Jury Duty Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What is the difference between State and Federal court?
- 2. Can I volunteer for jury service?
- 3. Will I be sequestered (spend the night away from home)?
1. What is the difference between State and Federal court?
Federal courts hear cases involving violations of federal statues, crimes committed on federal property or disputes between residents of different states. State courts hear cases involving violations of state laws or disputes between two or more residents of that state. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota is a Federal Court. This Court is completely separate from State Courts.
2. Can I volunteer for jury service?
No, the pool of jurors is randomly selected by computer and accepting volunteers would compromise the random selection
3. Will I be sequestered (spend the night away from home)?
It is extremely rare for jurors in this Court to be sequestered. If this should occur, your hotel and meal costs will be paid by Court funds.
- 1. How was I selected?
- 2. Will I be on call for two years? What if I have vacation plans?
- 3. What if I have an excuse other than the four listed under question number 14?
- 4. What if I am only available during a certain part of the year? What if I am a student?
- 5. How will I know the status of my request for excuse?
- 6. Can I request to be excused over the phone or by e-mail?
- 7. What if the questionnaire recipient has died?
- 8. What if I accidentally used ink to fill out the questionnaire?
- 9. What if I have previously served on a jury?
- 10. What if the questionnaire recipient is not able to fill out the form?
- 11. What if I have moved?
- 12. What if I move after I have returned my questionnaire?
- 13. To which courthouse will I report?
- 14. Why am I being asked to report to a county in which I do not live?
- 15. What if I have a prior conviction and I do not know if my civil rights have been restored?
1. How was I selected?
Every two years, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota creates a Master Jury Wheel by random selection using an electronic data processing system. The names are randomly selected from a non-repeating list of registered voters, driver's license holders and state identification card holders obtained from the State of Minnesota and are proportionally selected from each county
2. Will I be on call for an entire year? What if I have vacation plans?
You will not be on call for the entire two year period of time. You can live your life and make plans as you normally do. You will be part of our qualified jury wheel and could possibly receive a summons for a specific time in the future. We summon jurors by means of random selection. If you are summoned, you will receive paperwork from us approximately one month before your jury service begins. At that time, you can let us know about any vacations/appointments you may have.
3. What if I have an excuse other than the four listed under question number 14?
At this point in the process, you may only be excused for the four reasons listed under question number 14. No other excuses can be considered. If you feel you need to be excused for any other reason you can notify us at the time you are summonsed. Please note that the paper form has 10 boxes under question number 14, but we only have four excuse options. Please do not mark boxes 5-10.
At this point in the process it is not possible to specify what time works best for you. If you are summonsed you can notify us of your specific circumstances at that time.
5. How will I know the status of my request for excuse?
Unfortunately, we are unable to individually contact each person regarding their status at this stage of the process. However, if you completed the questionnaire and met the exempted from service categories under question nine or met one of the four grounds for requesting an excuse under question 14, you may generally assume you are excused from jury service at this time.
**Please note that in order to be excused under question 14, you must provide all requested information in the "Remarks" section of the questionnaire. If you have questions as to whether your specific situation would qualify as an excuse under question fourteen, you may contact a jury clerk.
6. Can I request to be excused over the phone or by e-mail?
The only way to request an excuse is by marking the appropriate circle under number 14 on the questionnaire and explaining your excuse in the remarks section. This can be done online using eJuror or on the enclosed paper form. Requests to be excused will not be taken over the phone or by e-mail.
7. What if the questionnaire recipient has died?
Please write "deceased" on the front of the questionnaire and return the questionnaire in the enclosed envelope.
We prefer to have the questionnaires completed with a #2 pencil; however, we will accept and process forms completed in ink.
If you have served on a jury in either state or federal court in the past two years and would like to be excused please fill in circle number 2 under question 14. Write the name of the court and exact dates that you served in the remarks section. This can be done online using eJuror or on the enclosed paper form. If you do not know the exact dates, it is your responsibility to call the court you served with and ask them for the information. You will not be excused unless this information is provided.
Someone other than the recipient may fill out the form. This can be done online using eJuror or on the enclosed paper form. Please follow the specific instructions noted in the top right hand corner on the back of the questionnaire or on the first page of the eJuror questionnaire. The person filling out the questionnaire must provide his/her name, address and the reason why the recipient is not able to complete the form.
When using eJuror to complete your form, update your address on the appropriate screen. When filling out the enclosed paper form, cross off your old address on the top left hand corner of the questionnaire and write in your new address. If you have moved out of the state of Minnesota, you will be disqualified because you are no longer a resident of the District of Minnesota. Please be sure to complete the remainder of the form and sign it.
The questionnaire states that you are to notify the court of any address changes in writing. Address changes may also be made online through the "Update Personal Information" option in the eJuror program or over the phone. Please be sure to notify the court promptly if you have a change of address.
The District of Minnesota calls two different kinds of juries each year - grand juries and petit juries. To select grand juries, names are selected from the entire state of Minnesota. Grand jurors report to either the courthouse in Minneapolis or the courthouse in St. Paul. To select petit juries, names are generally selected from the geographic location in which the jury trial will be held. This typically means that if a jury trial will be held in St. Paul or Minneapolis, petit jurors from the entire southern half of the state will be asked to report to either St. Paul or Minneapolis. Petit jurors in the northern half of the state will report to either the Fergus Falls or Duluth courthouse.
The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota is a federal court. We are completely separate from the state courts located in each of the counties. We are required to have a fair representation of our entire district; therefore, we call jurors from the entire state of Minnesota.
It is your responsibility to determine whether your civil rights have been restored. If your civil rights have been restored, please enclose documentation to prove your status. Unfortunately, without documentation showing that your civil rights have been restored, we will be unable to call you for jury service.