(FOX40.COM) — It’s a civil duty for all American citizens to serve on a jury when called upon to participate in the judicial process.
In fact, the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a person’s right to be put to a trial by a jury “of one’s peers” when accused of a crime.
In essence, a jury is composed of members from the same community as the accused person and will determine that person’s conviction.
The formation of a jury starts with calling citizens to their local courthouse to determine if they will or will not serve on a trial.
Here is a guide for reporting to and completing your jury duty if you received a jury summons in the mail from the Sacramento County Superior Court.
The summons is mailed approximately five weeks prior to your report date, and Sacramento County residents are eligible to be summoned every 18 months, but that doesn’t mean that you will be summoned every time, according to the jury’s commissioner’s office.
Checking your report date
Your summons will show a report date, which will usually be the first business day of the week, not including holidays.
According to Sacramento County Superior Court, jurors must be available for the week they are summoned and the following week to ensure they can be sworn in if selected on a case.
Each prospective juror will have to check with the court the Friday before their report date to know if they must arrive at the court on the report date.
Prospective jurors can either check online at this link or call the number on the summons.
Those who don’t qualify for jury duty can submit a disqualification online. You can check the qualifications for jury service here.
In Sacramento County, a standby service process is used, meaning prospective jurors are required to check every day for a maximum of five days if they are required to report for jury duty.
For example, you will call or check the website on Friday after 5 p.m. to know if you have to report on Monday, and on Monday after 5 p.m., you will check if you have to report on Tuesday, and so on.
Prospective jurors must do this until they are instructed that their service is complete.
Prospective jurors may either have to report the following court day at 8 a.m., check back between 11:15 a.m. and 12 p.m. for a possible 1 p.m. report, or check later for further instruction.
Once your group is called, you are required to report at the time and day you’re instructed to.
Requesting a postponement
Those who aren’t able to make it to their report date can request a postponement from jury service.
According to Sacramento County Superior Court, jury service may be postponed for a period of 90 days from the original summons date. Postponements can be made online at this website.
Sacramento County Superior Court said teachers or students may be rescheduled to the next school break and breastfeeding mothers may be postponed for a period of up to one year.
The superior court’s website doesn’t accept postponement for longer than 90 days, so students, teachers and breastfeeding mothers would have to make their request in writing to email@example.com.
They can also mail their request to the jury commissioner’s office at 720 9th Street in Sacramento.
Parking at the courthouse
The jury summons comes with a parking permit that should be placed on your dashboard on the days that you have to report to the courthouse.
Free parking is provided for all prospective jurors and there are two parking lots near the Sacramento County courthouse, which is located at 720 9th Street in downtown Sacramento.
The two parking lots are:
•St. Joseph’s Jury Lot: G and 8th streets
•City Lot 297: 7th and F streets (use this if St. Joseph’s lot is full)
Parking is free Monday through Friday until 5 p.m. with your parking permit.
For anyone who rides SacRT, the court will provide tickets for the return trip.
Reporting at the courthouse
After arriving inside the building and going through security, there is a sign that directs you where to go to check in, which is on the second floor in room 203.
Once you’re in the check-in room, you’ll be asked if you can serve as a juror for at least two weeks.
After, you’ll be asked to take a questionnaire, a contact information form and be issued a “prospective juror” badge. You’ll need to keep the questionnaire and contact form, as they’ll be used when your number is called in the courtroom.
Prospective jurors will then be called by first and last name and be told to report to a department, which is also a courtroom, for a case.
Once everyone reports to their respective department, each juror is called in randomly with a selection of their assigned seats.
Selected or not selected to serve as a juror
If selected to serve on the jury, each juror will be sworn in and required to serve for the length of the trial.
Trials can vary in length from one to two weeks depending on the case.
If not selected for a jury, your jury service is completed and you will be excused to leave.
Once excused from the courtroom, you can check out at the juror reporting room and you will receive your proof of attendance.
According to Sacramento County Superior Court, proof of attendance will be given for the dates you were required to report to the courtroom.
After that, you are free to leave and await the next jury summons.