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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Why must I serve on Jury Duty?
  2. How are people chosen to be called for jury service?
  3. How long does a juror serve?
  4. Is it true that sometimes jurors are not allowed to go home until after the trial is over? Is this common?
  5. Are jurors compensated?
  6. What about transportation costs?
  7. What can I do if my employer, who employs more than ten people, refuses to pay for the first three days of my jury service?
  8. What about the juror's job?
  9. Is it possible to report for jury service but not sit on a jury?
  10. What is the possibility that a juror will be called again for service in the near future?
  11. Are the same people summoned every few years?
  12. Is it necessary to complete another juror qualification questionnaire before each service as a juror?
  13. What can jurors do to make their service more enjoyable?
  14. How are jurors with Disabilities Accommodated?
  15. Who else will be in the courtroom?
  1. Why must I serve on Jury Duty?   Top
    The Constitution of the United States and the State of New York guarantee defendants in criminal cases and litigants in civil cases the right to a trial by jury. The New York State Judiciary Law states that all litigants have the right to juries selected from a fair cross section of the community and that all eligible citizens shall have both the opportunity and obligation to serve.

  2. How are people chosen to be called for jury service?   Top
    The New York State court system obtains each year the names of state residents who are included on certain lists; registered voters, state taxpayers, licensed drivers, recipients of public assistance benefits and recipients of state unemployment compensation.

    It is also possible to volunteer for jury duty. You may do so by contacting your local Commissioner of Jurors at (914) 995-3200 or calling 1-800-NYJUROR.

    Throughout the year, prospective jurors are selected randomly from the source lists and sent a juror qualification questionnaire. This questionnaire must be completed by the prospective juror and returned to the Commissioner of Jurors. Those individuals who "qualify" for service-a US citizen and county resident; at least 18 years of age; with no felony convictions; and able to understand and communicate in English-may eventually be summoned to report for service. In some counties, the qualification questionnaire and summons are sent together in one mailing.

  3. How long does a juror serve?   Top
    The Unified Court System recently implemented a policy to reduce the length of service to the shortest possible term wherever practicable.

    In most counties, jurors who are not involved in a voir dire or trial are excused after one entire day. In some jurisdictions, jurors who are not involved in a voir dire or trial are excused after a few days.

    Those who are selected on a jury are required to serve on only one trial. On average, the length of a civil trial ranges from three to five days. Criminal trials average from five to ten days.

    Some trials may last longer than ten days. The judge or attorneys will inform the prospective jurors of the expected length of the trial.

  4. Is it true that sometimes jurors are not allowed to go home until after the trial is over? Is this common?   Top
    As a general rule, jurors go home at the end of the day and return the next morning. There are occasions on which the court will be required to "sequester" a jury on a criminal case during deliberations. In extremely rare instances, a jury may be sequestered during the trial itself. "Sequestered" means that jurors do not go home at the end of the day, but stay in a hotel, where their access to other people and to radio and television news or newspapers is limited. The judge or clerk will inform you in advance if there is a possibility that the jury may be sequestered.

    The expense of all meals and lodging for sequestered jurors is the responsibility of the Commissioner of Jurors of each county or the respective County Clerks of the City of New York.

  5. Are jurors compensated?   Top
    Pursuant to law, the state will pay jurors a fee of $40 for each day of physical attendance with the following Exceptions:

    Exception #1: Jurors who are employed CANNOT be paid a jury fee for any day(s) on which they receive regular wages unless their regular wage is less than $40. In that case, the state will pay the difference between the jurors' wage and the $40 fee.

    Exception #2: Jurors who work for an employer with more than 10 employees MUST be paid, by their employer, at least $40 or their regular daily wages-whichever is less-for each of the first three days* of service. If a juror's daily wage is less than $40, the state will pay the difference between the juror's wage and the $40 fee for the first three days of service.

    *Note: The obligation of the employer to pay only applies if the juror is serving on jury duty on a regular scheduled work day. If not, the state pays the daily fee of $40.

