Frequently Asked Questions - Jury

  • What kind of cases are heard in federal court?

    Federal court jurisdiction is limited to certain kinds 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.

    While federal courts hear fewer cases than the state courts, the cases they do hear tend to be of national importance because of the federal laws they enforce and the federal rights they protect.

  • What is the difference between a petit jury and a grand jury?

    A petit jury is a trial for civil and 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 do we spend so much time sitting around before the actual selection process occurs?

    While many jurors may see this time as wasted, it is time being used by the Judge and attorneys on unexpected events that must be dealt with outside the presence of the jury.

  • Why doesn't the automated system recognize my participant number?

    Your Questionnaire must be returned to our office and processed before the automated calling system will recognize your participant number. If you haven't returned your Questionnaire please do so immediately and continue to call the automated system every weekend.

  • If I served on jury duty for Superior Court do I have to serve for Federal Court?

    In order to be excused from jury duty in Federal Court you must have served on an actual jury that rendered a verdict within the last two years.

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

    Cell phones, pagers and laptop computers are allowed in the Courthouse and may be used in the Jury Assembly Room. Once called into the courtroom, they must be turned off.

  • How can my family reach me in case of an emergency?

    Your family may call the Jury Office and staff will then give you the message.

    Tucson Jury Office: 1-520-205-4250 or 1-800-733-8966 (long distance)
    Phoenix Jury Office: 1-602-322-7278 or 1-800-736-7322 (long distance)
    Prescott Jury Office: 1-800-357-2097

  • May I bring a friend or members of my family?

    It is best to leave family, friends and children at home while you serve on jury duty.

  • May I smoke?

    Smoking is prohibited within the confines of the courthouse. Smoking is only permitted outside of the building.

  • May I leave the Jury Assembly Room or Courtroom?

    If you need to leave the Jury Room please notify someone in the Jury Office. Once you are in the courtroom you may only leave when the Judge allows for a break.

  • What should I wear for jury duty?

    Jurors must wear appropriate attire. Shorts, halter or tank tops, and thong sandals are not appropriate. Business casual is encouraged. You will not be paid if inappropriately dressed. Since the courtrooms tend to be cool, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

  • Will the Court pay for my parking?

    Yes. Please bring your parking ticket with you to the Courthouse for validation.

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

    Breaks are given. There are several restaurants within walking distance of the Courthouse as well as vending machines in the building. Jurors are also welcome to bring their own lunch.

  • Will I serve on civil or criminal trials?

    While the U.S. District Court conducts trials in both civil and criminal cases, there is no way to know what type of case a juror might be assigned to until the day they report for service.

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

    An Order to Show Cause may be served on any juror who fails to report for jury duty. The juror may be required to appear before a judge to show adequate cause for their absence from jury duty and may be held in contempt of court under the Jury Selection Act (18 U.S.C. 1866(g)). Penalties range from a fine of $1,000, three days in jail, community service, or any combination thereof.

  • Will I be paid for my jury service?

    You will be paid $50/day for each day of jury attendance or travel, and 62.5 cents per mile (calculated based on your physical address) for your round-trip travel. If you are a federal government employee you are not entitled to the attendance fee but you will be paid for your mileage. Juror payment checks are mailed approximately 2-4 weeks FOLLOWING your service.

  • 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. Once your service is completed, you may click here to obtain proof of service from our website.

  • 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.

    Tucson Jury Office: 1-520-205-4250 or 1-800-733-8966 (long distance)
    Phoenix Jury Office: 1-602-322-7278 or 1-800-736-7322 (long distance)
    Prescott Jury Office: 1-800-357-2097

  • After a trial is over, am I finished or am I still on call?

    Once you have served as a juror for a trial your jury service is finished for the reporting period.

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

    If you live more than 60 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 you are a federal court juror and ask if they have a government rate. A hotel receipt must be submitted to the jury office 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.

    When making your reservation, please inquire about the hotel’s parking arrangements.  The court will not reimburse valet parking expenses if self-parking is available.  A receipt must be provided for reimbursement.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    Yes. Jurors who live over 60 miles from the Courthouse may travel the night before and will be eligible to receive a per diem allowance to assist in covering any lodging and meal expenses. It is recommended that jurors who reside 60 or more miles from the courthouse come prepared with clothing and personal items to last through the end of the week in the event they are selected as a trial juror and elect not to commute. Mileage reimbursement cannot exceed the per diem allowance.

  • What kind of personal information would I need to provide over the telephone?

    The U. S. District Court will never ask for personal information over the telephone. Most contact between the court and a prospective juror takes place through the U. S. Mail. Any telephone contact initiated by the court will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other personal or sensitive information.

  • How long will I have to call in?

    Phoenix and Tucson jurors are on call for one week and will check their reporting status the weekend prior to the week they are on call. Prescott jurors are on call for one calendar month and will check in every weekend for the month on call. The date to begin checking your reporting status can be found on your Summons and the information letter that was mailed to you. Once you have made an appearance and/or served as a juror, you are no longer on call.

  • How will I be notified of my appearance date?

    It is your responsibility to call our automated telephone system (1-877-785-1415) or click here on the weekend indicated on your summons and follow the instructions you receive. If you are told to report for jury duty you must then check the night before you are to report for further instructions.

  • 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 (1-877-785-1415) or click here to find out the status of your excuse request.

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

    You may include this information on the reverse side of your Juror Qualification Questionnaire form. If you have already returned your questionnaire, click here to submit your request in writing to the Jury Clerk via our website.

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

    Return the completed Questionnaire immediately to the Court or click here to complete it online.

  • How am I selected for jury duty?

    Your name is selected randomly from voter registration lists in your county. The Court then mails you a Juror Summons and Questionnaire form which you complete and return.