Sep. 18, 2014

Jury Services

SCAM INFORMATION WARNING

The Yolo County Superior Court has learned of a scam in which identity thieves are calling potential jurors and threatening them for failing to report for jury service. The thieves then ask for confidential information. Court employees NEVER call local citizens and ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Citizens should not give out such information over the phone to anyone claiming to be with the judicial system Although the Court does not know of any such activity in Yolo County, we have received reports that this scam occurred in other California counties and in other states as well. If you receive such a telephone call, please contact the Jury Services Office immediately at (530) 406-6828.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A TRIAL

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.

As a juror, you will listen to opening statements and closing arguments from both sides of the case. You will learn about and weigh the evidence the lawyers will present during the trial. Jurors also decide if witnesses are believable. At the end, you will be asked to make a decision about the case after you have talked it over with the other jurors. You may speak to the other jurors about the case only during deliberations. You may not speak to anyone else about the case until it is over.

During the trial, the Judge is the court’s presiding officer and the final authority on the law. The lawyers act as advocates for their sides of the case. As a juror, you must be impartial. You are responsible for evaluating the facts and for applying the law to those facts. The Judge’s instructions explain the law. All of these combined efforts preserve fairness and justice in our state and nation.

Once you are assigned to a courtroom, please synchronize your watch to the clock in the courtroom so that you will return from breaks and lunch at the required time. If you have any questions, while you are in the courtroom, please speak to your bailiff who is your liaison to the court.

If there is an emergency at home, you can be contacted at the courthouse. In an emergency, the Judge can excuse you at any time during the trial, even during deliberations. If you are excused, an alternate can take your place. Of course, the emergency must be significant. The Judge will make the final decision.

SUMMONS AND APPEARANCE DATE

Your jury summons contains information about reporting for jury service, including:
• When and how to report for jury service
• Where to report
• Parking Information
• Assistance with postponement of service
• Requirements and instructions for excusal

APPEARANCE DATE

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SUMMONED for jury duty, you can confirm your appearance date, your current juror status, or postpone your date of service by using our jury self-service system and the juror badge number/Identification number located on your summons. All postponements or request to be excused need to be submitted at least 5 business days before your date of service. The court will not accept postponements or request to be excused on your date of service.

Located on your summon is your juror badge number/Identification number, date, time, and location to appear. Using your juror badge number/ Identification number, you may use either the self-service jury system or the self-service telephone system to check your appearance information each evening after 5:10 PM and/or 12 o’clock noon if scheduled to appear at 1:00 pm. Please follow all instructions until you receive notice to appear, notice of release until a future date, or notice of service completion.

Special Note: Due to the possibility of changes in the jury trial schedules, you may be required to appear at a time or date different from what appears on your jury summons. Therefore, it is very important for you to follow the call in instructions to prevent you from missing your appearance or appearing unnecessarily if your service was changed or cancelled.

You may call or go on-line to the Court web site for juror service information:
Jury Services: (530) 406-6701
Jury Web Site: www.yolo.courts.ca.gov/general-info/jury-services

REQUIREMENTS TO BE A JUROR

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. Your personal feelings and biases must not influence your decisions.

POSTPONEMENT OF JURY SERVICE

POSTPONEMENT INFORMATION

If you are not available on the date summoned to attend, you may for any reason, request a one-time postponement. Provide a new date within the next 6 months (any Monday - Wednesday, except holidays). All requests for postponements beyond 90 days must be made in writing.

Breast-feeding mothers may postpone their jury service for up to one year.

Students may request a one-time postponement of their service to the next school break. Complete the section titled "Request for Postponement" and return to the Jury Office within 10 days of receipt of your summons. If you are a full time student attending college out of the county and will not return for the year you may postpone your service for up to one year.

Please Note: if you have had a previous postpone within the year or you are not within the five business days from your day of service the online postponement will not be available to you. Please contact the Jury Office if assistance is needed at 530-406-6828

ONLINE POSTPONEMENT REQUEST

For online postponement request Click Here. All requests for postponements beyond 90 days must be made in writing.

Please Note: if you have had a previous postpone within the year or you are not within the five business days from your day of service the online postponement will not be available to you. Please contact the Jury Office if assistance is needed at 530-406-6828

EXCUSE FROM JURY SERVICE

EXCUSE REQUEST

If any of the following criteria applies, a prospective juror MAY request an excuse from service:

• Is under the age of 70 and has a physical or mental disability that would prevent them from serving. A doctor must provide a note verifying the disability and the note must specify the period for which the medical excuse is valid up to one year.

• Will experience extreme financial hardship – NOTE: You must attach a signed statement from your employer, on business letterhead verifying loss of pay. Self-employed please provide a letter stating the facts of your hardship and the court will take in consideration of your hardship on a case by case basis.

