Every year in Santa Barbara County, many public and private employees perform an essential community service - they provide jurors for the Court's jury system. The jury system cannot exist without that support.
In Santa Barbara County, the term of service is ONE SWORN TRIAL. The California statute provides that the court may use jurors for up to FIVE CALL IN DAYS. Jurors are expected to report for service for one day of jury selection, and to accept all trials, regardless of length, unless it would be a personal hardship. Jurors who are in the jury selection process (called voir dire), or who are sworn to a case, are not limited to FIVE ON CALL DAYS OF SERVICE. If an individual is a member or an alternate member of a jury panel, his or her term of service will end when the trial reaches a verdict or the deliberation stage is concluded. If an individual is not in jury selection or serving on a trial by the fifth day of service, his or her term will end at the close of business that day. A form certifying the number of days a juror performed jury service will be furnished to the juror, upon the juror's request.
Most jurors are sent to courtrooms for voir dire in panels of 35 to 40, depending on the length of trial. This helps ensure efficient courtroom use of each juror.
LABOR CODE SECTION 230 STATES:
(a) No employer shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve as required by law on an inquest jury or trial jury, if such employee, prior to taking such time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that he is required to serve.
(b) No employer shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to appear in court as a witness as required by law, if such employee, prior to taking such time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that he is required to appear in court.
(c) Any employee who is discharged, threatened with discharge, demoted, suspended, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of such employment by his employer because such employee has taken time off to serve on an inquest or trial jury or to appear in court as a witness shall be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by such acts of the employer. Any employer who willfully refused to rehire, promote, or otherwise restore an employee or former employee who has been determined to be eligible for such rehiring or promotion by a grievance procedure, arbitration, or hearing authorized by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
EMPLOYER PARTICIPATION IS VITAL TO THE JURY SYSTEM
We wish to extend our deepest appreciation to public and private employers in Santa Barbara County for supporting the jury system. We cannot overemphasize how crucial that support is. Without employer participation, jury trials would come to a standstill. As a consequence, private and corporate residents would lose a fundamental principle on which we all depend - justice!