Arizona Judicial Branch

Jury Service - What to Expect

Jury Service - What to Expect

The right of a trial by jury is the privilege of every person in the United States. The right is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and Arizona Constitution.  Specifically, the Arizona Constitution provides, "the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate." FAILURE TO APPEAR AS DIRECTED MAY SUBJECT YOU TO PENALTIES BY LAW.

Postponement of Jury Services Excuses Terms of Service
Attire/Dress Badges Compensation
Conduct in Court Conduct in Jury Room Important Things to Remember
Integrity of Jurors Privacy/Confidentiality of Jurors Qualification and Selection of Jurors
Security Waiting Serves a Purpose Work Verification


Postponement of Jury Services
If you are not available on the date scheduled, you may postpone the date of your initial appearance for jury service two times only.  To request a postponement follow the instructions in the Juror Affidavit Questionnaire or Summons or contact the court in which you are scheduled to appear.
Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason to be excused from jury service. However, you may request to be postponed for this reason.

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Requests to be excused are infrequently granted. In particular, excuses are not granted on the basis of religious beliefs, moral beliefs, status as business proprietor, professional status as doctor or lawyer, etc. Excuses are granted on the basis that you do not understand English or because jury service would cause you to incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of your necessary daily living expenses or on those for whom you provide regular care.  A request to be excused must be made in writing and shall be supported by appropriate documentation.  Requests for excuse should be directed to the Jury Commissioner's Office.

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Term of Service
Your service is required as a prospective juror for a minimum of one day. Please be prepared to remain the full day. If sworn as a juror, your jury service will continue until the trial is completed (the average trial is 2-7 days).

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Since you, as a juror, are an officer of the court, we request that you dress appropriately. Business attire is suggested. The temperature of the jury assembly areas and courtrooms can be unpredictable. Shorts, miniskirts, tank tops, halters, braless dresses or tops, tee-shirts, rubber sandals and other informal attire is not considered appropriate in the courtroom setting. If you should appear wearing these or other items deemed unsuitable for attending court, you may be required to return home at your own expense to change into more suitable attire or your jury service may be reschedule to another date.

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Depending upon the court, you will be asked to wear a badge upon checking in, swearing in or being impaneled.  This badge identifies you as a juror to other people and may possibly protect you from overhearing any conversations pertaining to your case.

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As a juror, you will receive a mileage reimbursement for each day you serve.  Compensation for mileage is the same amount paid to state officers and employees by statute.

If you are selected to sit on a trial, you will also receive a $12 per diem.  Some courts pay the $12 per diem to jurors even if they are not selected to sit on a trial.  Additional compensation is available to those jurors who serve on longer trials (lasting more than 5 days) if their employers do not pay them while they serve.

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Conduct in Court
If your name is called as being a member of a trial panel, you and other members of the panel will be assigned to a courtroom. You will be instructed where to report and asked to wait in the lobby for instructions from the bailiff.

Generally, you will be permitted to return home at the close of the day's session in court. If an emergency arises while you are sitting as a juror, consult the bailiff or judge about your problem. Should you need to get in touch with your family or employer, the bailiff will be happy to assist you.

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Conduct in the Jury Room
Upon retiring to the jury room to deliberate, the jury selects a foreperson. It is the foreperson's duty to act as the presiding officer, to see that the jury's deliberations are conducted in an orderly fashion, and to see that the issues submitted for the jury's consideration are fully and fairly discussed and that every juror has a chance to say what he/she thinks about every question. When ballots or votes should be taken, the foreperson should see that this is done. The foreperson should sign any written request made of the judge. A good foreperson can keep the discussion organized, save time and get efficient results.

Every juror should listen carefully to the views of the other members of the jury and consider them with an open mind.

Your final vote should represent your own opinion. As a result of the discussion with fellow jurors, your opinion may have changed from that which you first held. You should not hesitate to change your mind. When differences of opinion arise, you should say what you think and why you think it. You must not try to force another juror to agree with you nor should you refuse to listen to the arguments and opinions of the others. You must never shirk your responsibility and must never permit any decision to be reached by chance or toss of a coin.

If there is any disagreement or confusion as to the judge's instructions, or as to their meaning, the jury (through its foreperson) can ask the bailiff for further instructions or assistance from the judge.

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Important Things to Remember 
After you are sworn as a juror in a case, there are some rules of conduct which you should observe:

  1. DON'T BE LATE FOR COURT SESSIONS. Because the trial cannot begin until you are present, tardiness can cause delays which lengthen the trial and waste the time of all involved. Also, you may be cited for contempt of court because of your delay or absence.

  2. LISTEN TO EVERY QUESTION AND ANSWER. Since you must base your verdict upon the evidence as presented, you must hear every question asked and every answer given. If, for any reason, you do not hear some of the evidence, raise your hand and inform the judge.

  3. DON'T BE AN "AMATEUR DETECTIVE". Since the only evidence you can consider is that presented in court, you are not allowed to make an independent investigation or visit any of the places involved in the case. If it is necessary for the jury to visit a site, the judge will so order and send the jury as a group to see it.

  4. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS. You should not indicate by exclamation, facial expression, or any other reaction, how any evidence or any incident of the trial has affected you.

  5. DISCUSSION OF THE CASE. During any trial in which you are a juror, there are certain things you must NOT do:

  • First, do not talk to anyone about the case until instructed to do so.

  • Second, do not talk to anyone about any person involved in the case--the parties, the witnesses or the lawyers.

  • Third, do not talk to anyone involved in the case--the parties, the lawyers or the witnesses. 

  • Fourth, do not read any newspaper stories about the trial and do not watch or listen to any television or radio broadcasts about the trial.

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Integrity of Jurors
In performing their sworn duty, jurors must conduct themselves in such a way that no one can question their integrity. Any judicial officer, whether judge, lawyer, or juror, who acts in such a way as to destroy public confidence in the judicial system becomes unfit to perform his/her duty. Jurors should be watchful of their conduct and commit no act which may arouse the distrust of any individual. They should accept no gifts or favors, no matter how insignificant or trivial, either directly or indirectly from parties in the case or their lawyers. A juror should avoid all familiarity with everyone interested in a decision of the jury.

Both parties in a case have spent considerable time preparing for the trial. They will present evidence and arguments to prove their side of the case. Jurors must be careful not to form hasty conclusions or opinions until they have heard all of the evidence and arguments and have received the instructions of the judge.

Justice will be done if jurors will base their verdicts solely upon the evidence and upon the judge's instructions as to the law, rather than upon their own notions of what the law is or ought to be.

If you have any questions regarding juror conduct or the trial, ask the bailiff to consult the judge. The judge is always in charge during the course of a trial. The judge is always ready and available to determine all questions of law pertaining to the case being tried.

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Privacy/Confidentiality of Jurors
Both prospective and impaneled jurors have the right to privacy and confidentiality.

  1. If your Social Security Number is requested, it will only be used for the purpose of paying the juror fee and mileage to which you are entitled. It is disclosed only to the Finance Department in the county in which you served to issue a check or warrant to you.

  2. Your home or mailing address is known only to the court. Only the judge can order the release of jurors' addresses, usually to the lawyers in the case, and only for a good, legal reason. This very rarely happens. At the conclusion of the trial, should you be contacted by the lawyers in a case in which you sat as a juror, remember that you are not obligated to divulge any information concerning the deliberations, the verdict, or your opinions about anything concerning the case unless ordered to do so by the court.

  3. Occasionally television reporters will ask the judge for permission to film courtroom activities. If the judge approves, the reporters are instructed to be unobtrusive and to not film jurors. You will not appear on television.

  4. Reporters may interview the lawyers or parties in a case, and once the trial is over may request to interview the jurors. It is your decision whether or not to consent to an interview. You are not obligated to divulge any information concerning the deliberations, the verdict, or your opinions about anything concerning the case.

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Qualification and Selection of Jurors

The Jury Commissioner's Office provides jurors for all trial divisions of the Superior Court and in some counties justice courts and municipal courts.

Our master jury list is made up of names randomly selected from lists provided by the Arizona Motor Vehicle and Voter Registration Departments. Prior to the projected date of service, prospective jurors names are drawn from this list and they are mailed a questionnaire or summons. When the questionnaires are returned, they are reviewed to establish the eligibility of prospective jurors, pursuant to statute.

The number of jurors summoned is based on historical trends. In some counties, jurors are instructed to "call in" prior to appearing for jury service. The number of jurors needed is based upon requests received from the court divisions that expect to begin jury trials.

A member of the Jury Commissioner's staff takes attendance and assigns the proper number of jurors to each division conducting a jury trial.  Prospective jurors are selected at random for the individual courtrooms.

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Anything considered to be a weapon or that is deemed unacceptable by the court security staff will be confiscated and dealt with appropriately. No edged cutting devices, i.e. straight razors, pocket knives, hunting knives, or butterfly knives are allowed.

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Waiting Serves a Purpose
Due to the nature of jury service and the court process itself, there are often periods of waiting. Sometimes, for example, the parties to a lawsuit will continue to negotiate and settle the matter after a jury panel has been assembled; or the judge may be hearing arguments on last minute points of law.

Occasionally, the lawyers may talk with the judge out of the hearing of the jury, or the judge may excuse the jury from the courtroom so that a point of law or an objection may be argued.

Often, the reason for the delays may not be explained to you. Please remember that this time is spent discussing and simplifying issues. Sometimes a case even reaches settlement during such conferences. While this may seem to be a waste of time, obviously a case that doesn't have to be tried saves time and tax dollars.

As jurors, you are, by your presence and readiness to sit in trial of a case, actively serving our system of justice. Sometimes cases are settled "on the courthouse steps" or during the course of the trial because the parties and their lawyers may feel jurors might decide their dispute in a manner less favorable to them.

We suggest bringing something to read, needlework, etc.

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Work Verification
Many employers require proof that you were summoned to serve as a juror.  Ask the jury commissioner or bailiff for information on how to obtain written proof that you served as a juror.

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