Jury | Jury Service Policies
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.
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
- 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.
Persons failing to meet the above eligibility requirements will be disqualified
from service as a juror.
- Permanent Excusal from Jury
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.
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.
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.
The Court does not provide exemptions from jury service based upon one’s occupation,
profession, or status.
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.