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Effective August 6, 2021, irrespective of vaccination status, the wearing of face masks is required for all court employees under the supervision and authority of the President Judge, or any individuals entering any courtroom or court facility under the supervision and authority of the President Judge, including all Magisterial District Court, the office of Court Administration, the Domestic Relations Building, the Juvenile Justice Center, and the offices of Adult Probation and Pretrial Services, pursuant to Administrative Order 2021-16.

Masks shall not be required for individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.

Further, irrespective of vaccination status, individuals who have been directed to quarantine, isolate, or self-monitor at home for the coronavirus by any doctor, hospital or health agency or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have flu-like symptoms are prohibited from entering any courtroom or court facility under the supervision and authority of the President Judge.

More information is available on our
Judicial Emergency Orders and COVID-19 Information page.

What is the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case

Civil Cases

The person who commences a civil lawsuit is called the plaintiff. The person against whom the suit is brought is the defendant. In some cases, there may be more than one plaintiff or defendant. Long before the jury proceedings, the plaintiff will have filed with the court a written complaint stating the basis for his or her complaint against the defendant, and requesting money to compensate for his or her damages. The defendant's written answer states why defendant believes he is not responsible for the damage. A defendant's answer may also contain a counterclaim, a complaint the defendant says he has against the plaintiff usually concerning the same matter. These papers are called pleadings and jurors should understand that they are not evidence, merely the written contentions of the parties. Jurors rarely see the pleadings, and are not concerned with issues in the case other than those outlined by the trial judge.

Criminal Cases

When a defendant is charged with criminal violation of the law, the district attorney files a complaint or information against the person accused. The information specifies the charges, but it is not evidence. The plaintiff in a criminal case is always the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth is represented by the district attorney or his or her assistant. The person accused of breaking the law is the defendant. An information is the pleading that sets out the charge. One major difference between civil cases and criminal cases is that in civil cases, only 10 of the 12 jurors need reach the same decision to render a result. In criminal cases the decision must be unanimous. The final decision of the jury is called the verdict.

More Information for Jurors
About Jury Service in Northampton County
Jury Service FAQ
Juror Questionnaire
How Jurors are Selected
The Trial & Trial Procedure
Conduct of Jurors During a Trial
What is Evidence?
The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases

The Jury Clerk's Office will be able to get jurors answers or information not provided on this website. Call 610-829-6730.

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