If you have any questions about jury service in Vermont, the Jury Administration Office can help you.
The Jury Administration Office
32 Cherry Street, Suite 350
Burlington, VT 05401-7305
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find jury reporting instructions for specific courts.
The jury is one of the most important parts of our American legal system. The right to a trial by jury is guaranteed to every citizen by the United States and Vermont Constitutions. Vermont calls for trial by jury only in the Civil and Criminal Divisions.
In Vermont you will serve only in the county where you live. The list of prospective jurors comes from voter checklists and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles drivers list. Names are randomly selected from the countywide population by computer.
To qualify to serve as a juror, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States and be 18 years of age
- Reside within the county where the summons instructs you to appear
- Be able to read, write, understand, and speak English
- Be mentally and physically capable for jury service
- Have not served a term of imprisonment in this state after conviction of a felony
- Have not served jury duty in a state court in the previous two years
Once you receive a summons, please complete the accompanying questionnaire within 14 days. You can fill in the questionnaire online or mail in the paper copy. Jury administration will review your answers to the qualifying questions. You will receive a postcard in the mail if the court disqualifies you.
If you are qualified, see your summons for the date you are to appear for jury duty. After 5:00 PM the day before your scheduled appearance date, please call the jury phone line on the front page of your summons. A recorded message will tell you if you are needed. The reporting instructions can be found at the link below.
By law, the courts will excuse from jury duty anyone with a mental or physical conditions that would keep them from serving as a juror. There is not an exemption based on age, but you may request to be excused if you have a hardship that would make it difficult to serve. You may also request to be excused or have duty postponed for financial reasons, travel out of state, or because you are providing care for another person. If you are able to perform jury duty but have a serious conflict with the service date, you may ask for a postponement to a future date.
If you need an excuse for any reason, medical or otherwise, you should submit a detailed letter clearly explaining your situation. Please include supporting documentation. Documentation can be a letter from a health care provider, copy of travel reservations, or copy of student’s ID or class schedule. Send all requests in writing to the Jury Administration Office. The court will consider all requests on a case-by-case basis. The court will notify you of its decision.
Submit your request with your questionnaire or when the need arises. For online questionnaires, select Request Schedule Change/ Request Excuse from the questionnaire dashboard. See contact information on this website if you wish to send your request by email or fax.
When entering the courthouse, you will pass through a metal detector or security screening. This is a routine procedure. Weapons of any sort are not allowed in the courthouse. These weapons include firearms, knives, and personal protection sprays.
A court officer or staff person will direct you where to go within the courthouse. You will check in by signing your name on the juror roster.
The presiding judge and the court clerk will explain your duties as a juror and what the court expects of you. This is the time for you to ask questions about jury service or the operation of the court.
The jury selection process for individual trials may then begin immediately. The court will try to keep delays to a minimum, but it may be impossible to avoid a wait while the judge reviews cases with lawyers. Cases often settle at the last minute, sometimes not until the jurors are in the courthouse. The simple presence of the jurors can even help resolve disputes. You should bring reading materials or other items with you for these down times.
Your employer is not required by law to compensate you while you are on jury duty. But your employer must give you the time off to serve. You cannot be fired from your job because of jury service.
Vermont law permits payment for jury duty if you request it. The court will provide you with the forms to request pay on your first day of jury duty. You will not receive pay if your employer is already compensating you for that day of service. (Please check with your personnel department on your company's policy on jury duty.)
By law, jurors in Vermont can serve no more than three times in a two-year period. This means you may serve up to three jury draws and additional days as required to complete up to three trials. The number of days that a juror actually serves depends on many things: the workload of the court, the number of trials selected to hear, and the length of the trials. Most jurors come to the courthouse no more than ten days. The normal day for the jury begins at 8:00 AM and ends by 4:30 PM, though sometimes a trial may run later.
The court will not summon you to appear for jury duty for at least two years after you have served on a jury. If you receive a summons within this two-year period, the court will disqualify you.
Being a juror is an important responsibility. To help ensure that all parties receive a fair trial, jurors are asked to follow a few rules. If you become a juror, please
- Be in court on time. A trial cannot go forward until all jurors are present.
- Tell the court immediately if you discover during the trial that you have personal knowledge or a connection with the case. The judge will decide whether to excuse you.
- Pay close attention to what the judge, lawyers, and witnesses say. If you cannot hear, raise your hand.
- Unless the judge allows it, refrain from taking notes, even if the trial is long or involved
- Inform the court immediately if you have an emergency that could affect your ability to carry out jury duty
- Keep an open mind throughout the trial
- Avoid talking with fellow members of the jury or with anyone else while court is in session. When court is not in session, please avoid discussing the case—even with friends and family—until the trial is over.
- Avoid learning about or investigating the case from any source outside the courtroom—including television, radio, newspapers, and the internet—even just searching for information about the lawyers or judge
- Avoid communicating anything about the case, either in person or through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any online messaging service
- If you notice unauthorized use of the internet or social media, tell the court officer right away
- Let the court officer know if anyone tries to contact you about the trial