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Summoned for jury duty? Here's what you need to know in Northern California

Here are answers to some of the frequent questions that ABC10 viewers had regarding reporting for jury duty amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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As California continues to reopen, county courthouses around the state are resuming jury trials. 

But how do jurors keep themselves safe from coronavirus when inside a courtroom? We looked into how Northern California counties are handling jury service operations at this time.

Here are answers to some of the frequent questions that ABC10 viewers had regarding jury duty.

What if I'm in a high-risk group?

Courts are allowing jurors to postpone their service dates due to coronavirus concerns. Contact your Jury Commissioner’s Office if you do not feel comfortable serving at this time. 

In San Joaquin County, jurors may complete an online Confidential Juror Response Form where you can indicate if you are in a high-risk group prior to reporting for service in order to minimize the number of jurors at the courthouse. 

El Dorado County says postponements for all jurors with COVID-19 concerns are being granted at this time. 

Postponement periods vary by county. Summoned jurors in Sacramento and El Dorado counties will allow jurors to postpone their service up to 90 days, while Stanislaus County jurors will be allowed to defer their service up to 180 days.

El Dorado County Court Clerk Sonal Dillon said jurors can call or email their office with their requested postponement date if they need longer than 30 days. 

Can I postpone my jury date due to COVID-19 hardships?

You may contact your Jury Commissioner’s office in advance to defer your jury service. Prospective jurors may also request hardships due to COVID-19.

Sutter County Superior Courts said postponements for economic hardships related to COVID-19 like child care have been granted. Other economic hardships are considered on a case-by-case basis and could require judicial approval.

How are courts keeping jurors safe?

All courts are urging anyone sick to stay home and contact the jury office in advance. In addition to requiring masks, county courts are limiting the number of jurors into the courthouse, implementing physical distancing and enhancing sanitation. Sacramento and San Joaquin counties are doing temperature screenings prior to entering courtrooms.

Prospective jurors may be asked to report to larger alternate sites in order to maintain physical distancing guidelines, such as Placer County where jurors are to meet at Whitney High School’s theater. 

For more information on jury operations, visit your county court's website:

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