Jury duty and the right to a jury by one’s peers was first declared in the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. In order to assure that all trials were conducted fairly and people felt that they weren’t being cheated by the justice system (as they felt during their time under British rule), Congress created this amendment. Jury service is a civic duty, required by law, as one of the foundations of our democratic system of government. The goal of the jury selection process is to summons a cross section of the community in order to constitute a legal jury for the civil and criminal courts.
In California, Jury Service is mandatory and prospective jurors’ names are obtained from voter registration and DMV records. Service may be required as often as once per year and can be from one day to the length of one trial, usually two to three weeks but can depend on the type of trial and other factors. Court usually starts at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.
To be a juror, you need to pay attention to all of the testimony, follow directions, judge the truthfulness and credibility of the witnesses to determine if they are lying or telling the truth, and no electronics while in the courtroom.
Individuals who are conserved are not qualified to serve as a juror. Sometimes individuals with autism may have sensory, attention, anxiety, behavioral, or communication issues which may impede them serving may consider an excuse due to a physical/mental disability or impairment, or as a result of caring for another. It is important that you have a doctor or psychiatrist complete the “Request to be Excused” section of the Juror Summons and mail, fax or drop off to the location indicated on the Summons so you will not be penalized.