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Posted on May 2, 2022
One of my employees was called for grand jury service recently. It’s the first time I’ve had that happen to one of my employees. Do we have to treat this situation any differently than regular jury duty?
Grand jury service is different than the trial-court jury duty with which we are familiar. There is helpful information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.
Grand jurors consider evidence presented by a prosecutor and decide whether it’s sufficient to indict a person on one or more criminal charges. Grand jurors are randomly selected to ensure that the grand jury is an accurate representation of the population of the entire judicial district.
Your employee is likely to have questions about duration, location and compensation.
A grand jury’s duration and meeting frequency will be based on the judicial district in which an employee is serving. A grand jury is typically impaneled for three months, sometimes longer. Some grand juries meet for only a few days during their term of service (such as a one- day-per week schedule for a set period) while others meet almost every business day for at least a few hours.
Before an individual is impaneled onto the grand jury the judge explains how the grand jury operates in that district. The prospective grand juror will have an opportunity to speak to the judge about any special circumstances that may impact his or her ability to serve.
An employee typically receives a summons to serve in the judicial district (usually the county) in which he or she lives. The grand jury is always assigned to the same courthouse in each judicial district and transferring to another location within the judicial district is not allowed.
Switching service. Tell it to the Judge
If an individual is summoned to be a grand juror and would prefer to be assigned to a trial court jury, the request may be granted only at the discretion of the judge. Most trials will conclude within three days, so trial-court service is typically a shorter commitment. If an employee is interested in switching, the employee should report for grand-jury service and speak to the judge, explaining how grand-jury service would be a hardship.
The payment for grand-jury service is different than regular jury duty. Under state law, an employer must pay an employee on any form of jury duty for the first three days of service, after which the employee receives $50 a day from the state. As a grand juror, an employee will be paid based on information provided by the juror in the Confidential Financial Questionnaire.
It is also up to the individual employer if it wishes to offer additional compensation to grand jurors based on company policy.
Confidential Financial Questionnaire
Grand jurors need to submit a completed Confidential Financial Questionnaire on their first day of service. The employee will need information about the employer’s compensation policy in order to complete the questionnaire. The information on this form will be used by the court to determine the financial impact of grand jury service, and your rate of compensation, if any, for your juror service.
Grand Juror Instructions and Information brochure (PDF 773.95 KB)
Grand Juror’s Handbook (PDF 51.08 KB)
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