Called For Jury Duty in Pennsylvania? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Pennsylvania law provides that every citizen of the Commonwealth becomes qualified to serve as a juror at the age of 18. Certain exceptions exist. Anyone who is unable to read, write, speak, and understand the English language cannot serve on a jury. Anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year can never serve on a jury unless he or she has been granted a pardon. Pennsylvania citizens are also excluded from jury service if they suffer from any mental or physical infirmity that prevents “efficient jury service.”

You can be summoned for jury duty at any time. In most counties, the process starts when your local county Jury Commission sends you a Juror Qualification Form. The form is designed simply to gather updated information about your basic qualifications to serve on a local jury–the questions focus on your current address, your age, and your ability to understand and participate in a trial. Do not ignore a Juror Qualification Form if one arrives in your mailbox: You can be ordered to come to court to fill out the form and to explain why you failed to do so voluntarily.

After you return the Juror Qualification Form to your county Jury Commission, you will be added to the list of qualified jurors if the Commission finds you qualified. The Commission then draws names randomly from the list of qualified jurors whenever the county judges need jurors for trials. In counties where the Juror Qualification Form is not used, the Jury Commission simply sends a notice of jury duty to randomly chosen citizens that it assumes are qualified.