Phone: (415) 444-7120; Fax: (415) 444-7121
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 244
Office Hours: 8:30am - 4:00pm
What is a Jury Trial?
During a trial, the judicial officer serves as the Court's presiding officer and is the final authority on questions of law. The lawyers act as advocates for their clients. Jurors listen to opening statements and closing arguments presented by the lawyers and also learn about and weigh the evidence that is introduced during the trial. After hearing all of the evidence and arguments, jurors retire to a private room to begin their deliberations. The purpose of juror deliberations is to allow the jurors to make a decision about the questions presented in the case and then render a verdict.
Juries are called to hear two types of cases: civil and criminal.
"Overall, I enjoyed the experience and appreciated the first-hand, close-up look at how the justice system works."
Former Juror Howard H.
Selection of a Jury
When a jury trial is about to begin, the judicial officer requests a panel of prospective jurors to be sent to the courtroom from Jury Services so that the jury selection process can begin. After reporting to a courtroom, the prospective jurors are first asked to swear that they will truthfully answer all questions asked regarding their qualifications to serve as jurors in the case.
The law permits the judicial officer and attorneys to excuse individual jurors from service 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" - meaning that a reason is stated - or "peremptory" - meaning that no reason is required by the Court. The process of questioning and excusing jurors continues until 12 persons are chosen as jurors for the trial. Alternate jurors may also be selected. The judicial officer 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 complete, the jurors take an oath, promising to reach a verdict based only upon the evidence presented in the trial and the Court's instructions about the law.
The duty and responsibility of every juror is as important as the judicial officer's in making sure that justice is done. For more information regarding jury service in California, click here or watch the juror orientation video, Ideals Made Real.
"An amazing experience and I felt the case was interesting and timely."
Former Juror Suzanne S.
Below are links to important information jurors and prospective jurors need to know.