtain personal information to be used in the theft of identity is from a scam being referred to as the “Jury Duty Scam”.

The scammers call the residence or office number of the victim and identify themselves as an officer or employee of the local court or jurisdiction. The scammers notify the victim, that he/she has failed to report for jury duty, and a bench warrant was issued against them for their arrest. The victim’s reaction is one of shock and surprise which places them at an immediate disadvantage, and much more susceptible to the scam.

The scammers reassure the victim of the possibility that it is “just a misunderstanding” or “some sort of clerical error” that can all be straightened up on the phone. All the victim needs to do is “verify” their information with a few simple questions.

The scammers obtains names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and will solicit credit card or bank account numbers claiming these will be used by their credit bureau to “verify” the victim’s identity. Any reluctance on the victim’s part and the scammers will threaten that the failure to provide the information will result in an execution of an arrest warrant.

Legitimate court employees will never call to solicit information, and would send any official notifications by standard mail delivery. Any person’s receiving such calls should record the scammer’s phone number (if possible via Caller ID) and report the contact to law enforcement.

Information provided within the document was obtained from the United States Army with their permission.

Never give any personal information to anyone via telephone unless you know for a fact, they are who they say they are.

Report suspicious activity to the Merced County Sheriffs Department, 209-385-7360.

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