(Not Applicable to Grand Jurors)
Juror standby status, consistent with the objectives of the One Day/One Trial system, was created to minimize juror inconvenience and make more efficient use of jurors who are summonsed to serve. Most courthouses place jurors on Standby Status and require them to call a "Standby Telephone Number" at the courthouse after 3:00 p.m. on the business day before their reporting date to learn if they must report as scheduled. Trial jurors scheduled to appear at the Superior Courthouse at Post Office Square in Boston must report unless notified otherwise by mail. Those two courthouses do not use the Standby System.
HOW THE NUMBER OF PROSPECTIVE JURORS TO BRING IN IS DETERMINED
At each court most trials are scheduled well in advance. This lengthy lead time gives the parties involved in each case a sufficient period to prepare. However, as the time for trial draws near, the parties (for various reasons) often decide to resolve their issues, thus avoiding a trial. These resolutions occur with unpredictable frequency so courts' schedulers are unable to know preciciously the number of jurors to call in until the day before. Therefore, every day, in order to inconvenience the least number of people, the courts call in only enough jurors to meet their needs as determined by the individual jury trial session judges at 3 P.M. on the day before.
HOW THE STANDBY SYSTEM WORKS
1. Approximately seven to ten days before jurors are scheduled to appear they will receive a notice entitled:
Summons / Handbook Supplement
2. The middle section of this notice will indicate if they have been placed on "Standby Status." (If not, they must appear as scheduled.)
3. If they have been placed on "Standby Status" the Reminder Notice will provide them with a "Panel Number" of the panel to which they have been assigned, and a "Standby Telephone Number" at the courthouse to call.
4. After 3:00 p.m. on the business day immediately before they are scheduled to appear, they must call the Standby Telephone Number. The recorded message plays all night long. Recorded messages for jurors scheduled to report on Monday play from Friday at 3:00 p.m. throughout the weekend.
5. Their call will be answered by a machine which contains a recording that informs them whether all jurors need to appear, have been canceled, or which Groups, of all that have been scheduled, must report on the next business day and which do not.
6. If their Group is not called in, they do not have to appear. If their Group is called, they must appear as scheduled.
The effect of cancellation of juror service is that the person is no longer obligated to serve under that summons. However, that person, if called under another summons in the future must serve. The 3 year disqualification from having to serve again only applies to those people who have actually appeared at the courthouse, ready, willing, and able to serve.
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