1. Who is eligible to serve?
Anyone 18 years of age or older who is a United States citizen and resident of the county and who has not been convicted of a felony within the last five years is eligible. Tioga County does not discriminate due to age, therefore, anyone 18 years of age or older is eligible to serve as a juror.
2. How long do I need to serve as a Juror?
Your summons will have a date or dates on the top of the summons. Those are the dates that you have been chosen to be a possible juror. (e.g. Dec. 13, 2006 would mean you are only called for a one day jury trial. Dec 13, 2006 – Dec. 15, 2006 means you have been called for a 3 day jury trial).
3. May I call the court and schedule a more convenient time to serve?
The jurors must be picked at random, so you cannot be scheduled for a particular date. If the time you were picked is inconvenient then you must asked to be excused. Do not simply ignore the summons.
4. How do I ask to be excused from Jury Duty?
In order to be excused from Jury Duty you must complete the entire Jury Summons/Jury Questionnaire and make sure you fill out the "Juror's Request to be Excused/Disqualification Form and explain why. If you are asking to be excused due to medical reasons it is helpful to attach a medical excuse from your doctor to your summons. If you are asking to be excused due to employment it is helpful to attach a letter from your employer/supervisor to your summons.
Please be advised that the Jury Managers only excuse via written excuse, they will not take phone calls asking to be excused. You will receive written verification via mail that your excuse from Jury Duty has either been accepted or denied. If your excuse has been denied you must call the Jury Phone Line at (570) 724-4180 the day before your selected Jury Trial after 4:30 p.m. If there is still a Jury Trial for that day, then you are required to show up to Jury Duty. The only person allowed to override a denial for excuse from Jury Duty from the Jury Commissioners is the President Judge. The President Judge will hear your excuse at the time of voir dire.
5. What is voir dire?
Voir dire is a French term that refers to the preliminary examination of an individuals qualifications to be a juror. Voir dire is sometimes conducted by the judge and sometimes by the lawyers. The purpose is to find out whether any views held by the potential juror hinder his or her ability to act impartially. Therefore, it is very important to answer these questions honestly.
Voir dire is conducted just before the Jury Trial begins. When called for Jury Duty the voir dire process begins when all of the prospective jurors have arrived and the Judge and attorneys are ready to proceed. After voir dire when the attorneys have selected their jury panel all prospective jurors who have not been selected may leave. Only the people picked for the jury panel need to stay for the entire Jury Trial. Just because you were selected as a prospective juror and have to report for jury duty does not mean that you will be selected to be on the Jury Panel.
6. After I send in my Jury Summons how do I know if I still have Jury Duty?
You will need to call the phone number given on your Jury Summons that you need to keep for your records to call the Jury Phone Line. You must call the Jury Phone Line (570-724-4180) the day before your jury trial date after 4:30 p.m. The voice mail will let you know if you need to attend Jury Duty. If you do need to attend, there will be instructions on the Jury Phone Line as to what time to attend, where parking is available, etc. The Jury Phone Line is an automated voice mail system that DOES get updated during a holiday. If the day before the Jury Trial is a holiday, you still need to wait until after 4:30 p.m. that holiday, for the Jury Phone Line to be updated.
7. I can not remember my date(s) for Jury Duty, who can I call?
You must call the Jury Managers for that information. You can contact them at (570) 723-8392 or (570) 723-8380. You can also leave a message for them at the above numbers and they will get back to you on the next available day.
8. I received a letter from the Jury Managers stating that they did not receive my summons and I sent it in or I never received a jury summons, what do I do?
If you received a letter from the Jury Manager that they have not received your Jury Summons within 10 days and you did mail in the summons, then the two documents probably crossed in the mail. If you would like to check to see if they received your jury summons, you can call the Jury Managers at (570) 723-8392 or (570) 723-8380.
If you received a letter from the Jury Mangers stating they have not received your Jury Summons within 10 days and you never received the summons, please contact the Jury Managers and request a Jury Summons to be mailed to you.
9. What happens if I ignore my summons for jury service?
A Jury Summons is a court order. If you ignore it, you are subject to arrest and prosecution.
10. Will I get paid for serving as a juror?
Yes, $9 a day for the first three days and $25 a day thereafter and round trip mileage is also included at the rate of $0.17 a mile.
11. Is my employer required to pay me while I serve as a juror?
If you work for the government, your employer must pay you. If you work in the private sector, your employer does not have to pay you.
12. May I go home at the end of the day?
Jurors almost always go home at the end of the day. Sequestration is a term used to describe jurors staying at a local hotel at the county’s expense during the trial. Sequestration rarely occurs.
13. How often do I have to serve as a juror?
There is no limit on the number of times your name may be drawn for service. In Pennsylvania, however, anyone who has served on a trial as a juror fewer than three days does not need to serve again for one year. Anyone who has served three days or more does not have to serve again for three years. If you wish to serve again before the expiration of those time periods, you may do so.
14. Are accommodations available if I have a disability?
Yes, the Courthouse is wheelchair accessible. You can contact the Tioga County Court Administrator’s Office at (570) 723-8380 to find out what accommodations are available.