Jury Service: Answers to Frequently asked Questions
Notice! Court employees will never ask you to
disclose confidential personal information such as social security number or
credit card number over the telephone.
How are people called
for jury service?
The courts use computers to
randomly select prospective jurors from a jury pool source list. The
source list is composed of names of citizens who are licensed to drive and
registered to vote in Iowa. The list is maintained by the state and annually
If your name is selected as
a prospective juror, the court will send you a questionnaire, which is to be
completed and returned to the court. Among other things, the
questionnaire asks if you meet the state's minimum qualifications for jury
service -- a U.S. citizen; at least eighteen years old; able to understand
English in written, spoken, or manually signed mode; and able to receive and
evaluate information such that the person is able to render satisfactorily
Does jury service take much
The juror summons that is
mailed to each person called to serve will indicate the general term of jury
service. Iowa law provides that a person shall not be required, in any two-year
period, to serve a term of more than three months unless to complete service in
a particular case; to serve on more than one grand jury; or to serve as both a
grand and petit juror.
In 1998, the Iowa Judicial
Branch streamlined the process for calling jurors. The new jury management
system allows courts to reduce the length of juror service, making it more
convenient for citizens. Courts using this procedure are able to release jurors
who report for service if the person is not selected for a specific panel after
one entire day. Those who are selected are only required to serve on one trial.
Please check with the local jury manager about your specific term of service.
May I be excused from
State law limits the circumstances for which the court may
excuse a person from jury duty. A person has the right to be excused from
service if the person submits written documentation to the court's satisfaction
person is solely responsible for the daily care of a person with a permanent
disability living in the person's home and that performance of jury service
would cause substantial risk of injury to the health of the disabled person; or
person is breast feeding her child and is not employed outside the home.
Also, the court has discretion to excuse someone from jury
service upon a finding of hardship, inconvenience, or public necessity.
If you want to be excused from jury service, you should file
a written request with the clerk of court as soon as possible after you receive
the summons to serve.
Jury service is an
important responsibility. A person who makes a false claim for the
purpose of getting excused or helping someone else get excused may be found in
contempt of court and could be punished by the court.
What's the difference
between a petit jury and a grand jury?
A grand jury is a group of
seven citizens convened for the purpose of determining whether there is
sufficient evidence for a person who is accused of a crime to be brought to
trial—as opposed to the county attorney filing a criminal charge.
The grand jury shall meet
at times specified by order of a district court judge, at the request of the
county attorney or at the request of the majority of the grand jurors.
The county attorney is responsible for presenting evidence to the grand
jury. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public.
petit jury acts as the fact finder when a party in a civil case or a defendant
in a criminal case has requested a jury. In criminal trials, 12 jurors
sit on the jury; in civil trials, 8 jurors comprise the jury. If a jury
has not been requested, the judge acts as the fact finder.
Are jurors paid?
Pursuant to Iowa law,
jurors receive $30 a day for serving up to seven days and are entitled to reimbursement
for travel to and from the courthouse and for parking expenses. Jurors receive $50 per day for each day that
exceeds seven days of service. While
employers are not required to pay the salaries of employees on jury duty, many
do so in recognition of the importance of jury service.
What if jury service
interferes with my job?
prohibits an employer from threatening or coercing an employee or terminating
the employment of a person due to serving or being called to serve as a
juror. An employer who violates the law is subject to contempt of court
and is also subject to a lawsuit by the employee.