What to Expect on the First Day of Jury Service
If you think you have the basis for an exemption, excuse, or deferral from jury service, you should contact the Clerk's Office well in advance of your reporting date. Please review the Exemption from Jury Service page. Otherwise, you should plan on arriving at the court house at least one half hour in advance of your reporting time.
Parking availability varies widely from one county to another. As the Maine Superior Courts do not own their facilities, parking is dependent upon the availability of county and municipal resources. Parking in urban areas can present some difficulty. Please see the parking suggestions on the individual court location web pages.
You will be directed to the jury pool gathering room which is often located in the basement of the court house. The jury officers will greet you and check you in. If you have any particular needs (i.e., medication, physical limitations), let the officer know so accommodations can be made. Since there may be some waiting involved as other jurors are being processed and the jury trial process begins, many jurors like to bring reading materials or other items to occupy the down time.
As soon as all of the preliminary arrangements have been completed, you will be greeted by the presiding Justice and/ or shown an instructional videotape. During this time you will learn about the jury selection process. Shortly thereafter, the process of selecting actual jury panels will begin.
Jury selection often takes place on the first day of a week. Jury panels consisting of eight or twelve jurors are selected to hear the cases which are scheduled for that week. The Judge and attorneys will provide the jury with a good faith estimate of when individual trials are expected to start and finish. While it is impossible to predict such things with absolute certainty, it does provide jurors with a block of time to schedule their personal affairs around. If you have a particular scheduling conflict within the jury term, you should let the judge, clerk, or jury officer know. Most scheduling conflicts can be accommodated.
Jury trials and the jury selection process are vastly shorter in Maine than in other states. In most instances, the selection process for several panels will take only a morning; the majority of trials last only 1-3 days. Judges will often release jurors who have served on more than a couple of jury panels. We greatly respect the enormous contribution of time and expense that our jurors make to undertake this important public service and will do everything we can to try to make the experience enjoyable and worthwhile.