How should I dress?
The Judiciary requires appropriate attire in the courtroom; specifically no tank tops, shorts, hats or "flip-flop" sandals are allowed. Jurors may also want to bring a sweater or jacket since the courtrooms are often cool.
How are Jurors Selected?
Each year, the State Election Commission provides Lancaster County with a list containing the names of registered voters, persons holding valid driver's licenses, and persons with state identification cards. Duplicate names and persons under the age of 18 have already been stricken from the list by the state. This list is on a magnetic tape and is used by Lancaster County to create a computer file from which jurors are selected. The jury selection computer program insures that jurors are selected entirely at random.
How do I know if I've been involved in a jury scam?
Individuals claiming to be court officers or law enforcement officers may contact you stating a warrant has been issued for your failure to appear for jury duty. These individuals will also try to verify your personal information and/or tell you that the warrant can be taken care of by paying a fine with your credit card or by obtaining a pre-paid debit card.
Do not give out any sensitive personal information. Court officials will not ask for confidential information or money over the phone. If you believe you have been a victim of a jury scam, contact your local police agency to file a report about the incident.
How long do I have to serve?
Your service will normally be only for one week. Numerous courts may be in session during the term for which you have been selected to serve. Cases set for trial may be postponed or settled just as they are scheduled to begin, and other cases may be moved up on the Jury Trial Roster. Since it is impossible to predict the outcome of the cases on the Roster, you should plan to be with us the entire week. The hours of court operation are determined by the presiding Judge; however, court generally begins each day at 9:30 AM and adjourns at approximately 5:30 PM. At the end of each day or if dismissed earlier, you should make sure that you know where and at what time you should report on the next day.
Is there any special "courtroom etiquette" I should be aware of?
There are certain rules of behavior that a juror should follow. Foremost among these is the requirement to always be on time. Delays inconvenience the judge, the attorney's, the parties, witnesses and other jurors. When a court session begins and the judge enters the courtroom, everyone including the jurors, should rise. You should always give your undivided attention to every question and answer during a trial, and during the voir dire process. You must answer all questions put to you with complete honesty. You should attempt to be as quiet as possible in court, and also when you are in the hallways near the courtrooms.
What can I bring with me to the Judicial Center?
You aren't required to bring anything with you, although you may wish to bring a book or magazine to read during any delays or waiting periods; do not bring newspapers. Because of the need for quiet, you should not bring items such as computer games. Also, you may not bring activated cellular phones or pagers into the courtroom.
When you arrive at the Judicial Center, you will be required to pass through a metal detector. This metal detector is provided for the security of yourself and others. The guards on duty are required to confiscate such contraband items as guns, knives, mace, or other implements which could be used as weapons or are considered a danger to the court. If you own such items, you should leave them at home.
Will I definitely sit in on a trial when I perform jury duty?
Your name may never be drawn for a trial. There are many factors involved in selecting a jury for a case, and it may be that you are never actually called upon to deliberate a case. It is also possible that you will be selected to deliberate multiple cases. When you check in with the court at roll call on the first day, you become part of a general jury pool.
I don't mind serving as a juror, but this is a really bad time. Can I reschedule my jury service?
Yes; persons seeking a postponement of service should contact the Clerk of Court. You will be asked to state your reasons for seeking the postponement, but postponements are generally granted for good cause. Typical reasons might be a student with final exams scheduled for the same week as the jury term, someone recovering from a serious illness, or a business person who expects to be out-of-town on business. If the postponement is allowed, you will be informed of a new date on which to report for jury duty. Your jury service may be postponed only one time.
I don't want to serve on jury duty. What do I do?
Unless you are disqualified, exempted, or have been excused by the Clerk of Court you are required to appear in court at the day and time specified on the jury summons. Failure to appear may result in a citation for contempt of court, and a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest. Persons seeking to be excused should contact the jury clerk. If you do not contact the jury clerk, or should the jury clerk be unable to excuse you, you are required to appear on the first day of the jury term and request the judge to excuse you.
Who may be excused from jury service?
You may ask the presiding Judge to excuse you from jury service if you can show good and sufficient reason by application filed with the clerk of court, showing why you should not have to serve. Typical reasons might include temporary or permanent physical disability, people with children under the age of seven without means of providing adequate care while performing jury duty, or primary caretakers of a disabled person or a person age 65 or older who cannot care for themself. Before you can be excused for one of these reasons, you may be asked to furnish an affidavit to the Clerk of Court.
Will I be paid for serving as a juror? What about mileage and parking?
Juror compensation is set by Lancaster County Council. You will be compensated for your service as a juror at a rate of $15 per day. You will be paid for each day you are required to report for service. Free parking is available at the corner of Main Street and Meeting Street beside the courthouse, and behind the courthouse with entrances on Dunlap and Meeting Streets.