Frequently Asked Questions
If you are called for jury duty, you will have many questions – from where you should report to what will happen during a trial if you are chosen to serve. Most of these steps are set by state law and a few court rules. What you read here should cover most of your questions when called to serve in the Superior Court of California, although each county may be slightly different.
Important Safety Instructions (COVID-19)
The Court implemented significant changes to the jury protocol to ensure the safety of all potential jurors required to appear. The new protocols include:
- The Court will follow CDC guidelines to social distance.
- All jurors and persons entering the courthouse are required to wear a face mask that covers both nose and mouth at all times while inside the courthouse.
- Enhanced sanitation protocols are being followed.
- Jury Service Staff are available by phone: (760) 873-5157 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org to answer questions prior to your summons date.
You may be called to serve if you are 18 years old or older, a United States citizen, and a resident of the County of Inyo. In addition you must not have served as any kind of juror during the past 12 months, nor have been convicted of a felony. For a list of all of the qualifications that you must meet in order to be eligible to serve on a jury please see the Code of Civil Procedures section 203.
Beginning January 1, 2020, individuals with criminal records that meet certain criteria are eligible to serve as a juror.
In accordance with Senate Bill 310, which changes the eligibility and disqualification criteria listed in Section 203 of the Code of Civil Procedure, having a felony conviction on your criminal record does not disqualify you from jury service. This change is effective January 1, 2020.
However, if you have been convicted of a felony and are currently on parole, post release community supervision, felony probation, or mandated supervision for the conviction of a felony, you remain disqualified from jury service. Additionally, individuals who are currently required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Section 290 of the Penal Code based on the felony conviction. Lastly, if any individual is incarcerated in any prison or jail, they are also disqualified from jury service.
Juror names are selected at random from a combined list of Inyo County registered voters and persons who have a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
A new list is compiled and uploaded annually. Your name will remain on the court's jury list for at least one year, and you may be called for jury duty at any time during that year. If you are not called one year, your name may be placed on next year's list.
READ the summons and juror information form. All of the information that you need can be found on the form. Complete the juror information section, date and sign it and mail it back to the court at the address listed on the summons. Bring the top portion of the summons form with you when reporting. If for any reason you do not have any portion of your jury summons with you when you report for jury duty, please be prepared to show the Jury Clerk your photo ID when you check in.
Your reporting date and time instructions are located on the top of the summons. Jury trials are held at the Independence Courthouse located at 168 N. Edwards Street in Independence, California.
Check the status of the jury trial by using the Reporting for Service instructions on this website or by phone, per the instructions on your summons.
For your information, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 209 provides that “Any prospective trial juror who has been summoned for service, and who fails to attend as directed or to respond to the court or jury commissioner and to be excused from attendance, may be attached and compelled to attend. Following an order to show cause hearing, the court may find the prospective juror in contempt of court, punishable by fine, incarceration, or both, as otherwise provided by law.”
If this is the first time that you have failed to respond to a jury summons, you will receive a notice in the mail followed by a second summons. Please be sure to respond as soon as possible to prevent any further consequences for failure to appear.
You may request to reschedule your jury service to a more convenient time. Jurors are allowed one postponement of up to 90 days per year.
To request a postponement, you may return the bottom of the summons to the Jury Services office via mail, email, in person, or fax, you can also click here to reschedule your appearance date online.
Mail: PO Box 1508, Bishop, CA 93515
Fax: (760) 873-4589
The summons must be received by the court prior to the scheduled appearance date and must include a reason for the postponement, a date after which you would be available to serve and your signature.
If for any reason your request is DENIED, you will receive a response from the Court in writing explaining why and what else you need to do.
No daily or mileage fees are paid for the first day of service. After the first day fees will be paid at the rate of $15.00 per day and 34 cents per mile one way from your residence to the courthouse. Check with the Jury Clerk to be sure that the Court has your correct mileage before you leave.
Please allow 4-6 weeks from the completion of the trial for your check to come in the mail. If it has been more than 6 week, please contact the Jury Clerk at (760) 873-5157.
