Contacting the Jury Office:

How can I reach the DeKalb County Jury Commission?
The Jury Commission Office is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00 12:00 p.m.  During business hours, jurors may call (815) 895-7158 to speak with a staff member or leave a message.  The Jury Commission address is:

DeKalb County Courthouse
133 West State Street
Sycamore, Illinois 60178


Jury Selection:

Where does the jury commissioner obtain names of prospective jurors?
The list of names that is used to call people for jury service is created by combining the Countyís voter registration list, Illinois Licensed Driver and Illinois Public I.D. records.  Names are randomly selected from that master list for possible service as a juror. 

I have been called to serve three times in the past five years and none of my friends have ever been called. Why donít you pick some other people?
Since the process of selecting residents of DeKalb County is random, some people may be selected more than others.

I can no longer fulfill my duties as a juror. Canít you take my name from your records?
Under certain circumstances, such as permanent mental or physical disability, jury staff can permanently remove a name from its records.

I am not a citizen of the United States but I would still like to serve as a juror. Why canít I?
The law automatically disqualifies non-citizens, convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored, and people under 18 years of age from jury service. 


Jury Service:

Why is jury service important? 
The United States Constitution guarantees all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or economic status the right to trial by an impartial jury of one's peers. In order to uphold this guarantee, we need those summoned to participate in the jury process to ensure every citizen's right to have their case decided by an impartial jury selected from a representative pool of prospective jurors.

Who is entitled to a jury trial? 
Any person charged with a criminal offense or any party in a civil case has the right to a trial by jury. All parties are equal before the law and each is given the same fair and impartial treatment.

What are my duties as a juror? 
Your duty as a juror is to weigh all of the evidence and testimony presented to you and to decide the outcome of the case based upon the law and the evidence. Your decision must be fair, impartial and free of any bias or prejudice. Jury service is the basis of our judicial system and is essential to the administration of justice.

How are jurors selected for a trial? 
After your panel is selected and reports to a courtroom, a process known as voir dire begins. During voir dire, the judge and possibly the attorneys will ask you questions to see if you can keep an open mind and be fair. After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused for that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge as to what is expected of you. If you are not selected, you will return to the jury room and may be sent to another courtroom with another panel.

How long does jury service usually last if I am selected? 
If you are selected to sit on a jury, the average trial length is two to three days, although trials may be longer or shorter depending upon the facts of the case.

What are the different types of cases I might be selected for?
There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil.  In a CRIMINAL case, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a CIVIL case, the jury decides whether or not money damages should be given and, if given, how much those damages will be.

What should I wear to jury service?
Jurors should dress comfortably, but properly for a courthouse. Shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops and halters are NOT permitted. If you report wearing any of these items, you will be asked to return home, at your own expense, to change into more suitable attire.

Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. Failure to attend as directed may subject you to penalties provided by law. All DeKalb 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 their civil rights have NOT been restored.

What can I bring with me to jury service? 
The jury process can require a juror to wait a considerable amount of time. For this reason, jurors are encouraged to bring a book or other form of reading material with them to the jury assembly room. Jurors may NOT bring cameras, walkmans, radios or cellular phones.

Can I bring someone to jury service with me? 
No. Only those summoned for jury service are allowed in the jury assembly room. You may have someone escort you to and from jury service, but that person is not allowed to enter the jury assembly room. The jury assembly room is for prospective jurors ONLY.

After I've served, when am I qualified to serve again? 
After completing jury service, you should NOT be called to serve again for a period of 12 months from the date you last served. If you are summoned again within this time period, simply call the Office of Jury Commisssion at (815) 895-7158 to be excused.

What happens if I do not show up for jury service? 
Failure to appear for jury service when summoned is a serious matter. You may be held in contempt of court and could be fined up to $500.00.  It is in your best interest to appear if you are summoned to avoid any further action.


Pay for jury service:

Will I be compensated for jury duty?
Yes. You will be paid $25.00 for the 1st day of service and $50.00 for each additional day of service. Payment is computed on the last day of your service week, and a check will be mailed to your home address within 14 working days.


Work Issues:

Must my employer pay me while I'm on jury service? 
No. An employer is NOT required by law to pay employees who are on jury service but many employers do. You should check with your company's human resources department before serving to see if your company pays your salary for days you are a juror. If you DO receive your salary while on jury service, you should ask what your employer requires as proof that you served as a juror.

Can my employer fire me for performing jury service? 
No. According to Illinois law, "ÖAn employer may not deny an employee time off for jury duty. No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of the employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such serviceÖ" 705-ILCS 305/4.1(a).  If you are fired or experience workplace problems based on your participation in jury service, contact the State's Attorney's Office to report the incident.


Excuse from Service:

A prospective juror may be excused if he/she:

  • Has a physical or mental disability that would prevent him/her from serving. The prospective juror will be required to provide a doctor's note verifying the disability.
  • Must provide actual and necessary care for another and alternate arrangements are not feasible.
  • Is unable to read or understand the English language.

Each request is individually reviewed. Potential jurors are encouraged to complete the request truthfully, to the best of their knowledge. Failure to do so is against the law. Jury service is a citizen's civic duty, and responsibility.

I am unable to judge anyone because of my moral or religious beliefs. May I be excused?
Illinois law does not provide for an excuse from jury service for moral or religious beliefs. You are still required to appear for jury service. When you get to a courtroom, the judge will make that decision.

I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of what I do for a living. Why not excuse me now and save time?
DeKalb county tries civil and criminal cases, both of which require juries. The random selection process prevents you from knowing in advance what trial or even what type of trial for which you'll be selected. If when you get to a courtroom the judge excuses you, you've fulfilled your obligation for jury service. But the Jury Commission staff cannot excuse you as a potential juror because of what you do for a living. 



What about getting a postponement?
The Jury Commission realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to defer service to a more convienent time (within 90 days) in most instances. Subsequent postponements are NOT allowed unless it is an extreme emergency that was not anticipated when the first postponement was granted.