Petit Jury Service
A petit jury listens to evidence in a courtroom and determines the facts in a case. In a criminal trial, it is up to the petit jury to determine whether or not a defendant is guilty of the acts he/she has been accused of committing. Petit juries do not determine the sentence or penalty a defendant will face. The sentence is imposed by the judge. In a civil case, petit jurors determine whether the plaintiff wins the case. Petit juries consist of a minimum of 6 to 12 jurors depending on whether they serve in a civil or criminal trial respectively.
- What to expect when reporting for petit jury service
- Types of cases
- Call Off Service
- Postponed or Deferred Jurors
- Jury Service Location
- Jury Service Hours
- Terms of Service
- Sick Calls
- Juror Payment
Petit jurors report to the Jury Assembly Room, located in Room 400, on the 4th floor of the Administration Building where they check in. Jurors who need a Zone 2 Permit (See Parking) may receive one at this time. Once all jurors are checked in, the juror orientation begins. After the orientation, jurors wait for judges to place their requests for jurors. Once a judge requests jurors, the request is processed and a random list of jurors is created by our computer system. These jurors must report to the requesting judge's courtroom for voir dire. Voir dire occurs when the judge questions each juror to determine which jurors will be selected for his or her jury. If the judge excuses the juror from his/her case, the juror must report back to the Jury Assembly Room and present his/her badge to the staff at the check-in window. This juror is then available to be sent to other judges. If the judge selects the juror to serve on his/her jury, that juror must report back for jury duty according to the judge's instructions.
Once a juror has been placed on panel or has been selected to serve as a juror on a particular case, that juror may not be excused without permission from the judge. The Jury Management Office cannot excuse a juror once they are placed on a panel or selected for a jury.
Petit jurors can serve on either criminal or civil matters. For a criminal case, jurors must determine whether or not the charged defendant committed the criminal act he/she is indicted for beyond a reasonable doubt. The jurors will be instructed how to determine this before reaching their verdict. The jurors will not establish the penalty faced by the defendant.
In civil cases, jurors do not determine guilt or innocence, but they are required to establish the amount of any monetary damages awarded. These jurors serve on cases ranging from medical malpractice to personal injury.
Jurors are summoned five weeks in advance based on the number of cases scheduled to go to trial. However, not all of the originally scheduled cases proceed to trial. From the time you are summoned until your reporting date, cases may be postponed or dismissed, or resolved by way of a settlement in the Civil Division or a plea of guilty in the Criminal Division. As a result, the call off system was implemented to bring in only the required number of jurors and avoid inconveniencing jurors. Without this system, every single person summoned would be required to appear even though he or she might not actually be needed.
Upon receiving a summons, you are instructed to call the message system (201-795-6699 or 201-795-6269) or visit www.njcourtsonline.com/juryreporting on the evening prior to your first day of service after 5:00 p.m. for reporting instructions. Please read or listen to the entire message. If certain jurors are put on call and do not have to report, you will have to refer to the group number and juror number located on your summons. If your group number and juror number are called off, you do not need to report for service on the day indicated and must return to your regular employment or resume your normal schedule. The message is available for twenty four hours. If the telephone and the Internet message are out of order, please report for jury service at 8:30 a.m.
If you are a postponed or deferred juror, please call the telephone message system (201-795-6699 or 201-795-6269) or visit www.njcourtsonline.com/juryreporting after 5:00 p.m. for reporting instructions on the evening prior to your new first day of service. If jurors are needed, you must report regardless of any group number or juror number that is placed on call. If no jurors are needed, you do not need to report.
The Jury Assembly Room is located in Room 400 on the fourth floor in the Administration Building, 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City. The usual court hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jurors should anticipate being in attendance for those hours. Lunch break is generally between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
The reporting time varies from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. depending on the needs of the Courts. For your specific reporting time, call the telephone message system or visit www.njcourtsonline.com/juryreporting after 5:00 p.m. the evening prior to your reporting date. You should be prepared to stay in court until approximately 5:00 p.m. The Jury Management Office will release you as soon as no more jurors are needed for the day.
You may bring a book or a magazine to read while you are waiting to be assigned to go to a courtroom for jury selection. For entertainment purposes, the Jury Management Office provides jurors with wireless Internet access for jurors who bring their laptops, an array of books, magazines and games, as well as television and videos to watch during their jury service.
Lunch break is usually between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. An announcement will be made when jurors may be released for lunch.
In Hudson County, petit jurors are summoned for a minimum of two (2) days or one full trial. As such, jurors who are not selected to serve on a trial by the end of their second day of service have completed their jury service. If you are sent to a courtroom and the jury selection process continues beyond your second day, you will have to return until the judge excuses you from serving as a juror on that trial. Those who are selected for trials finish their service at the conclusion of the trial. Trials vary in length. Some trials proceed for just one day and others may last more.
If you are unable to attend your required service due to an unexpected illness, you must call the Jury Management Office at (201) 795-6697 or 6698 prior to 9:00 a.m.
Attendance is recorded by having the bar-code on the juror summons scanned by the Jury Assembly Room personnel. Jurors must check in so that there is a record of their attendance as well as for payment purposes. If you need an attendance letter for your employer, please write your name and the bar code number appearing on your juror badge on the Attendance Statement Request pad located on the Jury Assembly Room at the left side window. This letter will include all days you served as a juror. Letters of attendance are mailed to jurors' homes on Fridays.
When assigned to a court, as a sworn juror on a trial, your attendance will be taken by court staff and will be transmitted to the Jury Management Office through the court's computer system. Jurors serving on a trial receive an attendance letter at the conclusion of the case.
Established by the New Jersey State Legislature, jurors are paid $5.00 a day for their first 3 days of service and receive $40.00 for all subsequent days served. Payment checks are prepared on a weekly basis and are mailed to your home. You should receive your juror fee check approximately two weeks upon the conclusion of your service. If a trial goes into the following week, you will receive two checks for your service. Please note that jurors are not paid for any day they are excused or are not required to report for service. NJSA 2B:20-16 mandates that all public employees who receive compensation from their employers are not eligible to receive payment for jury duty. Those affected by this law are all state, municipal, county, judicial, political sub divisions, independent authorities or entities of the State of New Jersey. Jurors affected by this policy must declare this status when they check in.
Jurors are encouraged to use public transportation if possible, as parking in the area is quite difficult. On-site parking is not provided. The entire area surrounding the Administration Building is designated as a Zone 2 that prohibits parking without a permit. However, parking permits for Zone 2 are provided for jurors, free of charge. This permit will be provided on the first day of your jury service. Zone 2 parking permits are available on Room 412. This parking permit will allow you to park in a Zone 2 for more than two hours without being ticketed. Zone 2 permits will not prevent you from receiving a ticket or having your vehicle booted for violating parking rules such as street cleaning rules, parking in a handicapped space or prohibited areas. In addition, this permit does not cover parking meters. All jurors must strictly adhere to local parking regulations. Parking permits for Zone 2 are valid for two days. If you are selected to serve on a trial that extends beyond the two days, you must request a new permit. One will be provided to you for the duration of that trial.