December 4, 2020
Jury FAQs

JURY SELECTION PROCESS

California law requires a fair cross-section of each county's qualified residents to be available each day for jury duty. The selection of persons for jury service is accomplished by randomly drawing names from the list of registered voters and the Department of Motor Vehicles driver's license and identification card list for the County of San Mateo. Random summoning enhances juror impartiality.

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HOW WAS I SELECTED?

You have been randomly selected by computer to serve as a trial juror. The list of persons provided by the DMV and Voter's Registration shall be considered inclusive of a representative cross section of the population. The jury commissioner shall not disclose the information furnished by the Department of Motor Vehicles or list of registered voters, to any person, organization, or agency.

Because we pull information from two agencies, if you are known by one name with the DMV and a different name with Voter's Registration, the system will count you as two different people. For instance, at the DMV if your license reads "John Andrew Smith" and with Voter's Registration you register as "John A. Smith", the system will think you are two different people.

Additionally, the same will occur if you have two different addresses at DMV and Voters Registration: for instance if you have a PO Box with the DMV and a street address with Voters Registration.

To correct this duplication contact DMV or Registrar of Voters as appropriate:
Registrar of Voters - 650-312-5222 or www.registertovote.ca.gov
DMV - You will need to make an appointment to change your name at the DMV offices.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO SERVE?

All persons are eligible and qualified to be prospective trials jurors, except the following:

  • Persons who are not citizens of the United States.
  • Persons less than 18 years of age.
  • Persons not living in the State of California.
  • Persons who are not residents of San Mateo County.
  • Persons convicted of malfeasance in office or a felony, and whose civil rights have not been restored.
  • Persons who do not possess sufficient knowledge of the English language are not automatically exempted from jury duty. The judiciary will make the decision to either grant or deny this exemption. No person shall be deemed incompetent solely because of the loss of sight, hearing or other disability.
  • Persons serving as grand or trial jurors in any court of this state.
  • Persons who are the subject of conservatorship.
  • Persons who are peace officers as defined in Penal Code §830.1 or §830.2(a).

No person shall be excluded from eligibility for jury service in the State of California, for any reason other than those reasons provided by this section. Eligibility Period: If qualified, your period of eligibility will be for the appearance date listed on your summons (possibly including a second day) or the duration of one trial, if selected.

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LENGTH OF SERVICE

San Mateo Superior Court operates on a One Day/One Trial system.

In order to minimize the number of jurors who must appear in person, the Court uses the standby process. You are required to check the reporting instructions for at least one day or until instructed that your service is completed.

If you are instructed to report to the courthouse, you may or may not be selected to serve as a juror on a trial. The court is required to have a sufficient amount of jurors available for all anticipated trials. The jury staff tries to carefully estimate the number of jurors needed, but there are many variables outside their control.

If you are selected to serve on a trial as a sworn juror, the term of service will be the length of the trial. Trials vary in length. You will be informed by the judge assigned to the trial.

If you are not selected to serve by the end of your first day and the judge has not ordered you to return for another day of selection, your jury service is considered completed.

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JUROR PAY

In accordance with California Civil Procedures, Section 215, jurors appearing for more than one day will receive $15.00 per day and mileage compensation at a rate of 34 cents per mile. Mileage is based on one way only from your city of residence to the specific court location. Payment begins on the second day.

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PROOF OF SERVICE

Certification of your appearance for jury duty is required by some employers and will be furnished to you by a jury clerk if requested.

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EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Employers cannot discriminate against employees serving jury duty. Employers must allow employees time to serve as a juror.

The California Labor Code prevents any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned for jury service. However, you must let your employer know well in advance, as soon as you receive your summons. You should contact the court if you have a problem with your employer. Remember that you can postpone jury service to a more convenient time.

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ADA ACCOMMODATION

Persons requiring special arrangements or accommodations, please call: 650-261-5022 or email ada@sanmateocourt.org.

TTY devices are available court wide. For TTY service, call 650-261-5002. The staff member will determine which division is best suited to handle the purpose of your call and will transfer you to the appropriate court division. Assistive Listening Devices for the hearing impaired are available in each courtroom and in the jury assembly room. Please inform the clerk in your location if you would like to use an assistive listening device.

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SECURITY

When you enter the facility, you will go through a metal detector. Your handbag, briefcase, backpack, and any container may be x-rayed. Objects like knitting needles, scissors, nail clippers, pocket knives, and weapons are not allowed. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.

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COURTROOM REQUIREMENTS

We suggest you wear comfortable attire that fits with the importance and dignity of the courtroom. Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs, or similar attire are not allowed. Business attire is always appropriate. Be prepared for changing weather. Dressing in layers is highly recommended. You may not use computers, cellular phones, cameras, or tape recorders in the courtroom. They may not be allowed in the courtroom even if they are shut off.

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FELONY CONVICTION

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 a felony conviction. Lastly, if any individual is incarcerated in any prison or jail, they are also disqualified from jury service.

Additionally, these changes to not affect the eligibility and disqualification criteria for service on a criminal or civil grand jury, as specified in Section 893 of the Penal Code.

We encourage individuals who have questions regarding these changes to contact the jury office. For those individuals who will now be eligible for jury service and wish to serve, please remember that selection is random. The best way to ensure your name is added to the randomized selection process is to update your information with your county's local Registrar of Voters and with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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© 2020 Superior Court of San Mateo County