Saskatchewan Juror Assistance and Support Program

The Government of Saskatchewan offers a program to provide confidential and professional counselling to jurors who have experienced personal difficulties as a consequence of serving as a juror. For more information about the program and general information about jury duty visit the Courts of Saskatchewan.

Length of Duty

The length of jury service will vary considerably for summoned jurors. While the jury selection process may require your attendance for a day or a fraction of a day, jury duty generally lasts about one week. However, the majority, usually more than two-thirds, of all summoned jurors are NOT actually selected for service, therefore, their duty ends after a short time with the completion of the jury selection process. For those jurors who are selected to serve in a jury panel, the judge and the attorneys may be able to estimate how long that particular trial will last.

Delay

Unfortunately, prospective jurors who appear and participate in the jury selection process will spend a great deal of time waiting. Although the courts make every effort to avoid delays, they sometimes will occur. If a delay occurs while you are present for jury service, please try to be patient with the court staff. Rest assured that there is usually a valid reason for any delays and the judge is aware that you are waiting. Also, try to keep an open mind about your jury service and remember that you are playing an essential role in our justice system.

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Lying in a Letter to the Court

Some people believe that a letter falsely claiming you are the only caretaker for your sick, elderly mother; or falsely describing the financial hardship that jury duty would impose on you, is the way to get out of jury duty. Other people may think a letter from an employer falsely claiming that the person summoned for jury duty is desperately needed at work can convince the court to excuse the person from jury duty. If your absence from your job truly would be a hardship for your employer, a letter explaining the circumstances is entirely appropriate and the judge may consider it and even excuse you. (Legitimate grounds for excusal from jury duty are addressed below.) If, however, you ask your employer to lie for you or forge a letter without your employer’s knowledge and the court learns that the letter is not truthful or is a forgery, you could be charged with contempt of court or other crimes and be sentenced to time in jail.

Ask to be excused if you cant make it to court

In very rare cases, if it would be an extreme hardship for you to come to the courthouse at all to ask to be excused, you can submit a written request to be excused under OJC Regulation 9. Common difficulties such as inconvenience, no childcare, or business obligations don’t qualify. The regulation applies to cases such as:

  • People living in religious orders that restrict outside travel 
  • People with rare medical conditions that prevent them from leaving their homes

If you believe you qualify for an extreme hardship disqualification, you must explain your circumstances in writing, sign it, and send it to:

Operations Manager Office of Jury Commissioner 560 Harrison Avenue, Suite 600 Boston, MA 02118

You should submit your request at least 30 days before your date of service to allow time for review, action, and notification of decision.

Advice for your First Day of Service

  • Be sure that you know where you are supposed to report. If you are unfamiliar with the courthouse and its surroundings you should carefully review the instructions that are included with summonses. You might also contact the judge or the district clerk’s office or check the local web page for additional information.
  • Your attire should show respect for the court. Because you may serve on a jury the first day you report to serve, you should wear clothing reasonably befitting the dignity and solemnity of the court proceedings. Local judges may restrict certain attire, such as shorts, cutoff, sleeveless shirts, sandals, and hats. Also, you should dress comfortably because you may be in the courthouse for the entire day. You might also bring a light sweater or jacket in case the temperature in the courthouse is somewhat cold.
  • Take advantage of any free parking offered to prospective jurors. Also, you might want to avoid parking in metered parking spaces because you do not know how long you will be in jury service.
  • Bring money. Though the court or the county may provide parking or reimburse parking costs, you might have to pay them initially. Also, you may need money to pay for snacks, lunch, or pay phones.
  • Because jury duty involves some waiting, bring something to read to help you pass the time.
  • Be aware that you will likely be asked to shut off pagers and cellular phones before entering the jury room or courtroom.

Some courthouses may have additional accommodations for you, such as internet access, lap to stations, and reading. You will need to check with your local courthouse regarding special amenities.

Courthouse Security

To ensure the safety of everyone at the courthouse, expect to be screened through a metal detector and X-ray unit. Entering the courthouse with a prohibited weapon is against the law. Pointed items, such as pocket knives or knitting needles, are not permitted in the courthouse. Anything considered to be a weapon or that is deemed unacceptable by the security staff will be confiscated.

Getting Excused From Jury Service Without Lying

Courts can and will excuse citizens from jury duty in certain circumstances. Laws regarding jury services sometimes provide grounds for excusal or deferral, and judges have the discretion to excuse potential jurors or defer their service on a case-by-case basis. The exact requirements vary by state and by court, but grounds for excusal can include:

  • a physical or mental disability that would prevent the person called from participating in the jury process
  • extreme financial hardship, or
  • circumstances that prevent a person from being away from work or home such as an employee’s special role in the workplace or caring for a child or an incapacitated person (this situation might result in a deferral of service rather than excusal).

If you receive a summons for jury duty and believe you have legitimate grounds to be excused, you can contact the court and ask how to proceed. You may be directed to provide documents to the court, write a letter, or have your employer submit a letter. You should be truthful in all interactions with the court and provide only valid documents that do not misrepresent you or your situation.

If you have questions about jury service or concerns that the court is improperly refusing to excuse you, you can consult with an attorney. A qualified attorney will know the laws and rules regarding jury service in your area and can assist you in communicating with the court about your circumstances, if necessary.

POSTPONEMENTS / HARDSHIPS / EXCUSALS

All applications for postponements MUST BE MADE PRIOR TO YOUR DATE OF SERVICE. You can apply for your FIRST postponement by WEB, TELEPHONE or by MAIL.

BY WEB: Visit our website at NYJUROR.GOV and click on the link “Postpone your jury service.” Follow the instructions. You will need to supply information from your jury summons.

BY TELEPHONE: Choose a date between 2 and 6 months from the date of your summons. Your request can be made by calling 1-800-449-2819. If the date requested is not available, you will be given the next closest court date. If you have been previously postponed or absent, any request made through this system will NOT be honored.

BY MAIL: Complete your Jury Summons (Part A) and indicate a date you can serve between 2 and 6 months from the date on your summons and mail back to:

COMMISSIONER OF JURORS 225 Griffing Ave. Riverhead, NY 11901

HARDSHIPS/EXCUSES: Excuses are rarely granted and documentation/proof is necessary. If granted, excuse periods may not exceed 24 months. Medical, Caregivers, Financial and Full Time Students REQUIRE PROOF. Please mail the required proof along with the original signed Jury Summons (Part A) to the above address.

REQUIRED PROOF: Medical: A signed statement from a licensed physician that indicates your condition and how long it is expected the condition will exist. Caregivers: Children under the age of 16: Copies of birth certificates, an explanation as to why you cannot make arrangements for care to be provided by another during the period of jury service and if employed, documentation verifying your hours employed. Other Caregivers: Doctor’s note detailing patient’s diagnosis and verification of caregiver’s services. Financial: Current Tax Forms showing your financial status, documentation showing present employment status (wages, hours, etc.) and any document showing your inability to provide support for you or your family as a result of jury service. Please note this excusal is only for jurors suffering a severe financial hardship. There are no excusals solely for loss of income. Full Time Students: Copy of Student ID Card or copy of current Full Time School Schedule. All Others: If you feel that it is impossible for you to serve as a juror and wish to be excused from service, you must submit documentary proof of the reason why. Please call our information line at 1-800-449-2819 to receive information about the proof you must provide.

WE WILL ONLY NOTIFY YOU IF YOUR REQUEST WAS DENIED.

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