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SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA COUNTY OF INYO
     

 

Jury Duty

This web-site is designed for jurors, employers and the public to use to find useful information about California's jury system.  The links below provide specific information regarding  information for employers regarding employer obligations, frequently asked questions, as well as detailed information on the trial process.  As a juror, you play an essential role in the American system of justice.  You do not need any special skills or legal knowledge to be a juror.  You do need to keep an open mind and be willing to make decisions free of personal feelings and biases.  As a juror, you will listen to opening statements and closing arguments for both sides.  You will also learn about and weigh the evidence that has been collected for the trial.  Then you will be asked to make a decision about the case after you have talked it over with the other jurors during deliberations.  During the trial, the judge serves as the court's presiding officer and as the final authority on the law.  The lawyers act as advocates for their sides of the case.  As a juror, you are responsible for impartially evaluating the facts presented and for applying the law to these facts as the judge instructs you.  These combined efforts bring about the fair and impartial administration of justice in our state and nation.

Current Jury Trials

Monday, October 27, 2014 @ 9:00 a.m. - Independence-CANCELLED

Monday, November 3, 2014 @ 9:00 a.m. - Independence-PENDING

Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 9:00 a.m. - IndependencE-PENDING



Respective Jurors need to check by phone the day before and the morning of the trial to confirm the status of the jury trial.

If you have any questions, please contact the Jury Clerk at (760) 872-3038 and press option 4, then option 1 or call (760) 872-2859.

The Basics

All U.S. citizens who are over the age of 18, a resident of the county that issued the jury summons, and able to understand the English language are eligible to serve on a jury in the state of California.  A person is disqualified or excused if he or she is a felon, nonresident, non-citizen, under a conservatorship, or a peace officer.  If you fall into one of these categories, contact your jury office in writing to explain your situation.  Once you have received a jury summons, read the instructions carefully.  There will be a phone number on the summons.  If you have any questions, contact the jury office of the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo.  Be sure to bring your summons with you when your report to court.

Postponing Service and Excuses for Undue Hardship

If you are unable to serve during the time requested on your summons, contact the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo jury office to ask for a one-time postponement.  You can ask for a postponement until a reasonable time in the future when you can arrange your schedule so that jury service is convenient for you.  You may have to appear at the courthouse in order to tell the judge the reasons why you cannot serve.  Please be prepared to come to court at the time and place the summons says.  In certain serious cases, the jury commissioner or the judge may excuse you for up to one year.  These are called undue hardship cases.  If you have a personal situation that stops you from being able to serve, submit your reason in writing attach to a copy of your summons and mail it back to the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo jury office.  When listing reasons such as medical, job, or dependent care issues, be prepared to receive a postponement and not an excuse.  If your request is for medical reasons, please attach a note from your doctor explaining the extent of you medical condition.

Job and School

Your employer must allow you time off to serve on a jury.  This is the law. Section 230 of the California Labor Code is intended to prevent any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned for jury service and who has given reasonable notice of when the employee is to serve.  Notice is generally considered reasonable if it is given as soon as possible once the employee has been summoned.  The California Education Code (§§ 44037 and 8 7036) and Rule of Court 5.5(d)(7) protect teachers, other school employees, and students as well.  If you are harassed or fired, contact your local jury office or the judge assigned to your trial.  If your employer has harassed you because of your service on a jury, contact the Department of Industrial Relation's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.  You must complete a complaint form and turn it in to the Labor Board within six months from when the harassment happened.  Remember to keep any certificate issued by the judge to prove that you served and for your employer's records.

Juror Fees

California allows payment of $15 a day for second and subsequent days of service plus mileage of 34 cents per mile (based on the current California state reimbursement rate), one way, for mileage (Code Civil. Proc., § 215).  For reimbursement, ask your local jury office or the bailiff in the courtroom for more specific information for your local court.  Although this is only a fraction of the cost of each juror's time, the courts are working with the Legislature and the Governor to increase juror fees.

