|Jury Policies & Procedures|
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The selection and management of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. Prospective jurors for the Santa Barbara County courts are selected randomly from the Voter Registration list and the Department of Motor Vehicles' drivers and identification card-holders lists. From these source lists, the Court creates a master list of prospective jurors. Prospective jurors are selected randomly from that master list to receive a Trial Jury Summons.
Jury summons are sent to groups of prospective jurors selected at random and are mailed approximately 4 weeks prior to the summons date as shown on the form.
To qualify for jury service, one must be:
PEACE OFFICERS as defined only in Sections 830.1, 830.2(a) or 830.33(a) of the Penal Code are exempt. Individuals must request this exemption by completing the request section of the summons. Read all directions on the form in order to complete it correctly. Staff will read and process the request. Unless we notify you that your request for this exemption has been denied, you should assume it has been approved. You will be notified ONLY if your request is denied or further information is needed.
REQUEST FOR EXCUSE
If you receive a summons and you want to be excused, you MUST complete the request section of the summons. Please read all directions on the form in order to complete it correctly. Staff will read and process the request. Unless we notify you that your request for excuse has been denied, you should assume it has been approved. You will be notified ONLY if your request is denied or further information is needed.
If you feel you should be permanently excused from jury service due to your medical condition and if you are UNDER AGE 70, you must have a note signed by your medical doctor. The note must state that you should be PERMANENTLY EXCUSED. Return the note along with the completed and signed request section of the summons. Please be sure to include your telephone numbers and badge number.
If you are OVER AGE 70 and feel you should be permanently excused due to medical conditions, you must write a letter to the Jury Services office stating so and return it with your completed and signed request section of the summons. Be sure to include your telephone number(s) and badge number. You are not required to send a doctor's note if you have legitimate medical problems and you are OVER AGE 70.
Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason to be excused from jury service. Any employer who interferes with an employee reporting for jury service may be charged with a misdemeanor. (Labor Code Section 230).
Failure to attend or respond for jury service is a serious matter which may subject you to penalties as prescribed by law, including monetary sanctions (Code of Civil Procedure Section 209). Santa Barbara Superior Court has implemented a Juror Failure To Appear (FTA) Program with the focus of achieving compliance by improving juror attendance as well as providing education about the importance of participating in this civic obligation. The ultimate consequence of noncompliance can be personal service of an Order To Show Cause Re Contempt by a Santa Barbara County Sheriff with a date ordering the juror to appear before a Superior Court Judge. If the juror is found in contempt of court, the judge may order a fine up to $1,000 along with presenting the juror a new summons for a future on call date. If you have failed to appear for jury service please contact the Jury office immediately. In Santa Barbara you may call (805) 882-4530, in Santa Maria (805) 614-6464.
When summoned, prospective jurors are placed on-call for approximately five (5) court working days. If you are not available during your on-call period, you may request ONE POSTPONEMENT of your service. You MUST complete the request section of the summons. Read all directions on the form in order to complete it correctly, including the week when you will be able to serve. The new date must be within the next 90 days beginning on a Monday, but excluding court holidays. You must sign the form, provide your badge number and telephone numbers. Staff will read and process the request. Unless we notify you that your request for postponement has been denied, you should assume it has been approved. You will be notified ONLY if your request is denied or further information is needed.
No person is exempt from service by reason of occupation. Based on their
student status, students may request a postponement of their service to
the next school break (in this case we will defer past 90 days if
If you have an emergency on the day you are to report, notify the Jury Services Office. In Santa Barbara please call (805) 882-4530. In Santa Maria please call (805) 614-6464. The offices are open at 8:00 a.m.
If a general emergency occurs, such as an earthquake, flood, fire, civil unrest, etc., call (805) 882-4555 for instructions concerning jury service.
When issued, please wear your juror badge at all times while you are at the courthouse. It is important that people recognize you as a juror. Overhearing statements by attorneys, defendants, or other parties could cause a mistrial.
Before going to a courtroom for jury selection, jury staff will keep you informed about breaks. Once you are assigned to a courtroom for jury selection, the judge will inform you of breaks, lunch periods and the time trial will begin and end each day.