    In rare instances, when service extends for more than 30 days, the court may authorize an additional allowance of $6 per day to be paid to a juror.

    A juror may waive his or her right to the per diem allowance, in which case the allowance will go into a special account that is used to improve juror facilities.

  6. What about transportation costs?   Top
    There is no additional reimbursement to jurors for transportation costs.

  7. What can I do if my employer, who employs more than ten people, refuses to pay for the first three days of my jury service?   Top
    You must first inform your employer that Section 519 of the Judiciary Law requires an employer to compensate their employees for the first three days of jury service.

    If you are unsuccessful, please call 1-800-NYJUROR.

  8. What about the juror's job?   Top
    New York State law prohibits an employer from subjecting an employee to penalties or termination of employment due to jury service- so long as the employee notifies the employer upon receipt of the jury summons. An employer may lawfully withhold wages during jury service (except for those circumstances in which the employer is required to pay the $40 allowance...see "Are Jurors Compensated?"). The question of salary and wages in addition to the required allowance is a matter to be addressed between the juror and the employer.

    In order to verify to an employer that jury service was performed, jurors may request that court staff provide them with an attendance slip -"certificate of service" form.

    Jurors who believe that they have been penalized by their employer due to jury service should contact the regional office of the New York State Attorney General.

  9. Is it possible to report for jury service but not sit on a jury?   Top
    Yes. In many cases, parties seek to settle their differences to avoid the expense and time demanded by a trial. Thus, while several trials may be scheduled for one particular day, the court cannot be certain until that morning, and sometimes afternoon, which cases will actually require a trial and a jury.

    Even if not selected to serve on a jury, the juror's role is vital. Many times, it is the very presence of a jury-which signifies the trial process and an uncertain outcome-that encourages parties to resolve issues, reach a settlement, or enter a plea.

  10. What is the possibility that a juror will be called again for service in the near future?   Top
    The method of selecting names for jury service was revised in June 1995. A juror now serving in Supreme, County or Surrogate Court is ineligible to be called again for a period of four (4) years** from the completion of service. (Two years in town and village courts)

    **In Westchester, as of January 1999, once a juror serves in Supreme, County or Surrogate Court, he or she is ineligible to be called again for a period of six (6) years from the completion of service.

    Recent reforms such as the elimination of automatic exemptions and the use of additional source lists means that jurors are now serving less often than in the past.

    A new law was passed in 1997 permitting jurors to request to reduce this ineligibility period-making it possible to serve more frequently. Please contact your Commissioner of Jurors for details.

  11. Are the same people summoned every few years?   Top
    No. Unlike in the past, the same jurors are not automatically summoned every few years. The Commissioners of Jurors try to use the source lists to call as many people as possible for jury service once before calling anyone a second time.
  12. Is it necessary to complete another juror qualification questionnaire before each service as a juror?   Top
    Yes. The Commissioner of Jurors needs the most current information available to determine qualifications of each potential juror.

  13. What can jurors do to make their service more enjoyable?  Top
    Jurors very often have to wait while important pretrial activities take place before they are assigned to a particular jury. Reporting jurors are therefore encouraged to bring along books or newspapers to read during breaks. However, once the jury selection or trial begins, reading materials are not permitted unless authorized by the trial judge.

  14. How are jurors with Disabilities Accommodated?  Top
    If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation to allow you to serve, the court will try to provide the services or auxiliary aids that you need. The kinds of auxiliary aids that are generally available include assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters and "real-time" captioning of court proceedings. In some situations, the court may be able to provide a reader for visually impaired jurors or have forms, such as a jury questionnaire, reproduced in large print or put on audiotape. If you have a mobility impairment and are sent to a courtroom which has access problems, you may be reassigned to a different location that has better access.

    If you are a TDD users and need to communicate with the court while you are on jury duty, you can call the relay service at 1-800-662-1220 and they will be able to place the call. Some courts also may have a TDD or TTY in the clerks' office.

    Any access questions or requests for assistance can be conveyed to the jury clerk, court clerk or judge in the courtroom where you are assigned.


9th Judicial District