A popular question among military members is whether or not they are required to perform jury duty. The quick answer is, yes and no.
There is no law that prohibits military members from serving on jury duty, though some states automatically exempt military members from serving on a jury. Military members may also be excused from jury duty service if it affects readiness or operations capability.
The official policy of the Armed Forces is that US military members on active duty should fulfill their civic responsibility by serving on State and local juries, so long as it does not interfere with military duties.
However, US military members may not be required to serve as a juror due to state or federal law. (Military members are only eligible to serve on state and local juries and are exempt from serving on federal juries).
All General and flag officers, commanders, and all personnel assigned to the operating forces, in a training status, or stationed outside the United States are exempt from serving on a State or local jury due to interference with mission capability.
Are Military Members Required by Law to Perform Jury Duty?
It is DoD policy to permit members of the Armed Forces to maximally fulfill their civic responsibilities consistent with their military duties. For Service members stationed in the United States, serving on a State or local jury is one such civic obligation. Service members are exempt from jury duty, when it unreasonably would interfere with performance of their military duties or adversely affect the readiness of a unit, command, or activity.
What to do if you receive a jury summons
If you receive a jury summons, the first thing you should do is review your jury summons. Some state and local court systems automatically offer exemptions for those serving in the military. But don’t assume your court system will automatically exempt you from jury duty. You should first verify with the court system, and if you are exempted, inquire how you should indicate this on the jury summons form.
What if you aren’t automatically exempt from jury duty?
If your location does not automatically exempt military members from jury duty, then you should contact your Commanding Officer (CO) before sending in your completed jury summons questionnaire. It is your CO’s responsibility to determine whether or not you will serve on a jury. Your CO is responsible for notifying the state or local official if you require an exemption from jury duty service.
In some cases, your unit CO will have no problem with you serving on a jury. Bt many times your prolonged absence could affect mission capability. Respond to your jury summons questionnaire accordingly.
If you perform jury duty as a military member
Most municipalities pay jurors for their service. The amount varies by location and is usually little more than a daily stipend. Some judicial systems, however, also offer jurors additional payments for transportation, parking, and/or food.
If you serve on a state or local jury, you will still receive full pay and benefits from the military and you will not be charged leave while you serve. Any money earned for jury duty service will be paid to the US Treasury. However, military members may keep other payments such as transportation costs, parking, or food reimbursements.
Beware of Jury Duty Scams
Beware of a common jury duty scam. In this scam, thieves pose as jury coordinators to try and steal your identity. They inform you that you purposefully dodged a jury summons and threaten to issue a warrant for your arrest. After you protest, they request your personal information (DOB, SSN, etc), and pretend to verify your information. In fact, they are taking it to steal your identity.
Don’t give in to this intimidation! NEVER give out personal information over the phone!