Commonwealth of Massachusetts
OFFICE OF JURY COMMISSIONER
GRAND JUROR INSTRUCTIONS
Containing Information About:
- Completing the Juror Confirmation Form
- Qualifications and Disqualifications
- Parents, Students, Self-Employed Jurors
YOU CAN RESPOND ONLINE OR GET MORE MORE INFORMATION AT www.MAjury.gov
(Your Badge Number and PIN will be required to log in)
A FEW THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JURY DUTY...
In order to be a juror, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, and speak and understand English.
You must live in the county in which you have been called to serve, and you cannot have served in the last 3 years.
Please review the Reasons For Disqualification below this section for more information.
WHAT IS A GRAND JURY
The grand jury hears evidence presented by a prosecutor. It does not determine guilt or innocence, but instead it determines if there is enough evidence to indict or charge a person or corporation with a crime. A grand jury consists of 23 people as compared with the 6 or 12 people who comprise a trial jury. The length of grand juror service varies and depends upon the number of pending criminal matters that are brought before it. A grand jury usually sits sporadically for 3 months, meeting as often as required. Scheduling varies from county to county.
Because grand juries are convened at only one site within each judicial district, grand jurors may not change their court location.
If you have a hardship, you may request deferment of your date of service to a different date within 12 months of your originally scheduled date. To request a deferment, complete Section 3A of the Grand Juror Confirmation Form or the appropriate section of the Form online. Prospective grand jurors may request deferment of their service to either January, April, July, or October (most grand juries are convened only during those months). You must provide a detailed explanation of your hardship.
MAP & DIRECTIONS
You will receive a map and directions to the courthouse about ten days before you are to serve. Maps, directions, and other information about your courthouse are also available online.
By law, your Massachusetts employer must pay you for work hours you miss during the first three days of jury service. This applies to all employees: full-time, part-time, temporary and casual. Failure to compensate employees is a crime. Please consult with your employer regarding its compensation policy and complete the Grand Juror Confidential Financial Questionnaire so that the amount of compensation you receive from the Commonwealth (maximum of $50 per day) for each day after your 3rd day of service may be determined.
RESIDENTS / INHABITANTS / STUDENTS
Regardless of whether you are a registered voter, you are qualified to serve if you are a resident of a county OR an inhabitant of a county for more than 50% of the time, unless you are disqualified pursuant to the REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION below. Examples: (1) Students who study in Massachusetts (inhabitants) must serve, even if they are residents of another state; (2) Students who live in one Massachusetts county (residents) but study in another (inhabitants) can be summoned to serve in either county; (3) Massachusetts residents who study out of state must serve in their home county when they return to Massachusetts.
STUDENTS / PARENTS / CHILDCARE
There are no exemptions from grand jury service. Everyone is eligible, including students and parents of young children. Only a judge can excuse you from service for hardship. If you are seeking to be excused for hardship, you must report to the courthouse on your scheduled date of service and speak with a judge. Remember: you can postpone your service for up to a year to minimize conflicts with your academic schedule, childcare responsibilities, or other personal issues.
If you are ill or disabled, you may request a deferment of your date of service or request to be disqualified from service. If you seek disqualification, please see REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION, REASON 9 below.
If you are 70 or older, you may choose to serve or not. If you choose not to serve, please complete the Grand Juror Confirmation Form online, or by mail as follows: #2A: fill in Circle 2. #2B: provide your date of birth. #7: sign your name, and mail. If you are under 18, follow the same procedure but fill in Circle 3.
There are no occupational exemptions from jury service. Everyone is eligible, including the self-employed. Only a judge can excuse you from service for hardship. If you are seeking to be excused for hardship, you must report to the courthouse on your scheduled date of service and speak with a judge. You can request a deferment of your service to minimize conflicts with your schedule.
If you have been convicted of a felony within the last 7 years, or are currently charged with a felony, or are presently in the custody of a correctional institution, please see REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION, REASON 7 below. If you were convicted more than 7 years ago, you are eligible to serve.
The Trial Court and the Office of Jury Commissioner are committed to making the courts accessible to all. Accessibility includes the right and the obligation to perform jury service. Please visit our website at www.MAjury.gov and click on "Accessibility" for more information. You can also contact us at JurorHelp@jud.state.ma.us, or 1-800-THE-JURY (843-5879), or our TTY line for deaf, late-deafened, and hard of hearing jurors at 1-800-328-3202. Those who know they would benefit from the use of an FM Assistive Listening Device should complete #5 on the Juror Confirmation Form.
FOR MORE INFORMATION...
…be sure to review ALL of the information contained in this summons packet: this brochure, the summons, and the Grand Juror’s Handbook. Most of our frequently asked questions are answered here. You can get more information on our website at www.MAjury.gov or by calling us at 1-800-THE-JURY (843-5879) (within Massachusetts only) or 617-338-6409 (out-of-state callers only). The OJC takes calls M-F, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, and pre-recorded information is always available. You can email us at JurorHelp@jud.state.ma.us, or write to us at:
OFFICE OF JURY COMMISSIONER
560 HARRISON AVENUE, SUITE 600
BOSTON, MA 02118
You can also visit our website at: www.MAjury.gov
REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION...
You should read through the following disqualifications before completing the Juror Confirmation Form, even if you believe you are qualified..
- Respond Online: Complete the Juror Confirmation Form online at www.MAjury.gov. Your Badge Number and PIN, located on your summons, will be required to log in.
- Respond by Mail: You must provide details at #2A and #2B on the Juror Confirmation Form.
YOU ARE NOT A U.S. CITIZEN
Provide your alien card identification number, visa status, or any other pertinent information.
YOU ARE AGE 70 OR OLDER & CHOOSE NOT TO SERVE
Provide your date of birth.
YOU ARE UNDER AGE 18
Provide your date of birth.
YOU CANNOT SPEAK AND UNDERSTAND ENGLISH
Provide your primary language.
YOU HAVE MOVED PERMANENTLY OUTSIDE THE COUNTY
Provide your new address.
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.
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.
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.
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. The note must (1) be written on letterhead and include your Badge Number; (2) state the nature of the disability (the specific diagnosis or condition is not required); and (3) 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.
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.
If you respond online, please note that Disqualification Reasons 9 & 10 will not be processed until a doctor’s note is received.