Q. How did I get picked for jury service?
A: The Jury Division receives a list every year in October from Penn DOT of all licensed drivers over 18 years of age and those with Identification cards. The required number of jurors for a particular day are randomly selected by computer and summoned to appear for jury duty.
Q. Why have some people never been called for jury service and I’ve been called more than once?
A: As mentioned earlier, selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times.
Q. What types of cases could I be on?
A: In general, there are two Courts in Berks County in which jurors serve. The first is the Court of Common Pleas - Criminal, in which persons are charged with crimes, and the second is Common Pleas Court – Civil, in which parties come to court to have their disputes resolved.
Q. How long will I be required to serve?
A: You will be required to serve as a juror for one day, or if selected to sit on a trial, you will be required to serve for the duration of that trial.
Q. How often must I serve?
A: If a person serves for one (1) or two (2) days, they need not serve again for a period of one year. If service is for three (3) or more days, the exemption period is three years.
Q. Will I get paid for serving as a juror?
A: Yes. Jurors are paid $9.00 a day for the first three days of service. Beginning on the fourth day, the rate increases to $25.00 per day. Jurors also receive mileage of 17 cents per mile for each day of service. You will receive a check in the mail after your jury service is complete.
Q. Does anyone pay for my parking while I am serving as a juror?
A: While serving on Jury Duty, the County will pay for parking in the Reed & Court Street Garage or the Poplar & Walnut Street Garage. You will get a ticket at the gate. Please bring it with you and the jury staff will validate it for you. If you choose to leave the garage during the day and return to the garage on the same day, we will not validate your parking again. Parking is only validated once a day.
Q. Does my employer have to pay me for time missed from work due to jury service?
A: Under Pennsylvania Law, an employer is not required to pay persons during their period of jury service. However, ask your employer what the company policy says. We will provide you with a letter which verifies your service with the Court.
Q. Can my employer fire me for performing jury service?
A: No. Pennsylvania law prohibits an employer from terminating or otherwise penalizing an employee because the employee serves as a juror.
Q. What if I am unable to serve as a juror?
A: Pennsylvania Law allows for exemption from jury duty. Valid exemptions include, but are not limited to: (1) persons in active military service, and (2) persons who demonstrate undue hardship or extreme inconvenience. If you have any questions regarding exemption from jury duty, please contact Jury Services, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., by calling (610) 478-6401.
Q. Will I be automatically exempted from jury service if I am a doctor, lawyer, dentist or school teacher?
A: No. Jury service is a civic obligation that we all have. No one is automatically excused because of their occupation. Many doctors, lawyers, dentists and school teachers have served as jurors in Berks County. Not even the judges themselves are exempt from Jury Service.
Q. Can the Court accommodate me since I am physically challenged?
A: All courtrooms are accessible. If you have a hearing, sight or mobility concern, please advise the Jury Division prior to your service date by calling (610) 478-6208 ext. 5704.
Q. What should I wear?
A: Business casual attire is appropriate in the courtroom. Jurors may not wear shorts, tank tops or halter tops.
Q. Will I be finished at 5:00 p.m.?
A: A jury is occasionally detained after normal court hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) when the judge deems the action necessary because of the nature of the trial. If this occurs, jurors will have the opportunity to communicate with their families.
Q. Why am I told to call the night before I report for jury duty?
A: The number of jurors needed by the court changes daily. When you call (610) 478-6400 you will hear a recording stating if you will be needed for duty the next day.
Q. What should I bring when I report?
A: You should bring the summons portion of the questionnaire with you.
Q. What if I fail to return the questionnaire or report for service?
A: You may be required to appear in court and you could be held in contempt and fined. However, by making jury service as flexible as possible, we hope to avoid using this power.
Q. What happens if there is inclement weather on the day I am required to report?
A: In case of inclement weather, please listen to radio stations, WEEU (850 AM), WRFY (102.5 FM), WRAW (1340 AM), and TV station WFMZ, to find out if you should report. You may also go to our website at www.berksjury.com for Office Closings/Emergency Information.