At the Courthouse
The following information applies generally to all courthouses. Because practices may be different in the courthouse where you serve, always read your Juror Summons and check with your local Jury Office to learn about the specific requirements in your county/Baltimore City.
What to Wear: There is no formal dress code – but you are in a courthouse and you must dress appropriately for the seriousness of the proceedings.Acceptable:
- Clothing that is neat, clean, comfortable and not revealing.
- Clothing worn for an office job or for a job interview.
- Slacks and a shirt with a collar for men.
- Dress, skirt or slacks and a blouse for women.
- Uniforms (e.g., law enforcement, military, medical, work, etc., except when worn for religious reasons).
- Employer badges or work name tags.
- T-shirts with logos, graphic T-shirts (T-shirts with words or pictures), or undershirts worn as the top layer of clothing.
- Beach or athletic wear.
- Abbreviated clothing (for example, shorts, cut-offs, muscle shirts, halter or tank tops, bare midriffs, exposed undergarments, etc.).
- See-through clothing.
- Hats (except when worn for religious reasons).
- Dressing in clothing that is not acceptable or that causes disruption to court proceedings may result in an extension of your service term or another sanction.
- You may spend time in a jury deliberation room, so please do not wear strong fragrances.
- The courthouse may be chilly – bring a sweater or jacket.
Courthouse Entrance: There may be a special entrance for jurors - check your Juror Summons. Wherever you enter, you will go through a metal detector and your bags may be searched. Weapons, knives and any kind of sharp objects are prohibited. If you try to enter the courthouse with a weapon, etc., it will be confiscated and you may be arrested.
What You Can Bring to the Courthouse: You might have to wait, so you may want to bring work or something to read with you. The courthouse may be cold – bring a sweater or jacket.
- You can generally bring an electronic device (for example, laptop, cell phone, MP3 player), but use is limited or prohibited in certain areas.
- Electronic devices must be turned off, inoperable, and not used in a courtroom. In some courthouses, they are not permitted in the courtroom even if turned off.
- Electronic devices cannot be brought into the jury deliberation room.
- If you violate the restrictions, your electronic device may be confiscated by security or other court personnel, and you may be arrested.
- Be conscious of noise – if you use your electronic device to listen to music, videos, etc., you must use headphones so you do not disturb courthouse staff or your fellow jurors.
- While you are on jury service, including while you are in the jury assembly area, you cannot use your electronic device to research, investigate or communicate regarding any case for which you might serve on the jury. You cannot, for example, research a case using online media outlets or other websites. You also cannot communicate about a case on a blog or using social networking, Twitter, text, instant messaging, telephone or email.
- Many courthouses permit jurors to bring food into the jury assembly area, but others prohibit food, other than for special dietary or health needs. If you have special dietary or health need, bring your required food or drink with you and notify the Jury Office.
- Food and drink generally are not permitted in any courtroom.
- If the courthouse does not permit you to bring in food, you will be able to leave for lunch. Be sure to be back at the courthouse at the time the judge or Jury Office tells you to return.
Child Care/Adult Care: No courthouse provides child care or elder care. Please, do not bring children or adults needing care with you. If you bring a child or adult needing care with you, you could be sanctioned by the court.
Orientation: At Orientation, you will learn about how jurors are selected and what they do. You may also see a brief film about jury service. Staff from the Jury Office will tell you about scheduling, pay, attendance slips and other matters, and answer any additional questions that you may have.
Smoking: Smoking is not permitted inside any courthouse. There may be a designated smoking area outside.
Personal and Family Emergencies: Because your absence can delay a trial, it is important that you report each day you are required. If you become ill or have a family emergency (such as a sudden illness, accident or death in the family) on the day you are to report for jury service or during a trial:
- Call your local Jury Office immediately for instructions. Be sure to leave a message with full contact information if no one answers the phone.
- If you report that you are ill, you may be told to ask your physician to send a medical excuse to the Jury Office.
- If your family has an emergency while you are sitting on a jury, your family can call the Jury Office. They should give your name and the name of the judge presiding over the case (if known).