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Jury Service

Court employees will never ask you to disclose confidential personal information such as social security number or credit card number over the telephone.

Each year, thousands of Iowans perform a valuable public service as jurors.  Through jury service, citizens have an opportunity to actively participate in their court system.  The Iowa Judicial Branch recognizes the sacrifices made by jurors and is working to make jury service as efficient as possible. 

Did you get a Summons to Jury Service in the Mail?

Complete Questionnaire Online

How are people called for jury service?

Jurors are randomly identified from a master jury list using an electronic data processing system.  The master jury list is composed of names of citizens who are on the current voter registration list provided by the Secretary of State, or the current motor vehicle operators list or the nonoperator identification list provided by the Department of Transportation. The master jury list is updated on an annual basis.  The master jury list may be supplemented with names from any other comprehensive list of persons residing in the county if deemed appropriate by the state court administrator.  View the master jury list.

What is the term of my jury service? 

The juror summons that is mailed to each person called to serve will indicate the terms of jury service. Terms of service vary county to county. Please review your juror summons and check with the local jury manager about your specific term of service. The court is able to release jurors who report for service if the person is not selected for a specific panel after one entire day.

Iowa law provides that in any two-year period a citizen is not required: 

  • to serve on a jury for 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.

What's the difference between a petit jury and a grand jury?

A petit jury makes the final decision 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 makes the final decision in the case.

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.  A 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.

May I be excused from jury service?

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 that

  • the 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
  • the person is breast feeding her child and is not employed outside the home.

Also, the court has discretion to defer a term of jury service upon a finding of hardship, inconvenience, or public necessity

In order 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.

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?

Iowa law 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. 

Where can I find the state law explaining the process for selecting juries, the responsibilities of jurors, and juror qualification?

Chapter 607A of the Iowa Code. 

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