Employers

For our jury system to work, it is essential that the courts and employers form a partnership to ensure that all citizens are available to serve on juries when called.  Without cooperation from the business community, our system would come to a halt.  This is an outcome a democratic society cannot afford.  We would lose a fundamental principle upon which we, private and corporate citizens alike, depend.  The importance of your participation cannot be emphasized enough.  Cooperation from employers strengthens the jury system.  Businesses frequently benefit directly from our legal system.  The civil litigation system in particular is filled with a variety of business-related disputes.  These include actions concerning contracts, wrongful termination, product defects, environmental issues, malpractice, and intellectual fraud.  While employers have valid concerns about how jury service affects their employees and resources, it is important that they understand the length of time employees may need to be absent.  Employers and businesses are encouraged to support the jury system by paying employees while they are serving as jurors.  In order for society to benefit from fair and open trials, we need to make it easier for citizens to report for jury service.  Many citizens cannot afford to serve if they will lose their salaries or wages during jury service.  In recent years, far too many jurors have asked to be excused from service because the loss of income they would suffer creates a financial hardship.  On the other hand, when the number of jurors claiming financial hardship decreases, a much broader cross-section of society will be free to serve.  This will create juries that are truly representative and reflective of our society.  By agreeing to compensate employees during jury service, not only will employers continue to enjoy the benefits of the jury system, but they will also contribute toward its improvement.  State law does not currently require employers to continue paying the salary of employees who are absent because of jury service.  Many employers, however, including state, federal, and many local governmental agencies, have a policy of compensating employees for at least part, if not all, of the time spent for jury service.  If employers do pay, they have the right to require employees to remit to them the fees received for jury service.  As the employer, you must allow an employee time off to serve on a jury.  The California Labor Code (§ 230) outlaws any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned to court to serve as a juror.  The California Education Code (§ 44037 and § 87036) and Rule of Court 5.5(d)(7) protect teachers and students as well.  Employees who are harassed or fired can file a claim with the Labor Board. Employers can also be prosecuted criminally and face a misdemeanor charge if found guilty.  The implementation of one-day/one-trial jury service has helped reduce the uncertainty of when employees can return to work.  Studies have shown that with a one-day/one-trial system, the majority of employees return to work the next day after reporting for jury service.

Trial Process

Selection of a Jury - When a jury trial is about to begin, the trial court judge requests a panel of prospective jurors to be sent to the courtroom from the jury assembly room so that the jury selection process can begin.  After reporting to a courtroom, the prospective jurors are first required to swear that they will truthfully answer all questions asked about their qualifications to serve as jurors in the case.  The perjury admonishment, which basically requires potential jurors to tell the truth when answering the questions, is read as follows:  "Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will accurately and truthfully answer, under penalty of perjury, all questions propounded to you concerning your qualifications and competency to serve as a trial juror in the matter pending before this court, and that failure to do so may subject you to criminal prosecution?"  The court clerk calls 12 or more jurors to take seats in the jury box. The judge speaks to the jurors, telling them the names of the people involved in the case and their attorneys and stating what the case is about.  The judge and the attorneys ask jurors questions to determine if the jurors are free of bias (prejudice) or whether there is any other reason why any of them cannot be fair and impartial; this process is called voir dire.  It is important to ask questions if you do not understand a question.  Also, each juror is obligated to follow the law as explained by the judge; if you can not follow the law, you need to let the judge know.  The law lets the judge and the lawyers excuse individual jurors from service in a particular case for various reasons.  If a lawyer wants to have a juror excused, he or she must use a "challenge" to excuse the juror.  Challenges can be for cause or peremptory.  There are unlimited challenges for cause and 10 in criminal cases (20 in death penalty) and 6 in civil cases (Code of Civil Procedure sec. 231).  The process of questioning and excusing jurors continues until 12 persons are accepted as jurors for the trial.  Alternate jurors may also be selected.  The judge and attorneys agree that these jurors are qualified to decide impartially and intelligently the factual issues in the case.  When the selection of the jury is completed, the jurors take the following oath:  "Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will well and truly try the cause now pending before this court, and a true verdict render according only to the evidence presented to you and to the instructions of the court?"  As a juror you should think seriously about the oath before taking it.  The oath means you give your word to reach your verdict upon only the evidence presented in the trial and the court's instructions about the law.  You cannot consider any other evidence or instruction other than those given by the court in the case before you.  Remember that your role as a juror is as important as the judge's in making sure that justice is done.