The Code of Civil Procedure sections 215 exempts the court from paying the $15.00 juror fee to **government employees who receive regular salary and benefits while on jury duty. Government employees are still entitled to receive mileage reimbursement. If you think that you might fall under this category please see the Jury Clerk, they will provide you with a Notice for you to read and sign.
**Government employees include employees of federal, state, local government, or any other public entity.
In most cases, lunch is provided to the selected jury panel during deliberations only.
Employers cannot discriminate against employees serving on jury duty. Employers must allow employees time off to serve on a jury. The California Labor Code, section 230, prohibits any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned to court for jury service as long as reasonable notice is given. The California Education Code, sections 44037 and 87036 protect teachers and students as well.
If you are concerned that jury duty has negatively impacted your employment, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) can provide assistance. A Senior Labor Commissioner will respond to questions at DLSE2@dir.ca.gov.
Dress as you would to go to a business meeting or social function. The Court Etiquette and Security section of the website will have more information. Check with the Jury Services Office if you have any doubts.
Be alert and courteous. You may bring a book or newspaper to read while you’re waiting for court to begin, or during recesses, but don’t read while court is in session. Be sure to turn off all cell phones and audible pagers in the courtroom. Eating and chewing gum is not permitted. You can visit Court Etiquette and Security section of the website for more details.
You should plan to attend court as a juror all day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. depending on the court’s schedule. Trials are of varying length. Many trials are completed in 2-3 days, but some may go longer. Sometimes up to 3 or 4 weeks (5 days a week). The trial Judge will advise you of probable trial duration on your first day of service.
Once you have checked in and are seated in the courtroom there will be a brief announcement by the Jury Clerk. The judge will take the bench and explain what the case is about and introduce the lawyers and parties to you. Then group of potential jurors selected on a random list of jurors will be called. These people will take seats in a jury box. The rest of you will remain seated in the courtroom. All prospective jurors will be required to agree to truthfully answer all questions asked.
Next, the judge and/or the attorneys will question each one of you seated in the jury box to find out if you would be an appropriate juror in the particular case. This process is called Voir dire questioning.
Voir dire questioning may take more than one day. Please be sure to carefully follow the directions of the judge and courtroom staff regarding date and time to return. If you are going to be late, immediately contact the jury clerk at (760) 873-5157 and explain your situation. Remember, the trial cannot proceed until everyone is present. If you do not have a good excuse, the judge may fine you for being late.
If you have a hardship due to the length of the trial, be sure to bring it up during the Voir dire questioning process. If you have a hardship that you feel cannot wait until you are called for Voir dire questioning please visit the Clerk’s Office after you have checked in. The Jury Clerk will provide you with paper to write a note explaining your hardship. After you have provided the Jury Clerk with your note, please go back into the courtroom and do not leave unless and until you have been excused.
The judge may have to set the next day’s calendar and dispose of other cases. Attorneys may need time to prepare their witnesses and other aspects of the case. Occasionally, issues arise in trial preparation or events occur during a trial which could not be anticipated. When this happens, the judge and the parties may need to address the matter outside of your presence.
Contact the Jury Services Office as soon as you know that you are going to be late. If you are already assigned to a courtroom, contact the Jury Services Office or the clerk of the court and explain your situation. Remember the trial cannot proceed until everyone is present. If you don’t have a good excuse, the judge may fine you for being late.
Do not talk to anyone about the case until you are discharged from the jury, not even the lawyers or the judge, except through the bailiff. Discussions with others can cause a mistrial because the juror gained evidence outside the record. If any person persists in talking to you about the trial or attempts to influence you as a juror, tell the bailiff. During deliberations at the end of the trial, you will discuss the case with other jurors in order to reach a verdict.
No. Under no circumstances should you investigate the case on your own, either alone or with other jurors. You may not talk to witnesses, or do independent experiments. Your verdict must be based only on evidence produced in court. If you violate this rule, you could cause a mistrial.
If this happens, do not feel slighted or guess what is being said. Such conferences are held to discuss legal issues or to agree upon points of evidence. These conferences often help speed up the trial or avoid the possibility of a mistrial.
The Presiding Judge or the Jury Commissioner, at mailing address P.O. Box 1508, Bishop, CA 93515.