Jury Duty Frequently Asked Questions

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you still have questions regarding your jury service, please call us at 505-334-7820 or e-mail aztdjury@nmcourts.gov

I've just received my summons. What do I do next?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to fill out the Questionnaire and Qualification forms that are included with your summons.  Answer all questions honestly and completely.  Please take special care to provide us with a mailing address that you regularly use, as we will be sending you important instructions in the near future. (Note: this address will be used ONLY for this purpose.  Your information will not be shared with any other party or Division of the Court.)  Also, please provide a telephone phone number.  Please write legibly.  After completing and signing your forms, mail them back to 103 S. Oliver, Aztec, NM 87410.

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How soon do I need to mail my forms back?

New Mexico law states that questionnaire forms MUST be returned to the Court.  It is important that you mail forms back to the Court before the deadline date as indicated on the Summons.  If you are unable to complete this task before the deadline, please contact the Court to make suitable arrangments.  Failure to return forms back to the Court may result in finding you in Contempt of Court and a warrant for your arrest will be issued, or a hearing will be scheduled before a judge for you to explain why you were unable to comply.

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Why do I have to pay postage to return my forms?

The Jury Management Division at the Eleventh Judicial District Court uses more than $20,000 during the fiscal year for postage to mail summons, juror checks, and other communications.  Postage used for the return of thousands of juror questionnaires over time would nearly double this expense.

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Why are you asking all these questions on the Juror Questionnaire?

The questions you answer on the Juror Qualification Form are to provide the judge and attorneys with basic information regarding your suitability to serve as a juror.  Use of the completed questionnaire shortens the jury selection process and does eliminate personal or potentially embarrassing questions asked of you in open court.  Please note, pursuant to New Mexico Supreme Court Order 00-8500, all such Questionnaires in the possession of the Court or any other party must be destroyed 90 days after the juror's term of service ends.  We rigorously adhere to that rule.

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I've misplaced my forms. What should I do?

The forms are available on this website.  Simply click here and you will be directed to that page.  Our summons are available in Spanish and English on our main Jury Division Page.

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I've received a summons for a family member who is deceased. What should I do?

Do not throw it away.  Indicate on the forms DECEASED and attach a copy of the death certificate.  Return the entire packet to the Jury Management Division at the Court.

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I've received a summons for a family member who no longer lives in New Mexico. What should I do with it?

Do not throw it away.  Indicate on the forms the name and the new address of the individual summoned.  Return the entire packet to the Jury Management Division.  The individual will be contacted and asked to provide proof of their new address.  Upon receipt, the jury database will then be updated so that no other summons will be sent.

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Where did you get my name?

Your name was randomly selected from a merged database consisting of licensed drivers, registered voters, and San Juan County New Mexico personal income tax filers.

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I've been called to serve three times in the last five years and none of my friends have ever been called. Why don't you pick some other people?

A computer program randomly generates names from the master jury database.  

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I served as a juror less than three years ago. Am I still obligated to serve?

New Mexico statute allows citizens who have served within the previous three (3) years to be excused from the serving as a juror for the session of which they have been summoned.  (By request only.)  Because many jurors desire to serve again, the names of jurors who have served within the past three years are not automatically excluded.  

If you have served within the preceding 3 years and wish to be excused from serving, please complete the Qualification Form and Questionnaire and return it to the Jury Division before the specified deadline.

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Is Jury Service mandatory?

Yes. The United States Constitution and the New Mexico State Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury.  Failure to attend as directed may subject to penalties provided by law.  All San Juan County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they:

  • Are not a United States citizen
  • Are under 18 years of age
  • Have been convicted of a felony and have not completed all terms of their sentence, including probation and/or parole


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I'm not a US citizen. What do I do?

As stated above, the law automatically disqualifies non-citizens from jury service. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you will need to provide a copy of your residency card, along with the completed Qualification form to the Jury Division.

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I'm over the age of 75. Can't you remove my name from your records?

Yes.  New Mexico statutes allow for the permanent excusal of all such individuals who request it.  If you fall into this category, the law requires that you complete an affidavit attesting to your age.  This document MUST be notarized.  To print out a copy of this document for you to fill out, click here.  After you complete it (including notarization), mail it to: 103 S. Oliver Drive, Aztec, NM 87410 Attn: Sheralee, Jury Clerk.