The Trial - Do not talk to other about the case, this responsibility requires that you not talk at all with the lawyers, witnesses, or anyone else connected with the case.  The lawyers understand this rule.  You will find that, even at the risk of seeming rude or unfriendly, the lawyers must avoid even casual conversation with you.  In order to prevent even the appearance of improper conversation, a wise policy for you to follow is to avoid any contact with the lawyers or the parties.  You also cannot talk to anybody about the case.  There are important reasons for this: all cases must be decided only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.  If you were to discuss the facts of the case or your impressions of it with your family, friends, or with any other person, you might hear their ideas and might be influenced by people who do not know all the facts.  If you believe that someone has tried to speak to you about the case, you must report what happened to the judge by contacting the bailiff immediately.  Do not make up your own mind before hearing all the evidence, it is also your duty not to form or express an opinion about the case to anyone.  This means that you keep an open mind until you have heard the evidence from all sides and the case is given to the jury for deliberation.  Only then may you discuss it with your fellow jurors and even then only when all jurors are present.  Do not conduct your own investigation of the case, it would also be a violation of your duty as a juror to conduct any investigation of the case.  As a juror you must not become an amateur detective.  For example, you must not visit the scene of an accident, an alleged crime, or any event or transaction involved in the case.  You should not conduct experiments or consult any other person or reference works for additional information.  If the judge feels that an inspection of a place is necessary or will be helpful, he or she will arrange and supervise an inspection by the whole jury.  If you have a question about the evidence, let the judge know by handing a note to the bailiff and he or she will make a decision about your question.  As the trial begins, the lawyer for the plaintiff in a civil case or the prosecutor in a criminal case may make an opening statement telling you what they expect the evidence to show.  The defendant's lawyer may also choose to give an opening statement after the plaintiff's attorney or prosecutor, telling you what the defense expects the evidence to show.  The lawyers' statements are not evidence.  Their purpose is to give you the framework of the case, the points of conflict, and the issues of the case that you will need to decide.  Be careful that you do not let any of the information presented in the opening statements become evidence in your mind.  Remember that the lawyers' statements are only their versions of what happened, not evidence.  Evidence may be presented by the attorneys in the form of a written document or an object (a gun, another weapon, a photograph, an x-ray, or some other physical thing).  These are called exhibits.  Evidence may also include the testimony of witnesses under oath in the courtroom.  After all the evidence has been reviewed in court, lawyers for each side may present their final summary of the case, sometimes referred to as an argument.  The lawyers can talk about reasons and make conclusions, but these are not evidence; they are efforts to persuade you.  You should listen to these statements carefully and consider them thoughtfully, but you must form your own opinion about the outcome of the case.

The Judge's Instructions on the Law - Either before or after the closing arguments by the lawyers, the judge will explain the law that applies to the case to you.  This is the judge's instruction to the jury.  You have to apply that law to the facts, as you have heard them, in arriving at your verdict.  You must consider all of the instructions and give them equal consideration.  Keep in mind that you must follow the law as the judge states it to you.  If the judge gives you an instruction that seems different from what you read here or another instruction given at another trial, you must accept the instruction given by the judge of the case you are deciding as correct and be guided by the judge's statement only.  Be sure to ask questions if you don't understand.  When considering the evidence, an important difference exists between civil and criminal cases in the degree of proof required to sustain an accusation.  In a criminal case, the defendant, in order to be convicted, must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a civil case, a party suing another has to prove that charge by a preponderance of the evidence.  In every trial, the judge carefully explains the degree of proof required to reach a verdict.  You should pay careful attention to the instructions on the degree of proof.