Business attire is suggested. Jurors are advised to dress in layers as the temperature of the jury assembly areas and courtrooms can be unpredictable. Ties are not required. Be comfortable but avoid extremes in dress. Beach attire such as tank tops, shorts and flip flops are not appropriate for jury service.
Employers are not required by law to compensate employees with their regular wages while on jury duty. Many employers do have jury benefits and will continue your wages while you serve. Check with your employer regarding the company policy BEFORE you report for jury service.
You may take notes, but you should not become so involved in note-taking that you miss important points that are being told to you.
For the Santa Barbara court location only, your jury summons may be used as a free MTD bus pass on your first reporting day. Hand the summons to the driver for validation. Check with Jury Services if you are required to return a second day. Please see www.sbmtd.gov for schedules/routes.
For bus service within the Santa Maria area, please see the Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT) website for schedules/routes: www.ci.santa-maria.ca.us/3075.html
bus service between Lompoc and Santa Maria, please see The Breeze Bus
website at www.breezebus.com for schedules/routes, or call 800-417-2137.
Parking is limited, so please allow sufficient time.
Beginning the second day of jury service (and for each day thereafter) you will be paid fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day, plus thirty-four cents a mile ($0.34), one way mileage from your home to the court (California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 215). Jurors do not receive any compensation for the first day of service under state law.
Checks for jury service are computed at the completion of the trial to which you were assigned and are mailed to you at your home address. Checks should be received within 4 to 6 weeks after the end of the trial.
Questions regarding jury payment checks should be directed as follows: For service at Santa Barbara Superior Court, call (805) 882-4530. For service at Santa Maria or Lompoc Superior Court, call (805) 614-6464.
If you are serving on a case and are not required to report for a day or for several days, you will not receive jury fees, credit for service, or written verification of service for those days on which you are not required to report. You are expected to return to work, or notify your employer, any day or days you are not required to report for jury service.
If you need proof of your appearance for jury service for your employer, a form will be furnished by the jury staff on your first day of service. Should you return a second day for selection or as a sworn juror, a jury staff member, the bailiff, or court clerk can sign your confirmation of appearance on a daily basis. Please bring this form with you each day.
If you have a question while in the courtroom, ask the bailiff if the question should be answered by the judge. The bailiff will insure that the question is appropriately forwarded. If you cannot hear, are feeling ill or need to leave the courtroom, go to the bailiff and explain and the bailiff will help you.
No weapons of any kind are allowed in the courthouse, including courtrooms and the jury assembly building. This includes mace and/or pepper spray. If you are carrying any weapons, even for your own protection, please leave them in your car or at home. The Santa Barbara Superior Court conducts weapons screening. This screening is similar to what you would experience at any airport. Your person and property are subject to search and x-ray examination. Please notify the guards if you have a medical condition which requires special accommodation when walking through a metal detector. For the full list of prohibited items, click here.
All jurors and prospective jurors may be required to go through the metal detectors when directed to a courtroom. When reporting for jury duty, please allow extra time to go through the weapons screening line.
If you require special accommodations or have a special situation that is not addressed here, please call your local Jury Services office during regular business hours.
California law privdes that you may be summoned for jury service once every twelve (12) months. You will be placed on-call for approximately five (5) court working days. You will be called to report during that period only if there is a trial for which a jury is needed. When you are sent to a courtroom as a prospective juror and you are chosen as an actual trial or alternate juror, your jury obligation will be fulfilled upon the conclusion of deliberation. If you are not chosen as a juror or alternate, your jury service will be fulfilled upon your dismissal by the court (i.e.: you are excused by challenge) or upon the swearing of the jury, even if you were not called into the jury box for questioning.
Trials are of varying lengths. Cases in Santa Barbara County Superior Court may typically range from one to six days, or even longer in many cases. The trial judge will advise you of the trial duration and may excuse or postpone you from serving on a particular case if your service would amount to an extreme hardship.
Due to the nature of jury service and court processes, there are often periods of waiting. We suggest bringing something to read. There are brief recesses throughout the day, and you will have at least one hour for lunch.
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