Policies & Procedures
The selection and management of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. Prospective jurors for the Santa Barbara County courts are selected randomly from the Voter Registration list, Franchise Tax Board, and the Department of Motor Vehicles' drivers and identification card-holders lists. From these source lists, the Court creates a master list of prospective jurors. Prospective jurors are selected randomly from that master list to receive a Trial Jury Summons.
Jury summons are sent to groups of prospective jurors selected at random and are mailed approximately 4 weeks prior to the summons date as shown on the form.
To qualify for jury service, one must be:
- A citizen of the United States
- 18 years of age or older
- Resident of Santa Barbara County
- Have not been convicted of a felony and currently incarcerated in jail or prison
- Have not been convicted of a felony and currently on parole, postrelease community supervision, felony probation, or mandated supervision
- Have not been convicted of a felony and required to register as a sex offender pursuant to PC 290
- Speak and understand the English language
- Not currently serving as a Grand or Trial Juror in any court
- Not currently a subject of a conservatorship
PEACE OFFICERS as defined only in Sections 830.1, 830.2(a) or 830.33(a) of the Penal Code are exempt.
Individuals must request this exemption. Please go to the Superior Court's online jury portal at https://juryservice.sbcourts.org or call the court's automated phone line at 855-955-1103 to submit your request for excuse. Staff will review and process the request. You will be notified if further information is needed to help process your request.
If you receive a summons and you want to be excused, you MUST submit a request via the Superior Court's online jury portal at https://juryservice.sbcourts.org or call the court's automated phone line at 855-955-1103. Staff will review and process the request. You will be notified of the results via email, text message, letter, or phone call. Complete the request section of the summons.
If you feel you should be permanently excused from jury service due to your medical condition and if you are UNDER AGE 70, you must have a note signed by a medical professional. The note must state that you should be PERMANENTLY EXCUSED. You may fax, email, or mail the information to the court.
If you are OVER AGE 70 and feel you should be permanently excused due to your medical condition, you must submit your request via the Superior Court's online jury portal at https://juryservice.sbcourts.org or call the court's automated phone line at 855-955-1103. Staff will review and process the request. You will be notified via email, text message, letter, or phone call. You are not required to submit a note from your medical professional if you have a legitimate medical condition and you are OVER AGE 70.
Inconvenience to a prospective trial juror or an employer is not a legal reason to be excused from jury service. Any employer who interferes with an employee reporting for jury service may be charged with a misdemeanor. (Labor Code Section 230).
Failure to attend or respond for jury service is a serious matter which may subject you to penalties as prescribed by law, including monetary sanctions (Code of Civil Procedure Section 209).
Santa Barbara Superior Court has implemented a Juror Failure To Appear (FTA) Program with the focus of achieving compliance by improving juror attendance as well as providing education about the importance of participating in this civic obligation. The ultimate consequence of noncompliance can be personal service of an Order To Show Cause Re Contempt by a Santa Barbara County Sheriff with a date ordering the juror to appear before a Superior Court Judge. If the juror is found in contempt of court, the judge may order a fine up to $1,000 along with presenting the juror a new summons for a future on call date. If you have failed to appear for jury service please contact the Jury office immediately. In Santa Barbara you may call (805) 882-4530, in Santa Maria (805) 614-6464.
When summoned for jury service, prospective jurors are placed on-call for approximately five (5) working court days. If you are not available during your on-call period, you may request ONE POSTPONEMENT of your service beginning on a Monday (excluding court holidays) within the next 90 days. You may postpone your service using the Superior Court's online jury portal at https://juryservice.sbcourts.org. Please have your Juror ID and your PIN number ready. They are located on the front page in the lower left-hand section of your summons. Staff will review and process the submitted request. You will be notified of the results via email, text message, letter, or phone call. If you are unable to submit your request via the online jury portal, you may come to the jury services office and speak with a staff member.
From time to time prospective jurors may make a mistake when answering a question in eResponse. The Jury Services office will contact you directly if there is an error on your responses to the questionnaire. No further action is needed.
No person is exempt from service by reason of occupation. Based on their student status, students may request a postponement of their service to the next school break (in this case we will defer past 90 days if necessary).
If you have an emergency on the day you are to report, notify the Jury Services Office. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
- In Santa Barbara please call (805) 882-4530.
- In Santa Maria please call (805) 614-6464.
If a general emergency occurs, such as an earthquake, flood, fire, civil unrest, etc., call 855-955-1103 for instructions concerning jury service.
When issued, please wear your juror badge at all times while you are at the courthouse. It is important that people recognize you as a juror. Overhearing statements by attorneys, defendants, or other parties could cause a mistrial.
Before going to a courtroom for jury selection, jury staff will keep you informed about breaks. Once you are assigned to a courtroom for jury selection, the judge will inform you of breaks, lunch periods and the time trial will begin and end each day.
