Jury Service and COVID-19


#SafeToServe


 

 

IF YOU RECEIVE A SUMMONS, DO NOT IGNORE IT!! 

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO RESPOND EVEN IF YOU ARE HESITANT TO COME TO COURT.  

Arizona courts take public health and safety seriously and have implemented aggressive policies to prevent the risk of infection for jurors and other court users. According to Supreme Court's Administrative Order (A.O.) 2020-79, starting June 1, 2020: 

  • Court staff and judicial officers must wear masks, face coverings, or face shields when having any in-person contact with other personnel or the public. 
  • Court participants and visitors will be required to wear a mask or other face-covering in the courthouse. The required face-covering may be provided for persons who do not have their own but keep in mind that quantities are limited and masks might not be available at the court.  
  • Courts must exclude persons from the courthouse who refuse to cooperate with or who do not pass established screening protocols or refuse to wear a mask or other face covering. 
  • These new requirements will be posted at court entrances and on courts' public websites.

Court leadership must employ appropriate social distancing and other measures necessary for the protection of jurors, which has prompted courts to consider a variety of technology solutions to move an entire trial, or part of a trial, to a video-conference format to allow jury trials and grand jury proceedings to continue. 

Courts are also reevaluating juror reporting practices. For example, courts may:

  • stagger reporting times for prospective jurors; 
  • direct prospective jurors to individual courtrooms rather than jury assembly rooms; 
  • conduct voir dire in multiple groups; 
  • identify non-traditional jury assembly areas or non-courthouse facilities like high school gymnasiums and theaters. 

Precautionary safety measures are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Examples include:

  • Wiping down essential workspaces frequently during the day and overnight using anti-viral cleaning products identified by the CDC.
  • Avoiding direct exchange of documents with jurors, and wearing gloves if it is unavoidable.
  • Providing single use golf pencils that are then discarded.
  • Providing proper training on correct way to use gloves and face masks to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Restricting access to common areas and courtesy amenities.
  • Posting handwashing signs.
  • Placing hand sanitizer and wipes at counters and various locations.
  • Limiting number of people in elevator to 2 or 4 at a time (depending on elevator size), and frequently disinfecting the surfaces. 
  • Elevator floor should be marked for appropriate social distancing.
  1  POSTPONEMENT

You may postpone the date of your jury service two times. On request, postponement will be granted if all of the following apply:

  1. The prospective juror has not been granted two prior postponements.
  2. The prospective juror appears in person or contacts the jury commissioner by telephone or electronic mail or in writing to request a postponement.
  3. A postponement must be within a time period determined by the jury commissioner.

A jury commissioner may approve a subsequent request for postponement of jury service due to COVID-related reasons. The prospective juror’s service would be deferred for a minimum of two months and then would need to be revisited.

2  EXCUSES

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. 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:

  1. the person has a mental or physical condition that causes them to be incapable of performing jury service (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  2. jury service would substantially and materially affect the public interest, adversely
  3. the person does not understand English
  4. jury service would require the person to abandon someone under their care, because it is impossible for them to obtain substitute care (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  5. 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 (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  6. jury service would result in illness or disease 
  7. the person is a certified peace officer employed by the state (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  8. the person is a correctional officer employed by the state (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required)
  9. jury service would cause undue or extreme hardship 
  10. the person has served as a juror in this state within the last two years 
  11. the person is at least 75 years of age (Documentation in support of the excuse is generally required) 
  12. 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) 
3  RESOURCES