New Jersey Juror Summons, Questionnaire, and Penalties

Jury Duty Blues

jury duty, juror penaltiesOrdinarily adults consider jury service inconvenient. After all, it requires jurors to lay other plans aside, and it interrupts everyday life. For many people, jury service lasts a day. But for other people it lasts several weeks. Despite the inconveniences, New Jersey law makes jury service a top priority. And the law gives our courts the power to make an incompliant juror’s life even more inconvenient through juror penalties.

The Summons and the Questionnaire

Previously I blogged about the New Jersey Juror Questionnaire. That post, and a post about The Six Requirements for Jury Duty in New Jersey, describe:

  • the court’s authority to summon jurors and mail a questionnaire,
  • examples of questions one may expect to be asked, and
  • the legal basis for the questions.

Indeed, responsible adults probably want to avoid being judged poorly. Consequently, they will answer the questionnaire and summons. These are legal documents, which means they are serious. In practical terms, the court does not appreciate being ignored.

Juror Penalties

Obviously, contempt of court is serious. A contumacious juror faces a fine up to $500 for failure to respond to the questionnaire, failure to appear for jury service, or refusal to serve.


New Jersey courts expect State citizens to fulfill the civic duty of jury service. The only defense for an incompliant citizen is to appear in court with a reasonable excuse. A judge will determine whether the excuse is objectively reasonable. An individual who believes he should be exempt must communicate his reasons to the court. This allows the courts to hear the reasons for an exemption request, and to decide whether an exemption applies.

Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on cases regarding the right to trial in New Jersey

Call Now—(856) 812-0321.