Waukesha County

Jury Service FAQs

Q:   Can I take notes or ask questions during the trial?

After the jury has been sworn in, the Judge will determine if you may take notes during the proceedings. If you are permitted to take notes, they should not interfere with your concentration or observation of the court proceedings. When you are reviewing your notes, remember that they are not evidence, but your interpretation of the facts presented to you. All notes will be collected and destroyed at the conclusion of the trial, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 805.13(2)(1).

Q:   Can my employer discipline or fire me for serving on jury duty?

No. Jury service is a civic duty. State law protects your job. Your employer can’t fire you, demote you, threaten or intimidate you because of jury service.

Q:   Does my employer have to pay me if I am on jury duty?

State law does not require employers to continue paying the salary of employees who are absent because of jury service. Many employers however, including state, federal and many local governmental agencies, have a policy of compensating employees for at least part, if not all, of the time spent for jury service. Check with your employer on their policy.

Q:   How long will I be required to serve on a trial?

Once selected to serve on a trial you will be required to serve for the length of that trial. The Judge will explain to you what type of case you will be hearing and how long they anticipate that trial to last. If you have any conflicts with serving for the length of the trial, you should let the court know. (This is done during the voir dire process).

Q:   I do not know the law. How can I be a juror?

The Judge will explain to the jury the rules of law that apply to the case and explain the decisions jurors must make.  Instructions provided by the Judge are based upon years of judicial experience and many past cases. The jury must accept and follow the rules of law as given by the Judge. A juror may disagree about the facts presented during the trial, but should not allow any personal disagreement with the law influence their decision.

Q:   What are my duties as a juror?

Most jury trials are either Criminal or Civil trials. The duty of the juror in a criminal case is to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of each charge or count against him/her. The duty of the juror in a Civil case is to decide what actually happened, since the parties do not agree with each other on the facts. The Judge gives the jurors the legal rules, and the jurors apply those rules to the evidence to reach a conclusion. The jury will be asked to draw conclusions from the evidence and often to say how much money will compensate a party for a wrong or injury in a civil trial.

Q:   What if I have an emergency during jury duty?

Report any emergencies to the court, the bailiff or the court clerk.

Q:   What if I have scheduled a vacation or business trip during my term of jury service?

Once you receive your summons, it is your responsibility to contact the Jury Coordinator either online or in writing to request a postponement to a time that does not conflict with your vacation or business trip.  The Jury Coordinator will adjust your term of service and will send you a new summons to appear on a different date. 

Q:   What if I have trouble hearing the procedures in court?

Report any concerns including trouble hearing to the bailiff or court clerk. Many courts can make accommodations for this through assisted listening devices and real time court reporting. If this is a concern for you prior to your jury service, contact the Jury Coordinator.

Q:   What is the fine for non-attendance?

FINE FOR NON-ATTENDANCE: 756.30, Juror Contempt Procedure
For a juror who willfully misrepresents answers on the qualification questionnaire, or who willfully fails to return the completed questionnaire within 10 days, or who willfully fails to report when summoned, the court may impose a sanction not to exceed $500.

Q:   Why are there delays while the jurors are waiting?

There are two points in the process when jurors may be asked to wait. The first is before being selected to hear the case and the second is during the trial. Jurors are only summoned to the courthouse when a trial is scheduled, but cases may settle at the very last minute. There may also be delays during the trial: witnesses may not have arrived; the judge or attorneys may need to research a legal question; a matter requiring the judge's attention on an emergency basis may arise, or sometimes routine matters such as the preparation of jury instructions, must take place outside of the hearing of the jury.