How was I
Your name was
chosen at random from driver's license and voter registration lists.
might I have to serve?
You cannot be
required to attend court for more than one day, except as necessary to complete
service in a trial. You cannot be required to serve on, or report for,
more than one jury trial in a two-year period. After that, whether or not
you are called again depends on if your name is randomly selected.
What if my boss
doesn't't want me to serve?
The law makes it
clear that you must be excused from your job for jury service. You cannot
be fired, demoted, or disciplined in any way for performing this public
duty. Your employer faces civil and criminal penalties for
violations. (Utah Code Section 78-46-21)
Will I be paid
for jury service?
You will be paid $18.50
for the first day of service and $49.00 for each subsequent day of
service. Some employers are willing to pay their workers at the normal
rate during jury service, and the workers than turn over the jury fee to the
employer. If you have to drive more than 50 miles to the courthouse, the
court will pay you $1 for each four-mile increment over 50 miles, one-way.
Can I be excused
from jury service?
Judges can excuse
you for public necessity, extreme inconvenience, or if you are incapable of
jury service. Clerks can sometimes, but not always, accommodate your
schedule. Everyone is inconvenienced to some degree by jury service, but
for the system to work, people from all walks of life must be willing to
serve. Those who refuse to complete the juror questionnaire or refuse to
appear when called to serve are subject to fines and jail time for contempt of
Once I qualify
for jury service, how long am I eligible?
The terms for jury
service vary depending on your county.
Salt Lake County – one month
Davis, Utah and Weber Counties- three months
Other counties – six months
You are subject to
being summoned for jury service at any time during the term, until you actually
attend court. After that, you cannot be summoned again for at least two
after I am qualified for jury service?
the term, you are likely to be notified by the court that you are “on call” for
jury service. The court will let you know how to keep in touch.
Some courts have a call-in system, where potential jurors check in each evening
to see if they will be needed at the courthouse the next day.
You need to let
your employer or teachers know when you are “on call” for jury service.
Do not take time off from work or school until you have actually been
instructed to come to the courthouse. The court cannot issue a letter
stating that you have served on a jury if you were never called.
How do I prepare
for jury service?
Be sure to arrive
at the courthouse on time. late comerer can hold up a trial involving
scores of people. Instructions from the court will tell you where to park
and where to report in the building. Please wear appropriate attire-most
courts prohibit shorts or tank tops.
Who do I call if
I have more questions?
The court will list
a number on the jury service notice that you can call for additional
information. The court's web site also has a list of telephone numbers: www.utcourts.gov.
Follow the links for jurors.
whether I will serve on a jury?
Once you arrive at
the courthouse, you will be directed to a jury assembly room. Sometimes a
case will settle out of court right before trial. For these or other
reasons you might not be needed for the jury after all. When this
happens, you will be dismissed for the day.
If you're assigned
to a trial that is going forward, you will be escorted to the courtroom, and
the selection process will begin. First, the judge will make a short
statement describing the case, and identifying the parties to the case and
their lawyers. During this process, the judge, and sometimes the lawyer
for each side, will ask you questions, which you are required to answer
truthfully. The questions are aimed at finding out if any jurors have a
personal interest in the case or if there is some other reason why they could
not render an impartial verdict.
jurors are sometimes asked personal questions during the juror selection
In some cases, you
may be asked questions about your background that may make you
uncomfortable. The court does not wish to invade your privacy, but
sometimes it is necessary for the court to know these facts to ensure a fair trial.
If you are uncomfortable about answering questions, you can ask to discuss it
privately with the judge.
A “challenge” is
the process by which a lawyer asks that a juror be excused. There are two
types of challenges:
Challenges for cause – Here the lawyer claims that the juror might not be able
to render an impartial verdict. For example, a lawyer asks to excuse a
juror from an auto theft trial because the juror's car was stolen the week
before. The judge may grant or deny a challenge for cause. There is
no limit to the number of challenges for cause that a party can make, but there
must be a reason for the challenge.
Preemptory challenges – Each
side has a limited number of challenges for which no reason need be
given. These preemptory challenges give both sides some choice in the
makeup of the jury.
Does failure to
be chosen for a jury mean I did something wrong in the selection process?
Not at all.
The fact that a person is not chosen for a jury is no reflection on that
person's integrity or worthiness to serve.
How long will
the trial be?
The judge will give
you an estimate of how long the trial will be. Most trials last one to two
Will I have to
(kept away from all outside contacts) is extremely rare, even in high-profile
What is my job
as a juror?
As a juror, you are
the fact finder. You must listen carefully to the evidence presented by
each side, and use your life experience and common sense to make a
judgment. It is very important to keep an open mind while all the
evidence is being presented. Making your mind up before all the evidence
is in, could result in a failure to reach a fair and impartial verdict.
How is a trial
The trial usually begins
with opening statements from each side.
These are summaries
reviewing what each side intends to prove during its presentation of the case.
(These statements are not evidence).
Each side then presents
its case with witnesses and other evidence.
Witnesses called by one
side are subject to cross-examination by the other side.
The judge delivers
instructions to the jury regarding the relevant law.
Each side makes closing
The jury retires to
The jury reaches and
announces its verdict.
happening when a lawyer objects to a question asked by the other side?
The judge may be
asked to decide questions of law. Usually these questions concern
objections to testimony that one side wants to present. By law, it is the
judge's job to decide such questions. A ruling by the judge does not
indicate that he or she is taking sides. The judge is determining that
the law does or does not permit that question to be asked.
Why will the
jurors sometimes by asked to leave while the judge talks to the lawyers?
Sometimes the judge
will have jurors leave the courtroom while lawyers make arguments about a point
of law. Jurors are not to speculate about what was discussed, but instead
to base their reasoning only on the evidence presented to them.
At what point
can I discuss the trial with others?
It is important
that you not discuss the trial with anyone (even fellow jurors) until the jury
retires to deliberate. In a multi-day trial, you must not discuss the
case with family, friends, or anyone else. If someone approaches you in
the courthouse or elsewhere and tries to discuss the trial with you, leave
immediately and report the incident to the judge. The bailiff can deliver
any written messages you wish to convey to the judge.
Jurors must make
their decision on the basis of the evidence presented at the trial, and not on
the basis of any outside information about the case. For this reason,
jurors are prohibited from reading, watching, or listening to any media
accounts of the trial, from visiting the scene of the events, and from trying
to discover any information about the case on their own.
when jury service is completed?
After you return to
the courtroom and announce your verdict, the judge will dismiss you. At
that point, you may then freely discuss the case, but you are not required to
discuss the case with anyone. One or more of the lawyers in the case may
want to discuss the verdict or the deliberations with you. You may talk
to them if you wish, but are under no obligation to do so.
Will I be able
to evaluate the performance of the judge?
At the end of some
trials, jurors will be asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the
performance of the judge. These questionnaires are part of the judicial
performance evaluation program, aimed at improving the administration of
justice in Utah.
For further information about Jury services you may review the Rule 4-404 (www.utcourts.gov) of the Criminal Rules of Procedure.