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Jury Duty FAQs

Table Of Contents


1. How was I selected?

Names are selected by computer from the State of Minnesota's list of registered voters, driver's license holders and state identification card holders. Those selected at random are mailed qualifying questionnaires which are to be completed and returned to the court. After the court determines that you are qualified to serve, your name may be drawn and you will be assigned to a two month period during which you may be called to serve.

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2. 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.

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3. Can I volunteer for jury service?

The pool of jurors is randomly selected by computer and accepting volunteers would compromise the random selection. However, if you are already a member of a juror pool and are generally available, the jury clerks welcome your willingness to serve and would appreciate you letting them know.

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4. I have vacation plans and/or other commitments scheduled. Do I have to change my plans?

All scheduled vacations and/or appointments you have that cannot be rescheduled will be honored. Please notify the Jury Clerk whenever a change occurs in your schedule.

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5. Can my service be postponed?

If serving on a jury for the time frame for which you are summoned would result in an undo hardship for you, you may request to be deferred to a later two-month period. Examples: Full-time college students, work or livelihood issues, or a temporary medical condition. Please submit a written request with your information card.

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6. I was just on jury service. Do I have to come again?

If you were on either state or federal jury duty anytime within the past 2 years, you may request to be excused. Send your request in writing to the Jury Clerk.

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7. I am over 70 years old. Do I have to serve?

Seniors are welcome to participate in jury duty! However, if you are 70 years old or older, you may request to be excused if you wish. Please submit a written request to the Jury Clerk.

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8. Do I need to reserve a hotel room?

If you live more than 60 miles from the court, you are welcome to stay at a hotel/motel or with family/friends. You will receive a stipend to cover your accommodations and meals. The amount of the stipend varies. Check with the Jury Clerk to verify the amount you will be allotted.

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9. Will I have to report every day for two months straight?

No. You are "on call" for two months. During that time, a Notice to Report assigning you a specific date and time to report will be mailed to your residence. A panel letter will be mailed to your home assigning you a date and time to report about one week in advanced of your reporting time. The week-end (or day) before you are to report, you will be asked to call a voice mail-box to see if the trial schedule has changed. If the date or time has changed, you will be given new information. You will come for jury duty only if a jury is scheduled to be selected.

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10. On the days that I am not asked to report for duty, what do I do?

On days when your attendance is not required, you should continue your normal schedule of work, school, etc.

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11. Will I be paid for jury duty?

Everyone who reports for jury duty will be paid, regardless of whether or not you are selected to serve on a trial. Jurors are paid $40 per day plus 56.5 cents per mile. Your employer may or not pay you for time spent on jury service. If you are paid by your employer you may be required to turn over your pay to them. Please check with your management on your company's policies.

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12. Can my employer fire me for not being at work due to jury duty?

No. Federal Statue 28 U.S. C. 1875 provides employment protection rights for federal jurors. The Jury Clerk will provide verification of your attendance for your employer.

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13. What about parking?

The U.S. District Courthouses are located in the downtown areas of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fergus Falls. Exact locations can be found by clicking on the courthouse location on the main menu. Street parking is extremely limited. You should plan to park in a parking facility or lot located in the vicinity of the courthouse.

As of January 1, 2004, for Minneapolis and St. Paul courthouses, in order to get reimbursed for your parking, you must park in the designated lots indicated by the District Court. You should receive a listing of these lots in your notice to report. If you need a new list, please contact the Jury Clerk immediately.

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14. What about food?

You may bring a bag lunch or purchase your lunch at one of the many restaurants in the vicinity of the court.

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15. What should I expect to happen?

The jury clerk will check your ID, show you a brief video and give you some basic directions. You will then be escorted to the courtroom. There may be many court officials and attorneys in the courtroom. The judge may make some preliminary remarks, then jurors will be seated at random. Each juror will be questioned by the judge (either as a group or individually) and possibly, by one or more attorneys. Following the questioning, you will either be selected as a juror or excused.

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16. Will I serve on civil or criminal trials?

You may be selected for either type of trial.

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17. 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.

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18. Will there be long periods of waiting?

Maybe. Sometimes you may be required to wait in the jury assembly room or outside the courtroom during court recesses. You may want to bring along a book or magazine for your own enjoyment. You will not be allowed to read, however during the jury selection process.

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19. What should I wear?

Casual attire is acceptable. Men may wear sport jackets, sport shirts, sweaters and slacks. It is recommended that women wear blouses, sweaters, skirts, pants or dresses. Halters, tank tops, shorts and jeans with exaggerated tears are NOT appropriate. Courtrooms are often cool. You may want to bring a sweater or jacket.

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20. May I smoke?

Smoking is prohibited in federal buildings. However, there are designated smoking areas outside of each courthouse that you are welcome to visit during breaks or lunch.

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21. How long do trials last?

On average, jury trials in Federal Court last less than two weeks, although some trials do last longer. The average trial day runs from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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22. If I serve on a trial, is my service over after the trial is completed?

Yes. You are on call for a 60 day period. However, the jury clerks always do their best to call jurors from the pool who have not already served on a trial. If you are not selected to serve on your first trial, you may be called back 2 or 3 more times.

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23. Is there any way I can provide feedback to the court regarding my experience?

Yes. Both selected and excused jurors may receive exit questionnaires to provide the Court with any feedback based on your experience.

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24. May I bring my cell phone with me?

Yes. Cell phones, pagers and other sound reviewing, transmitting and enhancement devices may be brought into the courthouse. However, they must be turned off at all times in the courtroom and adjacent areas where their operation could be disruptive to court proceedings.

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