• Has a verifiable, non-professional obligation to provide care for another between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday and alternative arrangements are not feasible. Must provide the following information:
        Ages(s) of person(s) cared for
        Your relationship to person(s) cared for
        Type of care provided

In order to request an excuse from jury service, the juror must complete and return the Juror Response Form at least 5 working days prior to your service date.

Occupational reasons are not permissible when requesting exemption from service. Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason for excusal from jury service, however you may request a postponement for this reason.

DISQUALIFICATION FROM JURY SERVICE

DISQUALIFICATION REQUEST

A prospective juror MAY request disqualification from jury service if any of the following criteria applies:

• Is not a resident of Yolo County – must provide new residential address

• Is a convicted felon and civil rights have not been restored – must provide county where convicted and date of conviction

• Is under a conservatorship – must provide the court name and case number

• Is a peace officer as defined in the following sections under PC§830.1, PC§830.2(a)(b)(c), PC§ 830.33(a) – must provide agency name and badge number

• Is serving in the military – must provide branch of service and duty station

• Has fulfilled obligation as a Grand Juror or Trial Juror in the past 12 months or is now or will be serving soon as a Grand Juror or Trial Juror on another case

• Is not a citizen of the United States – must provide country of Citizenship and Passport/Alien Registration Card Number

Requests for disqualification from jury service, the juror must complete and return the Juror Response Form at least 5 working days prior to your service date.

Occupational reasons are not permissible when requesting exemption from service. Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason for disqualification from jury service, however you may request a postponement for this reason.

PARKING INFORMATION

For Additional Parking, please see the following locations and map below:

All Day Public Parking Lot located at College and Court across the street from the Public Library and Wells Fargo Bank.

Street parking is allowed in the residential areas behind the Court if you have a Handicap Decal or Placard, there are no parking restrictions as long as your Handicap Decal or Placard is visibly displayed. The court does not provide parking permits.

Parking citations resulting from improper parking are the responsibility of the juror. The Court has no sway with the City to reverse any parking tickets!

SECURITY INFORMATION

As a matter of public safety, all persons entering court facilities are subject to search. The Court prohibits all weapons and contraband. When entering any court facility everyone must pass through a security device. Your handbag, briefcase, backpack, and any containers may be x-rayed. Items that could potentially be used as a weapon are not permitted in the courthouse and will be confiscated; this may include, but is not limited to the following:

• Knives of any type
• Pepper Spray
• Metal Fingernail Files
• Tools
• Wallet Chains
• Screwdrivers
• Handwork Needles
• Scissors

COURTROOM ATTIRE

We suggest you wear comfortable clothing that fits with the importance and dignity of the courtroom (Rule 4.3 of the Local Rules of Court). While serving jury duty, the Court request that you dress in business casual attire. Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs, beach shoes, or similar dress is not appropriate for the courtroom. We suggest that jurors dress in layers as the temperature of the jury assembly room and courtrooms can be unpredictable. All hats and sunglasses must be removed prior to entering the courtroom and remain off while inside the courtroom.

COURTROOM MEDIA POLICY

Rule 4.5 of the Local Rules of Court and Rule 1.150 of the California Rules of Court prohibit photographing, videotaping, televising, or otherwise recording any court proceeding. In addition, Rule 4.6 of the Local Rules of Court and Rule 1.150 of the California Rules of Court state that you may not use computers, cellular phones, cameras, IPods, PDAs, tape recorders, or other electronic devices in the courtroom. The court requires all electronic equipment be shut off completely prior to entering the courtroom and remain off while you are inside the courtroom.

JURY ASSEMBLY ROOM

While the Local Rules of Court prohibits using all electronic devices in the courtroom, the court does permit use of this equipment in the Jury Assembly Room located at 725 Court Street, Room 301. In addition, the court offers Wi-Fi service for our jurors in the Jury Assembly Room. The Jury Assembly Room is strictly reserved for our jurors while serving jury duty.

The following amenities are also offered in the Jury Assembly Room:
• Coffee and Tea
• Vending Machines
• Refrigerator and Microwave
• Television – CNN only
• Magazines

SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS

If you are disabled or need special assistance, reasonable accommodations are available so that you can serve. Reasonable accommodations include but are not limited to wheelchair access, readers, assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters, or real-time captioning. Please call the Jury Services Office at (530) 406-6828 as soon as possible to allow the court time to make arrangements once you receive a jury summons. In most instances, we will postpone your jury service date to allow the court time to make arrangements to meet your needs.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The Yolo Superior Court will provide you with a bus pass if needed. Please contact the Jury Services Office in advance to obtain a bus pass for your Jury Service (530)406-6828. Yolo County enjoys a reliable public transit system through Yolobus. Yolobus, the county’s fixed-route bus system provides safe, affordable, and accessible transportation for all residents of Yolo County. The bus stop for Yolo County Superior Court is conveniently located in front of the courthouse at 725 Court Street.

