Occasionally, court systems are seeing their names being used in scams in which fraudsters pose as court officials or law enforcement officers in an attempt to steal money, according to an article published in Stateline (external link), an online publication of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The federal court system has also published an article with suggestions (external link) on how to protect yourself from possible scams. The court would never ask for your personal financial information in regard to your jury service. If there is any question about the authenticity of a communication about jury duty, contact the applicable clerk of circuit court office.
"Jury scams target even unlikely victims," published by the United States Courts, November 16, 2017 (external link)
- Juror Handbook
- Juror orientation video
Terms of jury service
A person is eligible for jury service once every two to four years. The courts in each county set the term of service for each county, not to exceed 31 consecutive days. No person can be required to serve/attend court as a juror more than five days unless selected to a trial that may require more days. For details on the jury system and terms of service in your county follow the links on the county circuit court contacts page.
A person selected for jury service must be chosen at random from a source list using the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's list of people with motor vehicle licenses or identification cards who live in the area served by that circuit court. Some counties may use additional source lists. For county specific information on source lists follow the links on the county circuit court contacts page.
The rules for jury trials come from the law, tradition, and experience. In summary, the steps are as follows:
- Jurors are sworn to answer truthfully all questions about their qualifications for the case.
- The judge and attorneys ask questions of the prospective jurors (voir dire).
- The judge excuses a limited number of jurors which each lawyer has a right to ask be excused without giving a reason (peremptory challenges), and may also excuse additional jurors who may not be impartial in the cases (challenges for cause).
- The final jury panel is then selected and sworn to fairly and impartially decide the case.
Every juror summoned is paid an amount set by the county board (not less than $16 per day) for each day of attendance and reimbursed for travel. In some counties jurors may be paid by the half-day. Please check with your specific county as to what payment is in that jurisdiction by following the links on the county circuit court contacts page.
Postponement requests and excusals
The court understands that there are many situations that may require a postponement of your jury service. Follow the links on the county circuit court contacts page for information on postponement policies in the county where you were summoned. Note: Some requests for postponements must be received prior to receiving a summons. Please inform the court of a potential conflict as soon as you receive information regarding jury service.
The court may excuse a person from jury service if the court determines the person cannot fulfill the responsibilities of a juror. Or if the court determines jury service would entail undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or serious obstruction or delay of justice, the court may defer service to a later date set by the court or excuse the juror. The court may require a person to document the basis for any excuse or deferral.
Failure to appear
Any person who fails to attend jury service may be summoned by the court to explain why he or she failed to appear and may have a fine imposed. Some counties have local court rules and policies regarding failure to appear. For details on the jury system and failure to appear policies in your county follow the links on the county circuit court contacts page.
It is the policy of the Wisconsin Court System that its programs, services and activities be accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. No person will be refused participation solely because the person has a disability, needs an accommodation or because a building is inaccessible. If you have a disability that will require an accommodation by the court to allow you to serve as a juror, please notify the Clerk of Circuit Court for your county. Identify your Clerk's office on the county circuit court contacts page.