| ||Can I be excused if I have a mental or physical infirmity?|
The Court can consider the impact of your mental or physical infirmity on your capability to render efficient jury service and possibly excuse you from service, but this must always be established by a medical professional in writing, with the excuse submitted in writing to Court Administration.
| ||Can I be exempted from appearing for jury service based on religious reasons?|
Commonwealth laws do not expressly exempt a prospective juror based on religious reasons. Unless you have been excused for some other reason, you must report for jury service as directed. If you are selected as a potential juror for a trial, you may raise your religious objections to the presiding judge, who can consider your request at that time.
| ||Can I request a postponement, if I want to serve but the time conflicts with plans I already have?|
Yes, as long as you make your request two weeks prior to the date you are scheduled to report for service.
| ||Can my employer fire me for reporting for jury service?|
No. Pennsylvania law prohibits an employer from terminating or otherwise penalizing an employee because the employee serves as a juror.
| ||Do I have to pay for parking?|
Free parking is provided for jurors at the Race Horse Alley Parking Plaza located at 30 North Stratton Street in specified spaces only. When entering the garage proceed to the top level, you must park in any space 125 through 229.
If you choose to park elsewhere, you will be responsible for all parking costs.
| ||Do you provide daycare while I report for jury service?|
Adams County does not provide daycare at this time. Prospective jurors will be responsible for obtaining their own child care arrangements.
| ||Does my employer have to pay me while I am serving on jury duty?|
Pennsylvania law does not require an employer to compensate an employee for jury service. Please contact your company’s human resources department for their policy.
| ||How long will I have to serve when I appear?|
This depends on several factors. In Adams County, there are ten trial terms in a year; nine of those terms last two weeks, while the tenth term lasts one week. Typically speaking, jury selection is completed on the first day a prospective juror reports. If you are not selected to serve, your obligation for jury service for that term is complete. If you are selected to serve, it is possible that you could serve on up to three different trials during the trial term period. You will be instructed on the day you are selected of which days you will need to report back. The Court will make every attempt, if possible, to limit a juror’s service to no more than five days during the two week trial term.
| ||How much do I get paid for jury service?|
According to Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania law also calls for payment of mileage at the rate of 17 cents per mile. Mileage is determined using Google Maps or other similar mapping program.
| ||How was my name selected for jury service?|
Adams County uses the list of Adams County residents who are required to pay the Per Capita tax. Jurors are randomly selected by a computer program and summoned to appear for jury service.
| ||I made it through security. Now where do I go?|
On the first day of jury selection, Security will direct you to a Tipstaff (a member of the Court’s staff who assists with maintaining order in Court-controlled areas) stationed on the first floor. You will be escorted by the Tipstaff onto an elevator and taken to the Jury Assembly Room. If you are appearing at the Courthouse after being selected for a trial, you can take the public elevator to the fourth floor (unless you have been given specific instructions to report elsewhere).
| ||If there is inclement weather or the Courthouse closes when I am required to report for jury service?|
The Adams County Court utilizes local media to broadcast information regarding events that impact Court operations. If the Courthouse is closed for the day, you will not need to report and will not need to report until you receive further instructions, which may be part of the announcement released to the media. Otherwise, you will be contacted by Court Administration with additional instructions.
| ||Is there an age exemption?|
You must be at least 18 years of age to serve as a juror. There is no upper limit exemption written into the law. In Adams County, if you are 75 years of age or older, and expressly request in writing that you wish to be excused from serving on a jury, the Court will grant your request.
| ||Once I have served as a juror, do I ever have to serve again?|
Possibly. In Adams County, if you appear for jury selection and are not chosen, you may be considered again for random jury selection after one year. If you are selected and impaneled to serve on a jury, you may be considered again for random jury selection after three years.
If you served on a jury anywhere else within the last 3 years and you request to be excused after you have received notice to appear for jury selection, your request can be granted if you provide documented proof of service to Court Administration from the court for which you appeared for jury service.
| ||Since I am a professional can I automatically be exempted from appearing for jury service?|
Such as a (doctor/lawyer/dentist/police officer/teacher/private business owner/other profession).
