Policies and Procedures
How Jurors Are Summoned
The selection and management of jurors is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. By law, potential jurors for the Tulare County courts are selected randomly from the Voter Registration list and the Department of Motor Vehicles' drivers and identification card holders lists. A master list of jurors is created by the court annually. That data constitutes the jury source list from which jurors are selected from the two areas in which sessions are held. The Porterville and Visalia area selections are made from residential zip codes. In order to constitute panels for trials which are conducted in the Visalia Courthouse and Porterville Courthouse, a numeric percentage is applied to each area to facilitate an area-wide selection. This affords all qualified persons in the county an equal opportunity to be considered for jury service. Prospective jurors are selected randomly from that master list to receive a summons. Summons are randomly mailed 21 days prior to service.
A juror may ask to be excused from service for a number of reasons by completing the "Response Form," on the summons and by returning the form to the Jury Division. However, if the stated reason for excuse is not legally sufficient, the juror is expected to report for service on the date indicated on the summons.
Postponements/Deferral of Jury service
If you are not available on the date scheduled, you may request ONE postponement of your service.
Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason to be excused from jury service. You may request to be postponed for this reason.
No person is exempt from service because of their occupation. Based on their student status, students may request a postponement of their service to the next school break. (In this case, we will postpone past 90 days if necessary).
If you wish to notify the Jury Services Office of an emergency or an absence, please call the courthouse after 8:00 a.m. at 559-730-5100.
When you are serving on a case and an emergency arises, you must immediately report this emergency to the Jury Commissioner. The telephone number is 559-730-5100.
If a general emergency occurs, such as an earthquake, flood, fire, civil unrest, etc., call 559-730-5100 for instructions concerning jury service.
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.
Breaks and End of Day
An announcement will be made informing you of your lunch break as well as your departure time at the end of the day. Please remain in the designated jury areas until you hear these announcements. When you have been released from the courtroom, you must return to the jury assembly room to hand in your juror badge and be scanned to complete your service and to ensure that all prospective jurors receive credit for service.
Jurors are advised to dress in layers, because the temperature of the jury assembly areas and courtrooms can be unpredictable. Ties are not required. Be comfortable, but avoid extremes in dress. Check with the jury clerk if you have any doubts.
Jury Duty Benefits
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. It is advisable to check with your employer regarding the company policy.
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.
Free parking is available in the jury parking lot on Burrel Street, across the street from the courthouse. You may park in all day or three-hour parking anywhere at the courthouse, as long as you place your parking permit on the dashboard of your car. The parking permit is valid for all days of your service. DO NOT park in spaces for handicapped, car pool, or in reserved spaces. Violators will be ticketed. Parking is limited, so please allow sufficient time.
Beginning the second day of service, and for each day after thereafter, jurors receive fifteen dollars ($15.00), plus thirty-four cents a mile ($0.34), one way from your home to the court (non-taxable), for mileage (California Code of Civil Procedure section 215).
Effective August 16, 2004: A juror employed by a federal, state, or local government entity or by any other public entity as defined in Section 481.200, and who receives regular compensation and benefits while performing jury service, will not be paid the $15.00 fee.
Checks for jury service are computed at the completion of service and are mailed to you at your home address. Checks should be received approximately two to six weeks after you complete service. Questions regarding jury checks should be directed to jury payroll staff at 559-730-5100.
If you are serving on a case and are not required to report for a day or several days, you will not receive jury fees, credit for service, or written verification of service for those days. You are expected to return to work, or notify your employer, any day or days you are not required to report for jury service.
Proof of Appearance of Jury Service
If you are employed, a form certifying the number of days you performed jury service, if required, will be furnished by jury personnel in the jury office at the end of each day of service. Not all employers require this information.
If you have a question, write it on a piece of paper and ask the bailiff or court attendant that it be given to the judge. The judge will respond appropriately by writing a note back or answering directly from the bench; or, the judge may indicate that it is not proper to answer the question at that time.
Security in the Courthouse and Jury Assembly Building
No weapons of any kind are allowed in the building, and this includes mace or pepper spray. If you are carrying anything for your own protection, please leave it in your car or at home.
If you require special accommodations, are hard of hearing, or have a situation that is not addressed on the affidavit, please call our office at 559-730-5100.
Term of Service
The courts want to make jury service as manageable as possible for you while still ensuring the availability of jurors for jury trials. One way of doing this is the "one-day or one-trial" system. It works like this: You are summoned and appear at the courthouse at the designated time. If you are not selected for a jury that day, you are excused and have satisfied your obligation for at least a year. If you are selected for a jury, service in that trial satisfies your obligation for at least one year.
Trials are of varying lengths. Cases in Tulare County average 2-4 days. The trial judge will advise you of the trial duration and may excuse you from serving on a particular case if your service would amount to an extreme hardship.
Due to the nature of jury service and the court process itself, there are often periods of waiting. We suggest bringing something to read or small electronic devices to use while you are waiting. Please do not bring with you any type of knitting, crocheting, or embroidery needles. Two computer workstations are in the jury assembly room to provide a space to work. The Court offers Wi-Fi throughout the building. There are brief recesses throughout the day, and you will have at least one hour for lunch.