Ask the Commissioner
In this section, I have answered many of the most common questions asked by jurors. I hope that you will find that this section is informative and helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact our office at 493-3750 where a representative will be available 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday to help you.
Commissioner of Jurors
Why must I serve on Jury Duty?
The Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York guarantee defendants in criminal cases and litigants in civil cases the right to a trial by jury. New York State Judiciary Law states that all litigants have the right to juries selected from a fair cross section of the community and that all eligible citizens shall have both the opportunity and obligation to serve.
How are people chosen to be called for jury service?
The New York State court system obtains each year the names of state residents who are included on certain lists-registered voters, state taxpayers, licensed drivers, recipients of public assistance benefits and recipients of state unemployment compensation.
It is also possible to volunteer for jury duty. Your may do so by contacting our office at 493-3750 or by calling 1-800-NYJUROR.
Throughout the year, prospective jurors are selected randomly from the source lists and sent a juror qualification questionnaire. This questionnaire must be completed by the prospective juror and returned to our office. Those individuals who "qualify" for service - a U.S. citizen and county resident; at least 18 years of age; with no felony convictions; and able to understand and communicate in English - may eventually be summoned to report for service.
How long will I serve as a juror?
The Unified Court System has implemented a policy to reduce the length of service to the shortest possible term wherever practicable.
In Nassau County, jurors who are not involved in a voir dire or trial are excused after one or two days.
Those who are selected on a jury are required to serve on only one trial. On average, the length of a civil trial ranges from one or two days. Criminal trials average slightly longer.
If a trial is expected to last for an extended period, you will be informed of that fact by the judge and you may request to be excused from that case only.
Will I be compensated for jury service?
Pursuant to law, the state will pay jurors a fee of $40.00 for each day of physical attendance with the following exceptions:
Exception # 1. Jurors who are employed CANNOT be paid a jury fee for any day(s) on which they receive regular wages unless their regular wage is less than $40.00. In that case, the state will pay the difference between the jurors' wage and the $40.00 fee.
Exception # 2. Jurors who work for an employer with more than 10 employees MUST be paid, by their employer, at least $40.00 or their regular daily wage - whichever is less - for each of the first three days* of service. If a juror's daily wage is less than $40.00, the state will pay the difference between the juror's wage and the $40.00 fee for the first three days of service.
Note: The obligation of the employer to pay only applies if the juror is serving on jury duty on a regular scheduled work day. If not, the state pays the daily fee of $40.00 .
In rare instances, when service extends for more than 10 days, the court may authorize an additional allowance of $6.00 per day to be paid to a juror.
A juror may waive his or her right to the per diem allowance, in which case the allowance will go into a special account that is used to improve juror facilities.
What about transportation costs?
There is no additional reimbursement to jurors for transportation costs.
What about the juror's job?
New York State law prohibits an employer from subjecting an employee to penalties or termination of employment due to jury service - so long as the employee notifies the employer upon receipt of the jury summons.
In order to verify to an employer that jury service was performed, all jurors are provided an attendance certificate.
Jurors who believe that they have lost wages or forced to charge their absence to vacations or sick leave should contact our office or the regional office of the New York State Attorney General.
Are jurors with disabilities accommodated?
If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation to allow you to serve, various auxiliary aids are available to meet your needs. The kinds of auxiliary aids that are generally available include assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters and "real-time" captioning of court proceedings. In some situations, the court may be able to provide a reader for visually impaired jurors or have forms, such as a jury questionnaire, reproduced in large print or put on audiotape. If you have mobility impairment and are sent to a courtroom which has access problems, you may be reassigned to a different location that has better access.
If you are a TDD user and need to communicate with the court while you are on jury duty, you can call the relay service at 1-800-662-1220 and they will be able to place the call. Some courts also may have a TDD or TTY in the clerks' office.
Any access questions or requests for assistance can be conveyed to the central jury staff, court clerk or judge in the courtroom where you are assigned.
I'm over 70; why am I still being called for jury duty?
There is no maximum age limit for jury service. It is illegal to automatically exclude any age group including seniors. However, if your doctor feels that you are physically unable to serve in a reasonable manner, you may submit a doctor's letter with your summons and you may be granted a medical excuse.
How come I always get called and my neighbors do not?
Jurors are summoned to serve in a completely random manner similar to a lottery. Rest assured that every eligible citizen in Nassau County will be summoned. If you know of anyone who would like to serve, they can obtain a questionnaire by calling our office at 493-3750 or at www.nyjuror.gov.
Why am I in the computer so many times?
In order to establish a jury pool which reflects the diversity of our community, every county Commissioner of Jurors utilizes lists such as motor vehicle records and voter registration records so it is possible that you may receive more than one questionnaire. Compounding the problem is that fact that many people list their names differently on various lists. For example, it is quite common to see the names: A. Robert Jones and Andrew Jones and we cannot determine that these two names are really the same person.