Am I Qualified?
- The law identifies ten specific reasons a person is disqualified from jury service, and they are listed in the "Juror Instructions and Information" brochure that came with your summons (to see your version: Trial Jurors click here , Grand Jurors click here).
- Unless you meet the requirements of one of these ten statutory reasons, the OJC has no authority to disqualify you from service. However, when you report for jury duty at the courthouse, a judge may excuse you from service if you can explain why sitting on a particular jury would be a hardship for you.
- If you believe you are disqualified from jury service, you are required to provide some information about your disqualification in writing, which you can do online at juryduty.MAjury.gov or by completing the Juror Confirmation Form that is attached to your summons (for more information: Trial Jurors click here, Grand Jurors click here).
- If you are requesting a medical or caregiver disqualification, you will have to provide a doctor’s certification.
The ten reasons for disqualification, and the written proof required to support some of them, are as follows:
- REASON 1: You are not a U.S. Citizen.
Provide your alien card identification number, visa status, or any other pertinent information.
- REASON 2: You are age 70 or older & choose not to serve.
Provide your date of birth.
- REASON 3: You are under age 18.
Provide your date of birth.
- REASON 4: You cannot speak and understand English.
Provide your primary language.
- REASON 5: You have moved permanently outside the county.
Provide your new address.
- REASON 6: You are living full-time outside of the county and will not return at any time for more than 1 year.
Provide a brief explanation, e.g., active military service, medical internship. Include your out-of-state address.
- REASON 7: You were convicted of a felony within the past 7 years, or are currently charged with a felony, or are currently in custody.
Provide the specific charge and date of conviction, if applicable. If in doubt, check with the court to learn if your charge or conviction was for a felony or a misdemeanor.
- REASON 8: You appeared for jury service within the past 3 years, or are currently scheduled for juror service on another summons.
Provide the date(s) and place(s) of prior or currently scheduled jury service. Note: This does not include jurors who were previously summoned but were cancelled by mail or phone and were not required to appear at court.
- REASON 9: You are physically or mentally incapable of performing jury duty.
Provide a note from a doctor or Christian Science Practitioner describing the nature of your illness or disability (doctors should read our Guidelines page).
The note must:
- be written on letterhead and include your Badge Number;
- state the nature of the disability (the specific diagnosis or condition is not required); and
- include the physician's opinion that such disability prevents you from rendering satisfactory jury service. If the disability is permanent, the note must include the physician's opinion that the disability will permanently prevent you from rendering satisfactory jury service.
Guidelines: A person shall be capable of performing jury duty if he or she can perform a sedentary job requiring close attention for 6 hours a day, with breaks in the morning and afternoon, for 3 consecutive days.
- REASON 10: You are the primary caregiver for a permanently disabled person who is a member of the same household.
Provide a note from a doctor or Christian Science Practitioner describing the kind of care you provide and the doctor's opinion on the risk to the health of the disabled person if you are absent (doctors should read our Guidelines page). Please note that you are not eligible for disqualification as a primary caregiver if you regularly employed outside the home.
- Many people assume that the OJC has access to information showing that they are disqualified, such as citizenship records, Social Security medical information, and the like. However, due to state and federal privacy laws, the OJC does not have access to most other government records.
- Also, a potential juror’s situation can change from year to year. For example, although you may have submitted proof of non-citizenship last year, you might become a citizen this year and be eligible for jury service.
- In order to avoid the possibility of depriving a citizen of the right to participate in the administration of justice, the OJC summonses all potentially eligible jurors and relies on those who are not qualified to document their disqualification online or by mail, using the Juror Confirmation Form.
People who are not disqualified
- There are no exemptions or occupational disqualifications in Massachusetts, in order to ensure that juries are drawn from as broad and diverse a group of citizens as possible.
- Before the One Day or One Trial system was implemented in the 1980s, there were a number of exemptions such as doctors and nurses, members of the clergy, parents of small children, legislators, and others. However, many people in these categories are very able to serve, and should not be excluded on the basis of their occupation or some other over-broad category.
- You may have a reason to be excused from jury service on the basis of your personal situation, but only a judge can excuse you from service (the OJC only has authority to disqualify jurors, based on one of the ten statutory disqualification reasons listed above).
- You should report to court on the day you are summoned to appear and if you are being considered for impanelment on a jury, you will have an opportunity to explain to the judge if there is a particular reason that serving on the jury would be a hardship for you.
- The OJC receives many questions from people in the following categories, asking if they have to report for service. The answer is yes, you must report for service, and speak to the judge if you feel you should be excused from service. (You will be disqualified from jury service for three years after you report for service, even if you do not sit on a jury.)
- A sample of who must serve:
- Doctors , nurses, lawyers, judges
- Students, even if they are residents of another state (as long as they live in Massachusetts for 50% of the year)
- Parents of young children
- Police officers, firefighters
- Self-employed persons
- Members of the clergy
- People with medical conditions that do not prevent them from serving
- A sample of who must serve:
People who cannot report to the courthouse
- In very rare cases, people for whom it would be an extreme hardship to come to the courthouse at all may submit a written request to be excused under OJC Regulation 9.
- This is not to be confused with people for whom it would be a hardship to serve as a juror on a trial. Regulation 9 only applies to people for whom it would be an extreme hardship to appear at the courthouse at all.
- Common difficulties such as inconvenience, lack of childcare or business obligations do not qualify for this exception under Regulation 9. Rather, Regulation 9 applies to cases such as people living in religious orders that restrict outside travel, or those who can document rare medical conditions that prevent them from leaving their homes at any time.
- If you believe you qualify for an extreme hardship disqualification under Regulation 9, you must document your circumstances in a writing signed by you and submit it to:
Office of Jury Commissioner
560 Harrison Avenue, Suite 600
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
- You should submit your signed, written request at least 30 days before your date of service to allow time for review, action, and notification of decision.