Deliberation by the Jury - After closing arguments by the attorneys and the judge's instructions on the law, the bailiff or court attendant will take you to the jury room for deliberations.  Your first duty when entering the jury room is to select a foreperson.  The jury should carefully select a well-qualified foreperson.  The foreperson's duty is to see that discussion happens in a free and orderly manner, that the issues you must decide are fully and freely discussed, and that every juror is given an opportunity to participate.  After you enter the jury room for deliberations, the exhibits that you are to consider are given to you.  If you are not given written instructions from the judge on the law, you may request them.  If you feel you need further instructions or to have certain testimony read back to you, inform the judge through the bailiff or the court attendant.  Since these purposes can be accomplished only by returning everyone (including parties and lawyers) to the courtroom, you should not make these requests lightly.  The procedure usually takes time, but this delay is understandable if you seriously believe doing so is necessary or helpful to you in reaching a verdict.  There is a booklet, "Behind Closed Doors" that can assist jurors with the format of their deliberation.  It is published by the American Judicature Society.  Quite often in the jury room the jurors may argue and have a difference of opinion.  When this occurs, each juror should try to express his or her opinion and the reasoning supporting it.  It would be wrong for a juror to refuse to listen to the arguments and opinions of the others or to deny another juror the right to express an opinion.  Remember that jurors are not advocates, but impartial judges of the facts.  By carefully considering each juror's opinion and the reasons behind it, it is usually possible for the jurors to reach a verdict.  A juror should not hesitate to change his or her mind when there is a good reason.  But each juror should maintain his or her position unless conscientiously persuaded to change that opinion by the other jurors.  Following a full and free discussion with fellow jurors, each juror should vote only according to his or her own honest convictions.

The Verdict - In your efforts to reach a verdict, keep in mind that you should consider only the evidence that was presented in the courtroom.  You should not guess or speculate about things not discussed in court, but you can draw reasonable conclusions from the evidence presented.  It is important to take the case you are deciding seriously.  After all, if you were a party in the case, it would be important to you, and you would want the jury to give it serious consideration even if the controversy appears less significant to others.  All jurors should deliberate and vote on each issue to be decided in the case.  When it is time to count votes, it is the foreperson's duty to see that this is done properly.  In a civil case, the judge will tell you how many jurors must agree in order to reach a verdict.  In a criminal case, the unanimous agreement of all 12 jurors is required.  If the required number of jurors agree on each issue to be decided, the foreperson will sign and date the verdict, advise the bailiff or court attendant, and return with the signed verdict and any unsigned verdict forms from prior votes to the courtroom.  If a jury cannot arrive at a verdict within a reasonable time and indicates to the judge that there is no possibility that they can reach a verdict, the judge, in his or her discretion, may dismiss the jury.  This situation is a mistrial, sometimes referred to as a "hung jury," and may mean the case goes to trial again with a new jury.

 

 

 

 

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Official Payments Corporation charges a convenience fee to use this service to make the payment.  This charge is payable to Official Payments and is separate from the primary obligation you will pay the Court.

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If you are coming to the Court and require accommodations due to a disability, please contact:

ADA Coordinator/Access
Lindsay Eropkin, Court Operations
voice: (760) 872-4518
fax: (760) 872-4984
lindsay.eropkin@inyocourt.ca.gov

The Court requires notification in advance of your appearance, or visit to the Court, to be sure the services you might request, such as sign language interpretation, assisted listening devices, courtroom accessibility or other assistance are available.  Please contact the ADA Coordinator as soon as possible to begin the process of insuring your access to the Court.

If you would like to  access the optional Judicial Council form please click on MC-410, Request for Accommodations by Persons with Disabilities and Order.

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No conformed copies of documents filed with the clerk's office will be returned by mail unless a self addressed, stamped envelope is provided at the time of filing.  Inyo County Superior Court does not accept payment by credit card at this time.The staff is prohibited by law from rendering legal assistance or advice in court proceedings (GC 24004, 68082). Persons appearing on their own behalf (in propria persona) are responsible for preparing and presenting their pleadings in complete and proper form without legal assistance from deputies of the Clerks Office. Questions pertaining to legal matters or the proper completion of the appropriate forms should be answered by an attorney.  Attorneys of record are required to include California State Bar numbers on all pleadings (CRC 201).

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