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Juror Information FAQ

How am I selected for jury duty?

Your name is selected randomly from voter registration lists in your county located within our district. The names are drawn every four years in the year following the presidential election.

After receipt of the Summons from your office, when should I return the enclosed Juror Questionnaire?

Return the completed Questionnaire within 5 days after receipt to the Court in the postage paid, self addressed envelope that was provided.

How do I notify the Court if jury service will result in undue hardship or extreme inconvenience?

All excuses/deferrals must be in writing. You need to write out the reason(s) it would be a hardship to serve at the time you were summoned. A self-addressed, postage paid envelope was included with your summons that you may use for your excuse. Please complete the Jury Information Form and Juror Questionnaire.

How will I be notified of the status of my hardship excuse request?

Prior to your appearance date you may call our automated phone system (1-888-299-4959).

How will I be notified of my appearance date?

It is your responsibility to call our automated telephone system (1-888-299-4959) up until the date of your summons. If you provide a home telephone number you will receive a courtesy call two days prior to your scheduled jury service.

I live a long distance away. Do I need to report?

Yes. Jurors who live over 80 miles from the Courthouse may travel the night before and will receive a per diem to assist in covering lodging and meal expenses.

What should I bring with me when I report for jury duty?

Please bring your Jury Summons with you when you report. You may also want to bring books, magazines or study materials with you. Since the courtrooms tend to be cool, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket with you.

How much time will it take until I know if I am selected?

The selection time varies so you should plan on staying until 5:00 p.m.

If I am selected, what are the hours I would be expected to spend at the Courthouse?

Trials are usually held between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

If I have to stay overnight in a hotel how does that work?

If you live more than 80 miles one way from the courthouse you are entitled to stay overnight in a hotel. The hotel would be one of your choosing but you should let them know that you are a federal court juror and ask if they have a government rate. A hotel receipt must be submitted to the jury administrator in order to be reimbursed. You also need to take into consideration the subsistence rate which is intended to cover both meals and lodging. The court will not reimburse you for any amount you incur over the subsistence amount.

May I be late?

It is important that you report promptly for jury duty. If an emergency arises please notify the jury office of the circumstances and when you expect to arrive.

Montgomery, Dothan & Opelika Office: 1-334-954-3950

What if my employer wants proof that I was serving on jury duty?

There will be a Certificate of Attendance available each day in the Jury Assembly Room.

Will I be paid for my jury service?

You will be paid $40/day for each day of jury attendance or travel and mileage for your round-trip travel. Juror payment checks are mailed within 10 business days after your service. Jury checks are mailed to your home address.

What happens if I don't report for jury duty?

Any juror who fails to report for jury duty will receive a Failure to Appear letter. Jurors who fail to show adequate cause for their absence from jury duty can be held in contempt of court under the Jury Selection Act (18 U.S.C. 1866(g)).

Are jurors given breaks? Are there lunch facilities available or will we be expected to bring our lunch?

Breaks are given. There are several eateries within walking distance of the Courthouse as well as a cafeteria located in the building. Jurors are also welcome to bring their own lunch.

What should I wear for jury duty?

Jurors must wear appropriate attire. Shorts, halter or tank tops, and thong sandals are not appropriate. Since the courtrooms tend to be cool, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

Can I bring a cell phone, pager or laptop computer into the Courthouse?

Cell phones, pagers, laptop computers are not allowed in the Courthouse.

How long is my term of service?

Your term of service is approximately 2 weeks. If a trial on which you are serving runs past the end of your term, you are required to complete your service for that trial. Grand jurors may serve for 6 months or longer with no maximum number of times to report. In most instances, your will be required to report once a month for a few days until your term has expired.

After I have served a term when can I be called back to serve again?

The court's pool of jurors is replenished every 4 years; it is unlikely that you would be in the pool a second time.

What types of cases will jurors help to decide in federal court?

Federal court jurisdiction is limited to certain kind of cases listed in the Constitution. For the most part, federal courts only hear cases in which the United States is a party, cases involving violations of the Constitution or federal law, crimes on federal land, and bankruptcy cases. Federal courts also hear cases based on state laws that involve parties from different states.

What is the difference between a petit juror and a grand juror?

A petit jury is a trial for civil or criminal cases. The petit jury listens to evidence presented by both parties during a trial and returns a verdict. A grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence, but whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed. The evidence is normally presented only by an attorney for the government. The grand jury must determine from this evidence whether a person should have formal charges filed by the government. If the grand jury finds probable cause, then it will return a written statement of the charge called an indictment.

Why must I call the recorded message the evening before reporting?

The Court's schedule changes frequently. You are directed to call the recorded message the evening before you are to appear for jury duty to listen carefully to the instructions for your jury group. In some instances your case may be moved to another date, or canceled. You will also receive important reporting information if you are to appear as scheduled. Each date you are scheduled to appear and call the recording counts as one of your five calls, whether or not you actually appear in court. If you report without calling the recording the evening before, and your case has been moved or canceled, you will not be reimbursed for your attendance, mileage or parking fees.

Is my job protected while I serve jury duty?

Your job is protected under Title 28 U.S.C.A. Section 1875, which reads, in part: a. No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employees jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States. b. Any employer who violates the provision of this section:
  1. shall be liable for damages for any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an employee by reason of such violation;
  2. may be enjoined from further violation of this section and ordered to provide other appropriate relief, including but not limited to the reinstatement of any employee discharged by reason of his jury service; and
  3. shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation as to each employee.

Are my juror fees taxable?

Yes-this applies only to your attendance fee, however, no taxes are withheld from your check so it is necessary that jurors keep track of attendance fees received for income tax purposes. The Court will file with the IRS and mail you a 1099 form if your attendance fees reach or exceed $600 for the year (excluding mileage and parking fees). If this occurs, the Courtroom Deputy Clerk will obtain your social security number to be used for tax purposes only.