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How do I go about performing my Jury Service? What can I expect?

After you have returned your Questionnaire and Qualification forms, you will be mailed a Subpoena that will include the days and times that you are required to appear.  Please read the Subpoena carefully it will have specific instructions regarding what number you will need to call to find out whether a trial has been cancelled or not and will also include the Jury Clerks phone number in case of an emergency and you are unable to appear for one of the dates.

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When I report for jury selection for a trial, what will happen?

You will go to the front desk security for screening.  The security guard will direct you to the juror check in location.  In order to be paid for your service, you must check in with the Jury Clerk.  You will be given a brief orientation before the trial begins.  The jury clerk and/or bailiff will randomly select from the list of jurors a courtroom seating arrangement.  After the random list has been generated, the bailiff will direct you to the courtroom hallway.  The bailiff will call your name and assign to you a number.  The jury clerk will help you to your seat in the courtroom.  Once you have been seated, the process of Voir Dire begins.  Voir Dire is a brief period of time when the judge and attorneys will ask all of you questions relating to the case to be tried.  Your answers to their questions help determine which of you will be most suitable to serve as a juror at trial.  Once Voir Dire is completed, the judge will have all potential jurors take a short break.  During the break, while you are out of the courtroom, the judge and attorneys will discuss which of you will be selected as jurors for the trial.  Once the decision has been made, all of you will be asked to return to the courtroom.  The judge will announce who will serve as jurors.  Once jurors are set in the jury box, the trial will begin.

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What do I do if I'm asked to report and there are unsafe weather conditions?

The 11th Judicial District Court will follow the municipal school schedule for delays or closures in the same city the court is located.  For example, if schools in Aztec will experience a 2-hour delay or will be closed, the courthouse in Aztec will have a 2-hour delay or close.  Same applies for courthouses in Farmington and Gallup. 

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How long will I serve as a juror?

You will be required to serve only during the month stated on the Subpoena.

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Are there ever any instances when I may have to serve longer?

No.  Only if you have requested to postpone service on your panel for a later date.

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How long does an average trial last?

The average length of trial, from jury selection through the verdict, varies from six to eight hours.  Occasionally, the duration of a trial will be two to three days or even longer depending upon the case to be tried.

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What happens when I do not show up when I hear my panel called?

The court has put in place a FTA (Failure To Appear) process.  A FTA is when a person fails to make arrangements with the jury clerk for his/her absence on the date their attendance to serve is required.  An end of month report of names of all FTAs is submitted to the court's staff attorney.  What happens next to those who failed to appear and neglected to make arrangements will be determined.  Please note, the court will work with most schedules.  To avoid consequences of a FTA penalty, call the jury clerk to make arrangements prior to your scheduled appearance if you are unable to appear.

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Will I be compensated for my jury service?

The Court is authorized, by New Mexico statute, to compensate at the rate of $6.25 per hour.  Mileage is reimbursed at $.41 cents per mile for travel to and from the courthouse.  Mileage is computed based on the information you provided on the Qualification form.  Checks will be mailed to your home address.  On average, you can expect to receive payment for your jury service six to eight weeks after the session completes.  If payment has not been received within ten (10) weeks of your jury service, please contact the Jury Clerk at (505) 334-7820. Payments cannot be split between both hourly and mileage reimbursement. 

Please note:  Option to waive reimbursement may be chosen, if desired.  Simply indicate that you decline reimbursement on the Qualification form.

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I am a government employee. Will I still be compensated?

It is your responsibility to indicate on the Qualification form if you are presently working for a governmental agency.  Also, discuss with your employer about its own jury duty policy on the basis of pay.  Please advise the jury clerk prior to the completion of your session whether you will be paid for jury duty by your employer.  If so, juror compensation will not be paid. 

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Does my employer have to pay me for serving as a juror?

No.  State law does not require employers to compensate jurors while serving on jury duty.  Please check with your employer regarding your company's policy.

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Can my employer penalize me for service on Jury Service?

