Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
Jury | Jury Service Policies

POLICY STATEMENT
The participation of citizens in our system of justice is vital to the efficient and effective administration of justice in Allegheny County. The Court strives to make jury service a convenient and pleasant experience and to accommodate all jurors within reasonable limits in balancing the interests of the Court and juror.

  1. DISQUALIFICATION POLICY
    Every citizen of Allegheny County who has attained the age of eighteen (18) will be qualified to serve as a juror unless one or more of the following applies:
    • is unable to read, write, speak and understand the English language;
    • is incapable, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, to render efficient jury service;
    • has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and has not been granted a pardon or amnesty.
  2. Persons failing to meet the above eligibility requirements will be disqualified from service as a juror.

  3. EXCUSAL POLICY
    • Permanent Excusal from Jury Service
      Every citizen 18 years of age or older residing in Allegheny County is eligible to serve as a juror, and participation of all citizens in jury service is strongly encouraged. The potential hardship service may bring for elderly citizens is recognized by the Court. While there is no age limitation to participate in jury service, citizens who are 75 years of age or older, upon receipt of a Qualification Questionnaire or Summons, may request an age-related excusal that will permanently remove them from the Court's list of prospective jurors.

      The Court permanently excuses those citizens afflicted with a physical and/or mental infirmity so as to render the citizen incapable of providing efficient jury service as certified by a medical doctor.

      The Court also may grant a permanent excusal to prospective jurors who demonstrate to the Court's satisfaction undue hardship or extreme inconvenience. The prospective juror will be required to provide clear and convincing evidence of the undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.

    • Temporary Excusal of Jury Service
      Prospective jurors may be temporarily excused from jury service where the juror can demonstrate to the Court’s satisfaction, undue hardship or extreme inconvenience. For example, a temporary excusal would be granted to a citizen afflicted with a physical and/or mental infirmity temporarily rendering the citizen incapable of providing efficient jury service as certified by a medical doctor.

      Citizens demonstrating undue hardship or extreme inconvenience including, but not limited to, citizens in the active military service, primary medical caregivers as certified by a medical doctor, and citizens’ submitting written requests for excusal due to family matters, may be granted temporary excusal from jury service.

      The temporary excusal from jury service will be granted for a period of up to two years at the discretion of the Court.

  4. DEFERRAL POLICY
    An application for postponement of jury service may be granted for many reasons, including but not limited to, child care, adult care, work issues, vacation, pursuit of educational opportunities, etc. If a citizen requires postponement from jury service, the citizen is urged to contact the Court as soon as possible to enable the Court to respond to the request in a timely manner.
    • First Request: The Court is cognizant that jury service can impose on citizens some degree of inconvenience. A first request for temporary deferral of jury service may be granted, and jury service may be postponed to a more convenient time.
    • Second Request: The Court recognizes that jury service may continue to be inconvenient or impose a hardship for the date summoned. The Court will carefully consider the juror’s request and explanation for further postponement and, if possible, temporarily grant a second postponement. If a second deferral is granted, the juror will be advised of the continuing obligation to serve as a juror.
    • Third Request: The Court recognizes that in rare or extreme circumstances and after a complete examination of the request for deferral, a third postponement may, on occasion, be granted. The juror bears the burden of demonstrating a compelling need for a further postponement of the juror’s obligation.
    • Further Requests: The Court may consider extenuating circumstances and exercise discretion in evaluating additional requests for deferral of jury service.
  5. EXEMPTIONS
    The Court does not provide exemptions from jury service based upon one’s occupation, profession, or status.
  6. RELATIVES OF CRIMINAL HOMICIDE VICTIMS
    Pennsylvania law provides that spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents and grandchildren of victims of criminal homicide under 18 Pa. C.S.A. §2501 (relating to criminal homicide) are exempt or excused from jury duty. Please call the Office of Jury Management at 412-350-5336 for more information.