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Jury Duty in California: Expectations and Rules when Summoned

Posted by Sara Cooper | Nov 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you are an eligible U.S. citizen, you are required to respond to a jury duty summons. However, do you get compensated for this civic duty and your time allotted to it?

Bills and other financial responsibilities don't go away while you are on jury duty. Here's what the California justice system requires for pay:

Who's eligible to serve on a jury in California?

In California, law states you are qualified to be a juror if you are:

  • A U.S. citizen.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • Can understand enough English to discuss the case.
  • A resident of the county that sent the summons.
  • Have not served on a jury in the past 12 months.
  • Not already on a grand or trial jury.
  • Not under a conservatorship.
  • Not in jail or prison.
  • Not on parole or probation for a felony.
  • Not registered as a sex offender.
  • Convicted of wrongdoing while in public office and have not had your civil rights restored.

Are California employers required to pay employees during jury duty?

No, California law does not require it, according to the California Courts website. Some employers however, do have jury-leave policies with paid time such as federal agencies.

Though, a California employer cannot fire an employee because they are summoned to jury duty and cannot work.

Does the state pay me regardless?

According to the California Courts website, the state pays jurors $15 every day starting on the second day of service if they are not compensated by their employers.

Once back on the second day, each juror receives 34 cents per mile from where their residential address is located to and from court. Those who are using public transit can receive up to $12 per day from the court.

How long can I expect to serve on a jury in California?

The Superior Court uses the One Day or One Trail Jury Service program under California Rules of Court, Rule 2.1002.

The state's program allows a person to fulfill jury service when they have:

  • Served on one trial until excused.
  • Been assigned to the trial department for jury selection and participated until excused by the jury commissioner.
  • Attended court but was not assigned to the trial department before the end of that day.
  • Served one to five court days on call.

According to the court website, each trial and its length of duration relies on how long deliberations last that the jurors lead.  

Jurors need to expect to stay for the entire day of the court's operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Most trials last 3-7 days, but some may go longer,” the Superior Court of California states on its website. “Judges are aware that long trials can be difficult,” the website states. “Let the judge know if it would be a serious hardship for you to serve on a long trial.”

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