Erie County, Pennsylvania
Frequently Asked Questions
Contacting the Jury Office:
How can I reach the Erie County Jury Office?
The Jury Office is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During business hours, jurors may call (814) 451-6059 to speak with a Jury Coordinator. The Jury Office fax number is (814) 451-7699. The Jury Office address is:Erie County Courthouse Room 207 140 West Sixth Street Erie, PA 16501
Who may be called to serve as a juror?
The service you will be performing as jurors in the Court is the cornerstone of our judicial system. It is a vital duty of every citizen, an absolute essential to our form of democratic society. Without it our system of justice could be ruled by oppression or engulfed in anarchy. Fulfilling your obligation as a juror ensures your fellow citizens of a fair decision regarding their property rights, or their life and liberty.
How was my name selected for jury duty?
The process of selecting jurors began many months ago when a computer randomly chose your name from a list of over 215,000 registered voters in the County and from the statewide drivers' license list. Some people were exempted by law from this duty and others were excused because of medical or other reasons. For many of you, serving as a juror is an inconvenience and a sacrifice. However, the success of the jury system depends upon your willingness to serve. Your contribution is important not only to the community but also to you personally, since our form of society is only as strong as its system of justice. Your participation as a juror will leave you with firsthand knowledge of the judicial branch of government. You will find most trials extremely interesting and will feel gratified to have taken part in a real-life situation of great significance to your fellow citizens. You should take pride in helping to preserve and strengthen our system of justice.
Why have some people never been called for jury service and I've been called more than once?
Selection is a random computer process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times.
Will I be automatically exempted from jury service if I am a doctor, lawyer, dentist or school teacher?
No. Jury service is a civic obligation that we all have. No one is automatically excused because of their occupation. Many doctors, lawyers, dentists and school teachers have served as jurors in Erie County. Not even the judges themselves are exempt from jury duty.
How long will I have to serve?
Let us now clear up a few misconceptions you may have about jury duty and alert you to some of the rules of conduct each juror must follow during a trial. Court usually begins at 9:30 a.m. and adjourns at approximately 4:30 p.m. each day, unless you are instructed differently. It is important to be on time since many people are dependent upon your actions. Your length of service is for one day or one trial. If you are chosen to serve as a juror in a trial, you will return each day to hear the case until it is completed. The trial may be carried over into the following week in which event jurors are usually notified in advance. However, if you are not chosen to serve on a panel by the end of the day, your juror obligation has been completed and you will be excused. Jurors normally are not required to remain overnight.
What can I expect if I am required to report?
You will be greeted by jury personnel in Room 211, Second Floor of the Erie County Courthouse, who will check you in. A brief orientation will be provided advising you of the jury selection procedures. During the jury selection you will be told about the length of the trial. Any conflicts that you may have will be addressed during jury selection.
What time will I arrive and leave?
The normal business hours for the court are 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. You may be required to report at a different time, the phone call system or web-site will advise you of the specific time to report if your services are required. If you are seated on a trial, you may serve later than 4:30 p.m. You can expect to recess for a morning and afternoon break, as well as lunch.
What is the telephone call-in procedure?
There are times where trials may be continued or resolved. To VERIFY if your Appearance is required, and for additional information, please CALL the automated phone system at 814-451-6390 any time after 5:00 P.M. the day before your appearance date. Please listen carefully and follow all instructions.
How much do I get paid for jury duty?
According to PA law, jurors are paid $9.00 per day for the first three days of jury service and $25.00 per day for every day thereafter. Pa law also calls for payment of mileage at the rate of .17 cents per mile. Mileage is calculated from the Erie County Courthouse to the physical address of the juror. Your juror payment will be mailed to you within 6-9 weeks of your service date.
Does my employer have to pay me while I am serving on jury duty?
Pa law does not require an employer to compensate an employee for jury service. Check with your employer for their individual policy.
What happens if a person ignores a summons or fails to report for jury service?
The law provides that such conduct is Contempt of Court, punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
Is there an exemption due to my age?
PA Law does not exclude persons due to their age. However, jurors over the age of 75 may be excused upon request.
Why do I have to wait until the night before to find out if I have to report?
The number of jurors needed by the court changes daily. An adequate number of jurors must be summoned each day to cover potential trials. We try to summon as few jurors as possible. In the past, all jurors summoned where required to report to the Courthouse each day and then were sent home if they were not needed. As a convenience to jurors, we established the call-in system to avoid an unnecessary trip to the Courthouse.
What should I do if being a juror at the time would create a hardship for me?
Only those persons for whom jury service would be an extreme hardship may be excused. Should you need to be excused from jury duty or have your jury duty postponed, YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST IN WRITING to the Jury Coordinator, Erie County Courthouse, 140 West 6 Street, Room 207, Erie, PA 16501. Please include your jury summons number and service date with your correspondence.
What if I have a disability?
Access to jury service is available to all persons as required by the ADA Act of 1990. If you are a person with a disability and are in need of accommodations; please call (814) 451-6301 no later than seven days prior to your appearance date.
Where do I park when I report for jury duty?
Please, remember to park at a City of Erie Parking Authority ramp and bring your ramp ticket with you. There is one ramp available for you at a discount of $3.50. The ramp is located on Peach Street between 7th and 8th Street on the left hand side.
What if I have an emergency on the day that I am to report?
If there is a sudden illness or emergency which will prevent you for appearing on your service date, please call the Jury Coordinators Office at (814) 451-6059 after 8:00 a.m.
What should I wear?
Dress should be comfortable, business casual. Shorts, tank tops, etc. are prohibited.
Will I have to go through any security measures when I enter the Courthouse?
Yes, all persons entering the Courthouse are subject to a security search and will be required to pass through a metal detector. Please do not bring any sharp objects with you, for example: scissors, pen knives, and knitting needles when reporting for jury duty.
Do you provide childcare while serving as a juror?
Childcare is not provided at the Erie County Courthouse. Jurors are expected to arrange for childcare during their term of jury service.
What should I bring when I report?
You should bring something to read during waiting periods. Magazines are provided in the Jury Assembly Room for your convenience.
Will I be able to use my cell phone, computer, or other electronic device while serving as a juror?
According to Pa law, jurors may not use a cell phone, computer, or other electronic device with communication capabilities while in attendance at trial or during deliberations. Jurors may not use these devices to obtain or disclose information about a case in which they have been chosen as prospective or selected jurors. Cell phones, computers, or other electronic devices may be used during breaks or recesses, but may never be used to obtain or disclose information about the case. NOTE: A juror who violates this rule may be found in contempt of court and sanctioned. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the confiscation of the electronic device.
What common court terms should I be aware of?
Legal concepts and court terms can be complex. The infographic below highlights a few of these important court terms or visit www.pacourts.us/learn to see our full legal glossary.