Jury Duty in Philadelphia…more stuff

Each year, summonses are mailed to Philadelphia residents using a combined list of all registered voters and adult licensed drivers.
In order to qualify for jury service, you must meet the following requirements:
You must be able to read, write, and speak the English language.
You must not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
You must be physically and mentally able to perform the functions of a juror.
You must be a United States citizen at the time you are summoned.
You must be a Philadelphia resident and at least 18 years of age.

If you are not mentally or physically able to serve as a juror, provide medical certification in the remarks section of the questionnaire. If you are requesting to be excused for a job related reason, your employer should certify the hardship in the remarks section.

If you are no longer a resident of the City and County of Philadelphia, please indicate your new address in the remarks section. You are not be required to report.

Q. How often must I serve?
A:If a person serves for one or two days, they need not serve again for a period of one year. If service is for three or more days, the exemption period is three years.

Q. Why have some people never been called for jury service and I’ve been called more than once?
A:As mentioned earlier, selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times. It is truly the “luck of the draw”. However, if your name appears one way on the voter list and another way on your driver’s license, your chances of being called increase. The court is not permitted to make changes to these lists.

But the point being made by Sherri W. is. If you must speak English in order to serve on a Jury why would there be a question in Spanish asking you if you speak English with a box for you to check YES? A box for NO makes sense but not a box for YES.

3 Comments so far

  1. Mithras (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

    “[W]hy would there be a question in Spanish asking you if you speak English with a box for you to check YES? A box for NO makes sense but not a box for YES.”

    Because if you don’t read English, and you don’t know what “Yes” means, but your options are “Yes/No”, you might become confused as to which selection to make. “Si/No” makes it clear to the reader what “Yes/No” means, so they’re more likely to circle the correct answer the first time. It is true, logically, that no one should circle the “Si” response. On the other hand, if the question was just in English, why would you have a “No” response? If you couldn’t read it, you couldn’t answer the question at all.


  2. Angie (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 9:57 am

    Well, having been on the other side of the language barrier (English is my second language) I agree with Mithras comment that a “yes/no” makes more sense.

    After being asked if you understand English or not; circling a “sí” doesn’t make much sense)…but I do have to point out that “do you understand/speak English” tends to be a VERY common sentence to learn at the beginning…that after “my name is”, same goes for “yes”…

    BTW, thank you so much for finding out how the jury is selected! it really puzzled me (as you can see in my comment to Sherri’s post) and this makes a lot of sense.


  3. Brady (unregistered) on August 6th, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    Jury duty is a disgrace to this country and proves we are not really free.

    If it is so important – which I believe it is not – then the government needs to either (A) pay its jurors according to what they would actually make with a day’s work plus travel compensation; (B) go about hiring a pool of professional jurors; or (C) make volunteering for such “benefits” as optional.



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