Who has to serve on a jury?

Jurors must be between the ages of 18 and 70. Persons called to serve must fulfill this obligation unless a valid reason exists excusing them from duty. In addition to the age requirements, you must not be a convicted felon unless your civil rights have been restored. You must also be a resident of the county and fluent enough in English to understand the proceedings. Failure to appear for jury service when called is a misdemeanor. Generally jury service is for a two-week period, though you may be excused earlier. You could also serve on a trial that goes beyond the two week period.

Can I be called for jury duty while I am still in high school?

While you can be called to serve on a jury if you are 18 and still in high school, as a practical matter, the court system will usually postpone your service until the summer months. The same would apply to college students. You may contact the district court administrator or the jury clerk and request such a postponement.

How are names drawn for jury service?

Groups of citizens are selected at random from voter registration lists in order to achieve the broadest possible cross-section of the population. In some counties, names are also selected from driver’s license lists.

Do I get paid to serve on a jury?

Yes, but not very much. At the time of this writing, jurors are paid $20 for each day that they report to the courthouse, plus round-trip mileage from home to the courthouse at the rate of 54 cents per mile. If you are the normal care provider for a child or disabled family member, you may also be eligible for up to $40 per day for non-licensed daycare expenses, or $50 per day for licensed daycare expenses, by showing proof of actual expenses paid.

What if jury duty interferes with my job?

By law, your employer must allow you time off to serve on a jury. Minnesota statute prohibits any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned for jury service. Even though there is no law that says your employer must pay you while you serve on a jury, many employers are quite accommodating. To avoid jury duty, you must demonstrate a severe financial hardship resulting from service. Again, if you believe it would cause you a severe financial hardship, you should contact the district court administrator or jury clerk.

What if I have strong opinions and feelings about something at issue in the trial?

This should be disclosed by you either voluntarily or in response to questioning by the judge or attorneys during the selection of jurors to hear a particular case. The judge or attorneys will determine whether those strong opinions or feelings prevent you from being on that particular jury.