No.  New Mexico statute §38-5-18 states “An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten or otherwise coerce the employee because the employee receives a summons for jury service, responds to the summons, serves as a juror or attends court for perspective jury service. An employer shall not require or request an employee to use annual, vacation or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury service, participating in the jury selection process or serving on a jury.”

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I do not have transportation and/or a driver's license. Am I still expected to report for jury duty?

Yes.  A
lack of transportation or not having a valid drivers license will NOT excuse you from jury service.  The summons was mailed to you with sufficient notice to make transportation arrangements.

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What should I wear when reporting for Jury service?

Though there is no specific dress code, we request that you dress in a manner befitting the dignity of the court.  Jackets and ties are not required for men.  Jeans are acceptable.  Shorts, spaghetti straps, tank tops, bare midriffs and the like are not considered appropriate.  Hats may be worn, but must be removed before entering the courtroom.  We ask that police officers, firefighters, and other civil servants or law-enforcement officials refrain from reporting for jury duty in uniform.  Due to variable temperatures in the courthouse, we recommend that you dress in layers.


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I'm requesting to be excused. Do I need to complete the forms?

Yes. To request an excusal, please complete all forms, in addition to the section specifically addressing your request to be excused.  It is important that you supply the required documentation as described on the form.  Mail your forms back as quickly as possible.  You will be notified by mail whether or not your excusal has been granted.  Please note,  requests for excusals cannot be processed by phone. See “Excuse from Service” below for more information.

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How do I request an excusal from Jury Service?

Prospective jurors otherwise eligible to serve, may be excused from jury service only for extreme hardship and severe medical issues. All requests must be submitted to the Jury Management Division IN WRITING prior to the prospective juror’s service date as explained on the juror Questionnaire.  The request for excusal, along with required documentation, may also be faxed to our office at 505-334-1940. Until you have received notification from the Court, you are not excused.

A prospective juror may be excused if he/she:

  • Has a physical or mental disability that would prevent him/her from service. The prospective juror is required to provide a doctor’s note (on the doctor’s letterhead or prescription pad) attesting to the disability.
  • Must provide actual and necessary care for another, and alternate arrangements are not feasible. A doctor’s note (on the doctor’s letterhead or prescription pad) is required attesting to this situation.
  • Will suffer an extreme financial burden if required to serve that would substantially prevent the prospective juror from paying his/her necessary daily living expenses. A detailed letter describing these circumstances is required.
  • Is serving on “Active Duty” with the military and is not stationed in the county. A letter from the prospective juror’s superior officer so stating is required.
  • Is over the age of 75, and provides an notarized affidavit attesting to this fact. Click here for a copy of this document for you to complete. 

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My jury summons came at a very bad time. May I postpone my service?

The Court realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to defer your service to a more convenient time in most instances.  Jurors may request a first-time postponement by completing the appropriate section of the Qualification form, along with the completed Questionnaire, and returning it back to us by mail.  All requests for postponement must be in writing and either mailed or faxed to the Jury Management Division for review. Please note:  New Mexico law does not allow a second postponement unless it is an extreme emergency that was not anticipated when the first postponement was granted.

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May I be excused from jury service over the phone?

No.  All excuse requests must be in writing and mailed (or faxed) along with required documentation (see above) to the Jury Management Division for review.

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I know that I will not be selected to be on the jury because of what I do for a living. Why not excuse me now and save time?

The Jury Management Division cannot excuse you as a potential juror based upon your occupation.  The Eleventh Judicial District Court tries both civil and criminal cases, each of which requires juries.  The random selection process prevents you from knowing in advance what trial or even what type of trial for which you may be selected.

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I am unable to judge anyone because of my moral or religious beliefs. May I be excused?

No.  New Mexico law does not provide for an excuse from jury service for moral or religious beliefs.  You are required to appear for jury service.  During the selection process, you may mention your moral and religious beliefs to the presiding judge.

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I do not speak, read, or write English. What do I do?

In New Mexico, there is no exemption from your service if you do not speak English.  We will provide an interpreter for you.  If you speak another language, please fill out your forms and mail them back to us, indicating which language you speak.  We will make every effort to provide you with an interpreter.  Again, you may not be excused from Jury Service because you do not speak English.

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