WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO SERVE AS A JUROR?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older, who is a United States citizen and a resident of Dauphin County shall be qualified to serve as a juror, unless such citizen; (1) is unable to speak and understand the English language (2) is incapable, by reason of mental or physical infirmity to render efficient jury service or (3) has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and has not been granted a pardon or amnesty.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I IGNORE A SUMMONS?
A jury summons is a COURT ORDER. If you ignore the summons, you are subject to arrest and prosecution.
WILL I RECEIVE ANY INFORMATION OR REMINDER ABOUT MY REPORT DATE AFTER I RETURN MY SUMMONS?
???No, once you return your summons, you will be expected to report on the date noted on the summons and we will not send any reminder out to you.
HOW DOES A JUROR ATTEMPT TO RESCHEDULE THEIR SERVICE OR OBTAIN AN EXCUSAL IF THEY ARE UNABLE TO SERVE?
The juror should contact the Jury Manager, Melissa Ward, as soon as they realize that they have a problem. The jury manager can be reached at 717-780-6622.
WILL I BE PAID FOR SERVING AS A JUROR?
Juror pay is set by the Pennsylvania Legislature. Currently, a juror is paid $9.00 a day for the first three days and $25.00 a day thereafter.
WILL I BE PAID MILEAGE TRAVEL TO AN FROM COURTHOUSE?
Jurors are currently reimbursed for one round trip per day, to and from the courthouse, at a rate of $0.17 per mile.
AM I REQUIRED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE ONCE I RETURN MY SUMMONS PRIOR TO MY ARRIVAL FOR JURY SERVICE?
Jurors are encouraged to call 717-780-6628, the juror information telephone number for pre-recorded information after 3:00 PM on the Friday before their arrival for any preliminary instructions. In addition, jurors should call this number during their service for any modifications to report times related to weather or any other reason.
WHERE IS THE COURTHOUSE AND WHAT DO I DO WHEN I ARRIVE?
The Dauphin County Courthouse is located at 101 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA (for GPS devices). Juror may park for free at the Market Street Square Garage at 34 S. 2nd Street, Harrisburg, PA. Handicapped jurors (with appropriate plates/placards) may park in the employee garage located in Blackberry Alley behind the Courthouse. Jurors with an oversized vehicle may park in the open lot at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut Streets.
HOW ARE JURORS SELECTED?
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE JURY?
- The Jury must find the facts.
- The Jury must listen carefully to the evidence presented during the trial
- The Jury should not discuss the case with anyone during the trial.
- The Jury should only discuss the case with fellow jurors during jury deliberations. It is during the deliberation process that the jurors come to a consensus as to the facts and determine which witnesses are credible.
- The Jury must apply the law, as explained by the judge, to the facts.
- The Jury determines the money damages in some civil cases or decides whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty in criminal cases.
- The Jury arrives at a verdict.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE JUDGE?
- The Judge must ensure that all parties have a fair opportunity to present their case.
- The Judge rules on the evidentiary issues and ensures that the trial proceeds in a proper manner.
The Judge instructs the jury on the applicable law.The Courts of Common Pleas are the primary trial courts with original jurisdiction to hear criminal and civil cases.
WHAT KINDS OF CASES WILL I HEAR AS A JUROR?
Jurors will hear criminal and civil cases.
WHAT IS THE TRIAL PROCESS?
- JURY SELECTION
- SWEARING IN OF THE JURY
- OPENING INSTRUCTIONS BY JUDGE
- OPENING STATEMENTS BY ATTORNEYS
- PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE
- CLOSING ARGUMENTS BY ATTORNEYS
- JUDGE'S INSTRUCTIONS TO JURY (JURY CHARGE)
- DELIBERATIONS BY JURORS
WHAT HAPPENS DURING JURY DELIBERATIONS?
After the trial judge explains the law, the jury is excused from the courtroom. One of the first things the jury does when it retires to a jury deliberation room is to choose a foreperson. The foreperson makes sure that each juror has a chance to speak and that each juror's opinion is treated with respect. The foreperson makes sure that the jury does not rush to a verdict and that careful thought has been given to the evidence and the application of the law to the facts.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE JURY REACHES A VERDICT?
When the jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson notifies the tipstaff stationed outside the jury deliberation room and the tipstaff notifies the judge. The judge calls everyone back into the courtroom and the foreperson announces the verdict. The verdict is recorded and the jurors' responsibility for the case is concluded, except in a criminal death penalty case. In such cases, following the rendering of the verdict, the jury must decide the punishment.
After the jury has been discharged, the jurors are permitted but not required to talk about the case. Jurors are not permitted to disclose what another juror said during deliberations. If anyone attempts to communicate with a juror in any way that the juror feels is improper, the juror should report the incident to the court as soon as possible.
WILL I BE PROVIDED MEALS WHILE SERVING AS A JUROR?
Normally no. A meal will be provided if a jury is sequestered or in certain cases when a jury is deliberating. Normally you receive an hour or more to purchase a meal at a place of your choosing or to consume a packed lunch from home.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE AN UNSOLICITED CALL FROM SOMEONE REGARDING JURY DUTY?