Jury service is a civic obligation that we all have regardless of one’s occupation. Persons of various occupations have served as jurors in Adams County.
| ||What can happen if I ignore a summons to report for jury service and/or fail to report as directed?|
When a prospective juror fails to report as directed, Court Administration provides this information to the Court. A judge could find a prospective juror to be in contempt of court. A juror found in contempt of court may be fined and/or imprisoned. It is in your best interest to appear if you are summoned to avoid any further action.
| ||What can I bring with me?|
It is recommended that you bring reading material during jury selection. You should avoid bringing any sharp objects with you, for example: scissors, pen knives, and knitting needles (See Question #17). You may bring a laptop or other smart device, understanding that we provide neither the power nor the connectivity to use those devices. Additionally, you cannot bring those devices into the Courtroom, and under no circumstances can you discuss the jury selection process or the cases you may hear about through your devices (ie. no up-to-the-minute reports on Facebook through your iPhone about the activities you are witnessing).
| ||What can I do if reporting to serve as a juror would create a hardship for me?|
The Court will only consider requests of extreme hardship that are put in writing and submitted to Court Administration. There must be sufficient detail placed in the submission for the Court to consider an excusal. You will be notified in writing of the decision. If you have not received a response from the Court or Court Administration prior to the date of service, you must report as directed on the date of service.
| ||What does a jury do?|
A jury considers all of the evidence that has been properly admitted, determines the factual background of the case and applies to those facts the law, as explained by the Judge, in order to arrive at a verdict. During the course of a trial, the lawyers may confer with the Judge outside the jury's hearing to determine questions of law. These conferences are held to ensure that only proper evidence is presented to and considered by the jury. Sometimes the Judge will instruct the jury to disregard what has been said because the consideration of that evidence would be improper.
A juror must be able to follow the Judge’s instructions. The jury is the sole judge of the facts. In determining what the facts of the case are, the jury will have to decide what testimony to believe and the weight and effect of that testimony. Jurors should use common sense and knowledge of life in assessing credibility or believability of witnesses.
A juror's job begins the moment a witness takes the stand because the way a witness looks, testifies and conducts himself/herself may be important in your decision whether to believe or disbelieve the witness's testimony, in whole or in part. Additionally, you should assess a witness's accuracy of observation and recollection, apparent candor, fairness and any interest in the outcome of a case. The Judge will give you guidelines to aid you in accessing credibility.
Jurors may not take notes in criminal cases and may only take notes in civil cases where permitted by the Judge; therefore, it will be important for you to be alert and attentive because a verdict must be based upon a consideration of all the evidence. If a juror's recollection of the testimony differs from that of the lawyer's or that of the Judge, the jury is to disregard those recollections and proceed on his/her own recollections. The Judge's instruction as to the law, however, is binding on the jury and must be followed.
| ||What happens during a trial?|
The procedures in civil and criminal trials are very similar. At the beginning of the trial, lawyers make opening statements. Statements and arguments by lawyers are never evidence and their purpose is merely to inform the jury of anticipated evidence. Witnesses will then testify and evidence will be presented. Following the presentation of evidence the lawyers will make final arguments during which they urge conclusions favorable to the side they represent. The Judge will then give instructions to the jury concerning the law and the jury will retire to a separate room to consider the evidence and render a verdict.
| ||What is expected of me if I am selected to serve?|
The Court expects a juror to be sincere, honest, fair and impartial. If there is anything about a case that would make it difficult for you to render a fair and impartial verdict based solely on the evidence as presented in Court and in accordance with the instructions given by the Court, we expect you to tell the Court before you are selected for a case.
If you are selected, it is expected that you will avoid any outside influences and will report any attempts to wrongfully influence your decision. It is very important that any verdict be based only on properly admitted evidence. During your absence from the Courtroom before your final deliberations, do not speak to anyone (including fellow jurors) about the case or allow anyone to speak to you or in your presence about the case. Do not read anything in the newspaper about the case, listen to anything on the radio, watch anything on television or research the case on the internet. Avoid any situation which might call into question your ability, impartiality or fairness. Do not talk to the lawyers, parties or witnesses involved in a case until the trial is completed. Do not allow yourself to arrive at any premature conclusions about your verdict until you have been sent out by the presiding judge to deliberate.
