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 statutes, 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 an entire year? What if I have vacation plans?
- 3. What if I have an excuse other than the four list under question number 14?
- 4. What if I am only available during a certain part of the year?
- 5. How will I know the status of my request for excuse?
- 6. Can I request an excuse over the phone or by e-mail?
- 7. What if the questionnaire recipient has died?
- 8. What if I have previously served on a jury?
- 9. What if the questionnaire recipient is not able to fill out the form?
- 10. What if I have moved?
- 11. What if I move after I have returned my questionnaire?
- 12. Which courthouse will I have to report to?
- 13. Why am I being asked to report to a county that I do not live in?
- 14. What if I accidentally used ink to fill out the questionnaire?
- 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?
Each year, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota creates Master Jury Wheels. To create the Master Jury Wheels, potential juror names are selected at random 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 year. You can live your life and make plans as you normally would. You will be part of our qualified jury wheel for the year. We summon jurors, by means of random selection, to be on call for a two month period of time. If you are summoned, you will receive paperwork from us approximately one month before your on call period 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 can only be excused for the four reasons listed under question number 14. No other excuses are taken into account. If you feel you need to be excused for any other reason you can notify us if you are summoned. Please note that the paper form has 10 boxes under question number 14, but we only have 4 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 sent a summons you can notify us if you have circumstances that make it difficult for you to serve during certain parts of the year.
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 excuse under question 14, then, generally, you may 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. If you have questions as to whether your specific situation would qualify as an excuse under question 14, you may contact a jury clerk.
6. Can I request an excuse 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 on the enclosed paper form, or online using eJuror. Requests for excuse 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.
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 mark 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 on the enclosed paper form, or online using eJuror. 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 on the enclosed paper form, or online using eJuror. 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.
If 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 are using eJuror to complete your form, update your address on the appropriate screen. 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.
It is noted on the bottom of the questionnaire that you are to notify the court in writing. Address changes can also be made over the phone, or online through the "Update Personal Information" option in the eJuror program. 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 will report to the courthouses located in Minneapolis and 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 the Duluth courthouses.
The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota is a federal court. We are completely separate from state courts located in each county. We are required to have a fair representation of our entire district; therefore, we call jurors from the entire state of Minnesota.
We prefer to have the questionnaires filled out in a #2 pencil; however, we can accept and process forms filled out in ink.
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.
- 1. What do I do when I receive a Notice to Report?
- 2. What happens when I report for jury servcie?
- 3. What is the dress code?
- 4. What amenities are available for jurors?
- 5. Will I be paid for jury service?
- 6. What happens if I fail to report for jury service?
- Follow the instructions on the Notice to Report. Remember to call the jury voicemail message, as noted on your Notice to Report, before you report for jury service;
- Report to the Jury Assembly Room at the courthouse on time. Please allow yourself plenty of time to find parking and the courthouse;
- Bring a photo I.D.;
- Bring your parking ticket for validation;
- Be prepared to report your mileage.
When you report for jury service, you will check in, attend a brief orientation, and shortly thereafter, proceed to the courtroom for jury selection.
During jury selection, the judge will ask you a series of questions to determine if you are appropriate to serve on that particular jury. If you are not selected to be on the jury, you will be permitted to leave after the selection process is finished; however, you will remain on call for the rest of your two month service period. If you are chosen to be a juror, you will then receive instructions for how to report for jury service for that trial - trial hours are set by the Judge. On most occasions, the trial will begin as soon as the jury has been selected.
Please dress appropriately for court. Shorts, hats, halter or tank tops and jeans with tears are not acceptable courtroom attire. The courtrooms can be quite cool, so dress accordingly.
The U.S. District Court strives to make your time in the Jury Assembly Room as comfortable as possible. Coffee, water, juice and cookies, as well as magazines and daily newspapers are provided. Phones, a refrigerator and microwave are also available for your use. Reading materials, cell phones and laptops are allowed in the Jury Assembly Room. Food and beverages are not allowed in the courtroom. Computers, reading materials, and cell phones may not be used once you are in the courtroom.
All jurors receive $40.00 per day, and 56.5 cents per mile traveled to and from the courthouse. If you live 60 miles or more from the courthouse, you may choose to stay overnight during your jury service and/or the night before selection. If you choose to stay overnight during your jury service you are paid a subsistence fee to cover your lodging, meals and incidental expenses. If you stay at a hotel you are required to submit a receipt before you are paid any subsistence fees. Please see the jury information you received in the mail or contact your Jury Clerk for the most current subsistence fees.
We try our very best to work with all prospective jurors so that they can timely report to jury service. In order for this to happen, we ask that you keep the Jury Clerk informed of any changes in your availability.