Yolobus Customer Service phone hours: 7 am – 11 pm seven days a week
• (530) 666-2877
• (800) 371-2877 (from Yolo County only)
• (530) 666-5842 (TDD for hearing impaired)
http://www.yolobus.com

COMPENSATION/WORK VERIFICATION/NOTICE TO EMPLOYER

COMPENSATION CCP§215

Jurors will not receive payment for their first day of service, including sworn jurors who sit on a one-day trial. The fee for jurors in the superior court, in civil and criminal cases, is fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day starting with the second and subsequent days of actual jury service. Unless the juror waives reimbursement of mileage, all jurors shall be reimbursed for mileage at the rate of ($.34) per mile one-way from their home to the courthouse. Yolo County automatically calculates mileage using the juror’s zip code from their place of residence.

Notice to Government Employees: According to legislation signed by the Governor in August 2004, a government employee is not entitled to receive the $15 per diem portion of jury pay for serving jury duty.

The code reads as follows: “If you are employed by a federal, state or local government entity or by any other public entity such as city, county, the Regents of the University of California, district, including school and special districts, public authority, public agency, or any other political subdivision or public corporation in the state (CCP§481.200), and he/she receives regular compensation and benefits from his/her employer while performing jury service…” It further states that, “Government employees are still entitled to receive mileage reimbursement unless the mileage fee is specifically waived.”

VERIFICATION OF SERVICE

The Work Verification form, which the employee/juror gives to their employer, as proof of service will be available for pick up from the Jury Services Offices at the end of your service. If you are selected as a seated juror on a trial, you are to pick up your work verification form from the Jury Services Office at the completion of your service. The proof of service form will be inclusive of all the days you actually appeared for jury service. Even if your employer does not require proof of service, it is always advisable to pick up a form anyway for your own personal records.

FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR JURY SERVICE

FAILURE TO APPEAR

If you are qualified and you have not been excused or had your service postponed, you must report for jury service. You may only have to call on the phone or check a web site to find out if you need to report for jury service.

If you did fail to appear for jury service, please contact the Jury Service Office immediately to reschedule your service (530) 406-6701. Failure to do so could lead to fines, jail time, or a combination of the two. See Failure to Appear Policy

FAILURE TO RESPOND CCP§209

Jury service in not voluntary, but a civic duty imposed upon all qualified citizens. If you fail to report for jury service as instructed, you may need to appear before a judge to explain the reason. If the judge finds you in contempt of court, the judge may fine you up to $1,500. Jail time in addition to the fine is also possible. Carefully follow the instructions on the summons and contact the court if you need help.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

May I reschedule?

Yes, but NOT on your date of service. All postponements need to be submitted at least five business days before your date of service. The Court realizes prospective jurors may be summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to postpone service to a more convenient time. Jurors are entitled to a one time postponement not to exceed 6 months from the summons date. You may postpone your jury service by calling the automated system at 530-406-6701 if you are requesting a postponement beyond 90 days you will need to submit your request in writing the automated system will not allow postponements beyond 90 days from your date of service. A new summons will be sent to you approximately four (4) weeks prior to your new date of service.

Please Note: If you have had a previous postponement within the year or you are not within the five business days from your date of service the online postponement and automated telephone system will not be available to you.

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.

How long does an average trial last?

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

Where is the Jury Assembly Room?

725 Court Street, Room 301, Woodland, CA

Can my employer prevent me from attending?

No. Please see the section “ Employer Retaliation.” located on the upper left hand corner of your jury summons.

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.

Will I be sequestered in a hotel room?

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

Is Day Care provided?

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

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.

How long must I continue to call back?

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

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. Please call the court immediately. (530)406-6828

How often must I serve?

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

a) The juror served on a trial as a seated juror,
b) Appeared for jury service and did not request a hardship excuse,
c) Appeared for jury service and was not selected, or
d) 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.

What if I miss my report date?

Please contact the court immediately. (530)406-6828

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.

I received a failure to appear notice now what?

If you received a failure to appear notice please follow the instructions on the letter and call the office to arrange a new date to serve. Due to the high volume of calls there may be time where we are unable to answer the phone during the hours specified on the notice. Please leave a message with your full name and phone number a staff member will contact you by the end of the next business day.

LOCATION AND HOURS

Location: 725 Court Street, Room 303
                  Woodland, CA 95695

Hours:   8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
               1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Phone: (530) 406-6701
               Juror phone-in system

Phone: (530) 406-6828
to reach Jury personnel or leave a message

Fax:(530) 406-6826

Website: yolo.courts.ca.gov/general-info/jury-services

Email: juryservices@yolo.courts.ca.gov

Juror Unattended Phone system:(530) 406-6701

© 2014 Superior Court of California - County of Yolo