While deliberating, be courteous and open minded. Consider the viewpoints of your fellow jurors. Exchange ideas. If you are convinced that your view is wrong, do not hesitate to change your mind. However, do not surrender an honest conclusion just because someone else has a different opinion or merely to finish your work and return with a verdict.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do not do so before or while serving as a juror. You may not be affected, but the mere fact that you smell of an alcoholic beverages may cause others to question your ability to serve competently.
| ||What qualifications do I need to have to serve as a juror?|
In addition to being at least 18 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Adams County, you must be able to read, write, speak and understand the English language, be capable to render efficient jury service, and not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (with some exceptions noted based on violations of the Vehicle Code).
| ||What should I wear?|
Please use good judgment and dress conservatively. It is suggested that you wear business casual attire that is comfortable and not extreme in style. This helps maintain the dignity of the judicial process. Shorts, tank tops and tee shirts would not be considered appropriate attire.
| ||What time do I need to arrive and what time will I leave?|
For the first day of jury selection, you will receive a summons with the time to report (typically 8:15 AM). Once jury selection is over and all juries have been impaneled on the first day, all participants will be excused for the day. If you have been selected to serve on a jury, you will be given specific instructions of the date and time to report back. Trials typically occur Monday through Friday during working hours (8:00 AM to 4:30 PM). However, there may be the rare occurrence when a trial will continue past 4:30 PM or, depending on the complexity, may require service on a weekend.
| ||What type of cases will I be hearing?|
There are two types of cases that you may hear: civil and criminal cases.
Civil cases involve disputes between parties in which a party is seeking some kind of legal relief. Although many civil cases involve matters of great community interest, a civil case essentially involves a private dispute between two or more parties. The burden of proof in a civil case is generally upon the plaintiff to prove entitlement to recovery by a fair weight or preponderance of the evidence. From time to time that burden will shift between the parties depending upon the issue being presented. Occasionally, in special cases a higher burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is required. A jury in a civil case may enter a verdict when 5/6 of the jury agree on the outcome.
A criminal case always involves a charge that the defendant violated a law. The case is prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office in the name of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The burden of proof in a criminal case is upon the Commonwealth to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant is presumed innocent and therefore is not required to prove innocence. A jury in a criminal case may only enter a verdict (guilty or not guilty) when all twelve jurors agree on the outcome.
| ||When can I expect to be paid for jury service?|
When the trial term has come to a conclusion, Court Administration will prepare a report with the names, addresses, dates of service and mileage for all participating jurors. This report is submitted to the Adams County Controller’s Office for payment. Processing may take 4-6 weeks.
| ||Where do I park when I report for jury service?|
Parking is provided for jurors at the Race Horse Alley Parking Plaza located at 30 North Stratton Street. The parking garage can be located as follows:
Coming south on Rte. 34: approaching the Square in Gettysburg you will cross the railroad tracks near Subway. Engage your turn signal and turn left into Race Horse Alley located between the Majestic Theatre and The Gettysburg Hotel. The parking plaza is on the left behind the theatre.
Coming west on the York Road (Rte. 30) or Hanover Road (Rte. 116): you will pass through a traffic light at York and Hanover Streets. At the next traffic light make a right turn onto Stratton Street. Immediately engage your turn signal and turn left into Race Horse Alley/ The parking plaza is straight ahead and to the right a short distance after you enter the alley.
Coming north on Business Rte. 15 and the Baltimore Pike: you will pass through a traffic light at the 1863 Inn. After proceeding through two more traffic lights you will reach the Square. Proceed around the Square half way and follow Carlisle Street. Upon entering Carlisle Street immediately engage your turn signal and turn right onto Race Horse Alley located between the Majestic Theatre and The Gettysburg Hotel. The parking plaza is on the left behind the theatre.
Coming east on the Chambersburg Road (Rte. 30): you will proceed to the Square, go three-quarters of the way around the Square and follow Carlisle Street. Immediately engage your turn signal and turn right onto Race Horse Alley located between the Majestic Theatre and The Gettysburg Hotel. The parking plaza is on the left behind the theatre.
| ||Who do I contact if I have questions regarding jury service?|
Donna Cassatt, Deputy Court Administrator
Adams County Court Administration
Adams County Courthouse
117 Baltimore Street, 4th Floor
Gettysburg, PA 17325
| ||Who may be called to serve as a juror in Adams County?|
You may be called to serve if you are at least 18 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Adams County.
| ||Why have some people never been called for jury service and I’ve been called more than once?|
Selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times.