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Jury Duty - Summons FAQs - Grand Jury

What is the difference between a Petit and a Grand Jury?

The powers and functions of the federal grand jury differ from those of the federal trial jury, which is called the petit jury. The petit jury takes part in both civil and criminal trials. The petit jury listens to the evidence offered during trial and returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The grand jury, on the other hand, deals only with criminal matters. The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence, but only whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an "indictment." After that, the accused will go to trial.

1. Now that I received a summons for jury service, what do I have to do?

In response to the summons for grand jury service you received, you must complete the Jury Information Form within 5 days of receipt of your summons. You may either complete the paper form located at the bottom of the enclosed summons and mail it to the Court in the envelope provided, or visit the Court's website at and complete the form online using eJuror.

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2. What should I do on my reporting day?

  • Report to the Jury Assembly Room as noted on your summons. It is crucial that you report on time; please allow yourself plenty of time to find parking and the courthouse. Bring photo identification and your parking ticket for validation with you when you report.

    **IMPORTANT: Please call the jury voicemail after 5:00 p.m. the Friday before the selection to confirm your reporting schedule. Last minute schedule changes sometimes occur and cannot be predicted. If you fail to call the voice mailbox and you appear at an incorrect time, the court will not be able to reimburse you for your expenses.

    Jury Voicemail:
    Minneapolis: 612-664-5100 or 1-800-569-7653
    St. Paul: 612-664-5100 or 1-800-569-7653

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3. What attire is appropriate?

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.

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4. What happens when I report for grand jury service?

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 the grand jury. At this time, you can let the judge know if you have any concerns about serving. If you are one of the twenty-three individuals selected to be on the grand jury, you will participate in a more detailed orientation and begin your service immediately following the jury selection. If you are not selected to be on the jury, you will be permitted to leave after the selection process is finished.

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5. How long do I have to serve as a grand juror?

As a grand juror, you will be required to report for service one to three consecutive days each month for a term of twelve months. On your first day of service, you will be provided with a yearlong calendar of your reporting dates. If necessary, you may be called for special grand jury sessions for up to six months after you have served your regular twelve-month term.

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6. What if I cannot serve as a juror or cannot serve as a juror on my reporting date?

You may request to be excused from jury service or you may request to have your jury service postponed. Requests for excusal or postponement are handled on a case by case basis.

The Jury Clerk may excuse, upon request, the following occupational classes or groups of people from jury service

  • Persons over 70 years of age;
  • Persons who served as a Grand or Petit Juror in the last two (2) years;
  • Persons having active care of a child or children under 10 years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by the jury service or a person who is essential to the care of aged or infirm person(s);
  • Persons who serve without compensation as a volunteer firefighter or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for a federal, state or local government agency.

IMPORTANT: If you feel you need to be excused for a reason other than those listed above, you will need to report for service on your reporting date and ask the judge to be excused during the jury selection.

Upon request, the Jury Clerk may grant postponement of jury service for the following:

  • Persons with a health problem. You may be asked to submit a letter from your doctor to support this request.
  • Persons who are enrolled as a full-time student.
  • Persons with other extenuating circumstances (e.g. planned vacations, business travel).

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7. How do I submit a request to be excused or to postpone my jury service?

To request to be excused from jury service or to have your jury service postponed, please follow these procedures:

  • Complete the Jury Information Form online using eJuror or complete the paper form.
    1. If you are sending your Jury Information Form by mail, include with the Form a letter specifying why you need to be excused or postponed from jury service. If you are asking to postpone your service, please include the date that you will be available. If you are requesting to be excused/postponed for medical reasons, you may be asked to submit a letter from your doctor.
    2. If you are completing your Jury Information Form online, use the Excuse/Postponement option in e-Juror to submit your request.
  • You will receive a letter in the mail or an e-mail message to let you know if your request has been approved.

IMPORTANT: Requests for excusal or postponement may only be submitted by mail or online through eJuror and must be submitted by the person summonsed (not your employer).

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8. Will I be paid for jury service?

All jurors receive $50.00 per day, and $0.545 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 at a hotel, you will be reimbursed the actual cost of your lodging (not to exceed the current government rate of $151 from April to October, $135 from November to March) to cover the costs of lodging and a flat per diem rate of $76 to cover meals and incidental expenses. If you choose to stay with a friend or relative, rather than a hotel, you will receive a flat per diem rate of $76 to cover the costs of meals and incidental expenses.

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9. What if my employer will not let me serve as a juror?

While you serve as a juror, your employment is protected under federal law, 28 U.S.C. § 1875. If you have questions or problems regarding your employment as a result of your being summoned to jury service, please notify the Jury Clerk. Most employers have a jury duty policy and we encourage you to check with your employer regarding its jury duty policy.

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10. What happens if I fail to report for jury service?

A juror who fails to report for jury service and was not excused from jury service by the Court may be ordered to appear before the Court and show cause for why he or she failed to comply with the summons for jury service. Failure to appear before the Court or failure to show good cause for failing to report for jury service may result in a $1000 fine, up to three days imprisonment, or both. 28 U.S.C. § 1864(b).

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