Business attire is suggested. Jurors are advised to dress in layers as the temperature of the jury assembly areas and courtrooms can be unpredictable. Ties are not required. Be comfortable but avoid extremes in dress. Beach attire such as tank tops, shorts and flip flops are not appropriate for jury service.
Employers are not required by law to compensate employees with their regular wages while on jury duty. Many employers do have jury benefits and will continue your wages while you serve. Check with your employer regarding the company policy BEFORE you report for jury service.
You may take notes, but you should not become so involved in note-taking that you miss important points that are being told to you.
- For the Santa Barbara court location only, your jury summons may be used as a free MTD bus pass on your first reporting day. Hand the summons to the driver for validation. Check with Jury Services if you are required to return a second day. Please see www.sbmtd.gov for schedules/routes.
- For bus service within the Santa Maria area, please see the Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT) website for schedules/routes: www.ci.santa-maria.ca.us/3075.html
- For bus service between Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley to Santa Maria Superior Court or Lompoc Superior Court, please see The Breeze Bus website at www.breezebus.com for schedules/routes, or call 800-417-2137.
- For bus service between Guadalupe and Santa Maria, please contact The Guadalupe Flyer at (805) 922-8476 for schedules/routes.
If you need proof of your appearance for jury service for your employer, a form will be furnished by the jury staff on your first day of service. Should you return a second day for selection or as a sworn juror, a jury staff member, the bailiff, or court clerk can sign your confirmation of appearance on a daily basis. Please bring this form with you each day.
DO NOT park in spaces for handicapped, car pool, reserved or in spaces with limited time (violators will be ticketed.)
- SANTA BARBARA:
The jury parking lot is located at 1019 Garden Street (located between Figueroa & Carrillo Streets). Parking is limited. Please show your summons to the parking attendant to gain entry to the lot.
The city parking lot on Anacapa Street across from the courthouse is very convenient and the first 75 minutes are free. More downtown Santa Barbara parking information here.
- SANTA MARIA:
Courthouse parking is limited. Free parking is available in the mall parking lot located across the street from the courthouse on the corner of Cook and Miller streets and in surrounding areas.
Upon entering the Civic Center Plaza you will find parking to your left. The court is located to the left of the Police Department.
Parking is limited, so please allow sufficient time.
Beginning the second day of jury service (and for each day thereafter) you will be paid fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day, plus thirty-four cents a mile ($0.34), roundtrip, from your home to the court (California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 215). Jurors do not receive any compensation for the first day of service under state law.
Checks for jury service are computed at the completion of the trial to which you were assigned and are mailed to you at your home address. Checks should be received within 4 to 6 weeks after the end of the trial.
Questions regarding jury payment checks should be directed as follows: For service at Santa Barbara Superior Court, call (805) 882-4530. For service at Santa Maria or Lompoc Superior Court, call (805) 614-6464.
If you are serving on a case and are not required to report for a day or for several days, you will not receive jury fees, credit for service, or written verification of service for those days on which you are not required to report. You are expected to return to work, or notify your employer, any day or days you are not required to report for jury service.
If you require special accommodations or have a special situation that is not addressed here, please call your local Jury Services office during regular business hours.
If you have a question while in the courtroom, ask the bailiff if the question should be answered by the judge. The bailiff will insure that the question is appropriately forwarded. If you cannot hear, are feeling ill or need to leave the courtroom, notify the bailiff and explain your situation. The bailiff will assist you and will advise the judge accordingly.
No weapons of any kind are allowed in the courthouse, including courtrooms and the jury assembly building. This includes pocket knives, mace and/or pepper spray. If you are carrying any weapons, even for your own protection, please leave them in your car or at home. All divisions of the Santa Barbara Superior Court including Santa Maria, Lompoc and Solvang conduct weapons screening. This screening is similar to what you would experience at any airport. Your person and property are subject to search and x-ray examination. Please notify the guards if you have a medical condition which requires special accommodation when walking through a metal detector. For the full list of prohibited items, click here.
All jurors and prospective jurors may be required to go through the metal detectors when directed to a courtroom. When reporting for jury duty, please allow extra time to go through the weapons screening line.
California law provides that you may be summoned for jury service once every twelve (12) months. You will be placed on-call for approximately five (5) court working days. You will be called to report during that period only if there is a trial for which a jury is needed. When you are sent to a courtroom as a prospective juror and you are chosen as an actual trial or alternate juror, your jury obligation will be fulfilled upon the conclusion of deliberation. If you are not chosen as a juror or alternate, your jury service will be fulfilled upon your dismissal by the court (i.e.: you are excused by challenge) or upon the swearing of the jury, even if you were not called into the jury box for questioning.
Trials are of varying lengths. Cases in Santa Barbara County Superior Court may typically range from one to six days, or even longer in some cases. The trial judge will advise you of the trial duration and may excuse or postpone you from serving on a particular case if your service would amount to an extreme hardship.
Due to the nature of jury service and court processes, there are often periods of waiting. We suggest bringing something to read. There are brief recesses throughout the day, and you will have at least one hour for lunch.