Courts - Jury Duty

Find questions and answers regarding many different topics here.

Due to the number of people summoned for jury duty, please plan to arrive early as parking is limited.
For information on parking, click here. Parking lots located furthest from the Franklin County Courthouse, as shown on the map, are an estimaged 8-10 minute walk.

All trials are conducted in the Franklin County Courthouse located in Chambersburg. Please review your printed notice for the location of where to enter the Courthouse at 14 North Main Street directly off Memorial Square.

Review your notice for the time you are to report.  Most notices are for 8:30 a.m., unless otherwise printed.

You will be given a numbered ID badge.  Display this on your outer garment during your service as a juror. This badge identifies you as a juror and will be collected following your service. It also helps prevent unwanted contact with clients, attorneys and witnesses.

Please report for duty promptly at the time indicated on your jury notice.

There is no prescribed dress code for jurors except that the dress of any juror should not detract from the dignity of the Court.  Women may wear slacks or pants outfits; provided they are appropriate for the courtroom. Men should dress conservatively. Coats and ties are encouraged but not required. Often it is a good idea to wear something that can be easily removed or put on should you get cold or warm depending on your comfort level.

Keep in mind that the parties in any case look to the jurors for justice, so respect and professionalism help to establish faith in the system.

Although you are summoned as juror for a trial term lasting approximately two months, please note that you could be selected to serve on multiple juries on any date(s) in those two months. An effort is made to limit each juror’s service to one trial, but the possibility exists that you could serve on more than one case. However, you will only have to report for jury duty on the day(s) scheduled for your trial(s). You will not have to come to the courthouse each day the entire trial term is in progress.  

Jury selection will take place on at least one day, but could take an additional day depending on the number of cases and/or time involved in selection.  

Both civil and criminal trials will be set on specific dates later in the trial term. The dates for individual trials will be announced before each jury is selected.

Anyone 18 years of age or older who is a United States citizen and resident of the county and who has not been convicted of a felony within the last five years.

A jury summons is a court order. If you ignore it, you are subject to arrest and prosecution.

Yes, $9 per day for the first three days and $25 per day thereafter, and mileage to and from the courthouse. These fees are set by the state legislature.

The law prohibits any employer from preventing an employee to serve as a juror. The law also prohibits an employer from depriving a juror of benefits because of jury service, such as requiring you to use vacation time to serve.

If you work for the government, your employer must pay you. If you work in the private sector, your employer does not have to pay you.

Yes, more people are called than actually serve because it is not always possible to estimate accurately the number of jurors who will be needed to serve each day.

Jurors almost always go home at the end of the day. Sequestration is a term used to describe jurors staying at a local hotel at the county’s expense during the trial. Sequestration occurs rarely.

Accommodations are available to people with disabilities. Call the court administrator to find out what accommodations are available in your county.

Telephone your county’s court administrator or the judge assigned to your case as soon as possible.

There is no limit on the number of times your name may be drawn for service. However, anyone who has served does not need to serve again for three years.

Jurors hear either criminal or civil cases. In criminal cases, a district attorney acting on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania prosecutes a case against an individual or entity accused of a crime. The district attorney is also referred to as the prosecutor. The person or entity accused of the crime is referred to as the defendant. In civil cases, an individual, entity or governmental agency brings a suit against another individual, entity or governmental agency. The party initiating the lawsuit is referred to as the plaintiff, and the party defending the suit is the defendant.
• Listen carefully to all evidence presented during trial.
• During deliberations, discuss the evidence with fellow jurors and decide what the facts are, based upon which witnesses and evidence you believe.
• Apply the law, as explained by the judge, to the facts, as determined by you.
• Do no independent research or investigation.
• Determine the money damages in some civil cases.
• In criminal cases, decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.  
• Arrive at a verdict.
• Make sure that all parties have a fair opportunity to present their case.
• Make sure the trial process proceeds in a proper manner.
• Instruct the jury on the applicable law.
• Decide the punishment in most criminal cases.
Jury selection begins when a name is randomly selected from voter and motor vehicle registration lists. Your county may elect to supplement the master list of prospective jurors by the inclusion of additional lists from other sources such as personal tax roles. Those selected are sent a summons, which is a court order stating the required time and place to appear.
The jury pool is composed of those people summoned to appear on a particular day. Juries are selected from the jury pool. In criminal cases the jury is made up of twelve jurors, except in the rare case of the parties agreeing to fewer. In civil cases, the jury can consist of as few as six jurors or as many as twelve. Alternate jurors may also be chosen to avoid unnecessary delays or expense in the event of the incapacity of a juror.

Voir dire is a French term that refers to the preliminary examination of an individual’s qualifications to be a juror. Voir dire is sometimes conducted by the judge and sometimes by the lawyers. The purpose is to find out whether any views held by the potential juror hinder his or her ability to act impartially. Therefore, it is very important to answer these questions honestly.

The judge explains the law and provides guidance on procedures to be followed in jury deliberations. One of the first things the jury does during deliberations is to choose a foreperson. The foreperson should make sure that each juror has a chance to speak; that each juror’s opinion is treated with respect; that the jury does not rush to come to a verdict; that jurors carefully listen to one another; and that they return a fair impartial verdict based upon the facts of the case.
In criminal cases, a unanimous jury is required to find the defendant guilty.  In civil cases, 5/6 of the jurors must be in agreement.
Once a jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson informs the court that the jury has reached a verdict, and the judge calls everyone back to the courtroom. The verdict will then be announced. After the verdict is announced and recorded, the jury has completed its duties and is discharged.
After discharge, jurors are permitted but not required to talk about the case.  Jurors are not permitted, however, to disclose what another juror said in the jury deliberation room. If anyone attempts to communicate with a juror regarding his or her role as a juror in a way that one feels is improper, the juror should report the incident to the court as soon as possible.