Juror FAQ

1. How was I selected for Jury Duty?

Answer: Your name was randomly selected by computer from voter registration lists and Department of Motor Vehicle records in accordance with procedures established by the judges of this Court and in full compliance with all relevant federal statutes and court rules. Prospective jurors received a questionnaire by mail to be completed and returned to the Court. The names of qualified persons are placed on a list from which the Court randomly selects its prospective jurors.

 
2. What is a Petit Jury?

Answer: A PETIT jury is a trial jury for both civil and criminal cases. The PETIT jury listens to the evidence offered during a trial and returns a verdict. A verdict in a civil case may be a finding for the plaintiff or for the defendant. A verdict in a criminal case finds the defendant guilty or not guilty.

 
3. What is a GRAND Jury?

Answer: 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 charges called an “indictment.”

 
4. What type of cases can I be expect to be selected for?

Answer: The U.S. District Court tries both criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases include prosecution for drug activity, tax fraud, bank robbery, mail fraud, etc. Civil cases include actions involving prisoner litigation, contract actions, discrimination, etc.

 
5. Who do I call if I have a question?

Answer: The Court’s Jury Administration Office is available to assist you with any questions regarding your jury service. The telephone number is (866)213-JURY (5879) and the fax number is (315)234-8501. You may also contact the jury office by e-mail at: jury@nynd.uscourts.gov.

 
6. How can my family reach me in case of emergency?

Answer: Your family may call the Jury Office and the jury staff will get a message to you.
Albany: 1-518-257-1808 or 1-866-213-JURY (5879) long distance
Binghamton: 1-607-773-2893 or 1-866-213-JURY (5879) long distance
Syracuse: 1-866-213-JURY (5879) local and long distance
Utica: 1-315-793-8151 or 1-866-213-JURY (5879) long distance
Watertown: 1-866-213-JURY (5879) local and long distance
Plattsburgh: 1-866-213-JURY (5879) local and long distance

 
7. What if I have already served Jury Duty?

Answer: The exemption period for prior jury service in federal court is two years. If you have served as a grand or petit juror in a state or federal court within the past two years, you can apply to have your current jury service postponed. To apply for the two year postponement, you must provide a valid proof of service showing at least one date of attendance. Proof can be obtained by contacting the court where you served. If your service was with a New York State Court, you can find your county's contact information at www.nyjuror.gov. Your proof of service can be submitted with your Juror Information Form, or faxed separately to the Jury Administration Office at (315) 234-8501. Upon receipt of a valid proof of service, your federal service will be postponed for two years from the date of your last appearance.

 
8. I have travel plans during my term of service, what should I do?

Answer: Contact the jury office at (866)213-JURY (5879), e-mail us at jury@nynd.uscourts.gov, or submit your request through eJuror. All requests must be made at least six (6) days prior to the date(s) you need to be excused. The jury staff will make every effort to accommodate your pre-scheduled vacations and appointments.Grand jurors, if selected, will submit absences through the Grand Jury Coordinator of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Additional information on this procedure will be given during orientation.

9. Is there a dress code?

Answer: While no formal dress code exists, jurors are requested to dress in a manner respectful to the Court. Please keep in mind that the courtrooms are often quite cool, so you may want to bring a sweater or jacket with you. For your protection, all persons entering the Courthouse must pass through the magnetometer and have their personal belongings (purse, bag, etc.) X-rayed. Please leave excess metal and jewelry at home to speed your entry.

 
10. Can I bring my cell phone or other electronic devices?

Answer: Cell phones, laptops, tablets, and electronic readers may be brought with you when you report for jury duty. Jurors will be instructed to turn off all electronic devices during jury selection and to leave them in the jury room on subsequent trial dates. During jury deliberations, you may bring your cell phone with you to the courthouse, but you should leave all other electronic devices at home. Cell phones will be turned over to Court Security Officers for safekeeping during your deliberations. The use of electronic devices to take photos or record video or audio is not permitted. The Court is not responsible for items that are lost or stolen during your jury service. A public phone is available for your use at no charge.

 
11. What if I don't drive or have a car?

Answer: You are responsible for providing your own transportation to the Courthouse. If you cannot drive yourself, you should arrange to take a bus, or have someone drive you. The Court will reimburse your bus fare to and from the courthouse. If such arrangements cannot be made, you should contact the Jury Administrator as soon as possible.

 
12. Will I have to pay for parking?

Answer: Follow the directions for parking located in your reporting instructions. Your parking fees will be billed directly to the Court. If you are unable to park in the designated parking area, you may incur parking fees. Please notify the Jury Clerk of any fees that you incur so that you can be reimbursed by the Court.

 
13. What if I need proof of my jury service for my employer?

Answer: When you appear for jury selection, you will be given a Certificate of Attendance noting the date that you appeared. If you do not obtain a Certificate, but find out that you later need one, you may call the Jury Office at (866)213-JURY (5879) to request one, or you may log onto eJuror to print an Attendance Letter.

 
14. On the days I am not asked to report for duty what do I do?

Answer: The Court can only pay or give credit for the days that you are actually at the Courthouse.On all days when your attendance is not required, you should resume your normal schedule.

 
15. Can I be late?

Answer: It is extremely important to be prompt for both jury selection and for trial. Your tardiness will delay the court proceedings and inconvenience your fellow jurors, the Court, and all the parties involved in the case being tried.

 
16. Will I ever be sequestered?

Answer: Not likely. Sequestration is very rare in this federal court. You may choose, however, to stay overnight if you live an excessive distance from the courthouse. The Court will make arrangements for your overnight accommodations and will pay you a per diem rate if you choose to stay overnight. Please contact the jury office to find out more about overnight stay.

 
17. Are my attendance fees taxable?

Answer: Yes. Attendance fees ($40 per day) are taxable and should be reported to the IRS as income on your yearly tax return. If you are unsure of the amount to report, please call theJury Office. You will only receive a 1099 from the Jury Office if you make over $600 in attendance fees during the year. Payments for travel (mileage, tolls, parking) and subsistence do not need to be reported to the IRS.

 
18. Is lunch provided by the court?

Answer: No. Meals are provided by the court only during jury deliberations. