Arizona Judicial Branch

Jury Service - What to Expect

A trial by jury is the right 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." That right to a jury trial requires that persons summonsed for jury service appear and participate. Therefore, as noted on a jury summons, failure to appear as directed may subject you to penalties by law.

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.

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 to the court that issued the summons and must be supported by appropriate documentation. Requests for excuse should be directed to the Jury Commissioner's Office.

Possible grounds for excuse include:
  • the person has a mental or physical condition that causes them to be incapable of performing jury service
  • jury service would substantially and materially affect the public interest, adversely
  • the person does not understand English
  • jury service would require the person to abandon someone under their care, because it is impossible for them to obtain substitute care
  • jury service would cause the person to incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of their necessary daily living expenses or on those for whom they provide regular employment support
  • jury service would result in illness or disease
  • the person is a certified peace officer employed by the state
  • jury service would cause undue or extreme hardship
  • the person has served as a juror in this state within the last two years
  • the person is at least 75 years of age (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  • the person has served on a grand jury in an Arizona state court within the last four years. (Does not apply to alternate grand jurors)
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).

Arizona follows a one-day/one-trial term of jury service. Once selected, a person's term of jury service is fulfilled after they have served on one trial. Those individuals who are not selected or assigned to a jury on the first day are also deemed to have fulfilled their jury service obligation by having appeared at the court. Other ways a person's jury service term may be fulfilled include: being available for four days within a thirty-day period (that is, the prospective juror calls in to see whether they must report for jury service) or the prospective juror provides the court with a valid telephone number and stands ready to serve on the same day for a period of two days.
  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.
  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 the case you are selected for.
  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 and set 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.
  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.
  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 they think 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 based on the evidence admitted in the case. 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.
  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 their 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 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.
  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 payment 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.
  The Jury Commissioner's Office provides jurors for all trial divisions of the Superior Court, and in some counties for the justice courts and municipal courts.

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