Frequently Asked Questions

 

   

1. Is jury service mandatory? 


Yes, it is an obligation of citizenship.  As a juror, you participate in a critical 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 people's lives and issues that concern you and your community.

 

2. What kinds of trials will I hear?

 

Two types of trials have juries: criminal trials and civil trials.  On occasion mental health cases may require jurors.  Juvenile and family law trials do not have juries.

 

3. Are there any requirements to serve jury duty? 

 

You do not need any special skills or legal knowledge to be a juror.  All you need is an open mind and a readiness to work with the other jurors to make decisions.  You also need to be impartial - in other words, you must not allow your personal feelings and biases to influence your decisions.

 

4. Where do you get your names for jury duty? 


We select all jurors at random from lists.  Yolo Superior Court receives names annually from the Yolo County Voter Registration lists and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

 

5. Can I request an excuse for medical, mental or physical disability reasons?


A juror must provide a physician's verification note on a prescription pad or letterhead signed by a doctor.  The note must state that the juror cannot serve on jury duty for medical reasons and should indicate the duration of the illness or problem.  If the condition is permanent or long term and the juror wants to be permanently excused from jury service, the physician's note must also include the following information in the statement, “Please permanently excuse [juror's name] from jury service."

 

6. What is the term of service? 


On January 1, 2000, Yolo Superior Court implemented a “One Day or One Trial" jury system.  Under this new system, jurors could possibly appear for one day only.  If a juror receives an excuse for cause or through preemptory challenges during Voir Dire, then said juror will have satisfied their obligation for one year.  If however, the judge grants the juror a hardship excuse, then said juror is eligible for random selection again to complete their jury service within the next 90 to 180 days, unless the juror selects a date with the jury service staff.  However, sworn jurors are obligated for the duration of the trial.  Under our current system, nearly 80% of those summoned serve only one day or less.  Trials generally last between three and six days.  Most judges will attempt to give a time estimate for that particular trial upon arrival in the courtroom, as well as a daily schedule for the proceedings.

 

7. May I reschedule? 


Yes you can reschedule your jury service, but NOT on the day of appearance, except in the case of an emergency.  You must submit all requests for postponement no later than five (5) working days prior to appearance date on the summons.  You may request a postponement, if you have health problems, a paid vacation, or other personal commitments previously scheduled on your jury service date.  Generally, the jury commissioner can grant you a 90-day deferment, but you are limited to one deferment before mandatory appearance.  You also have the option of requesting a specific week within that period.

 

8. How late will I be there?


You should plan to be present from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.  Courts are generally in session from 9:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

 

9. How long does an average trial last?


In most cases, the average length of a trial is three to six days.

 

10. Where is the Jury Assembly Room?


725 Court Street, Room 301, Woodland, CA.

 

11. Can my employer prevent me from attending?


No.  Please see the section “Notice to Employers."

 

12. Does my employer have to pay me when on Jury Duty?


There is no law that compels your employer to pay.  Check with your supervisor or personnel department before coming to court.

 

13. Will I be sequestered in a hotel room?


This is an extremely rare occurrence.  Yolo County jurors are not typically sequestered.

 

14. Is Day Care provided?


No.  Please make other arrangements for your children's care.

 

15. How will I know if my postponement request was granted?


You may call back and re-enter your juror badge number on the phone or you may access our Jury Self Service and verify that your postponement request was processed.

 

16. How long must I continue to call back?


You must continue to call back each evening after 5:10 pm until released.

 

17. What happens if I am late and cannot get to court before the trial starts?


The trial cannot start without you.  Each juror must hear all the evidence.  If you are late, the judge, lawyers, court assistants, witnesses, and all the other jurors must wait for you.  Although there may be delays caused by any number of reasons, it is very important for jurors to be on time.  If unavoidably detained, please call the court immediately.

 

18. How often must I serve?


In Yolo County, a person is exempt from further jury service for 12 months if:

    1. The juror served on a trial as a seated juror,
    2. Appeared for jury service and did not request a hardship excuse,
    3. Appeared for jury service and was not selected, or
    4. Was scheduled to appear at 1:00 pm but had their service cancelled on the same day at 12 noon. 

If you were summoned for service, but your group was cancelled the day before, then your service is not considered complete and you can be summoned again within the next 60 to 90 days to complete your service.

   

19. How should I dress?


Business attire is suggested.  Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs, beach shoes, or similar dress is not appropriate for the courtroom.  Jurors are advised to dress in layers as the temperature of the jury assembly room and courtrooms can be unpredictable.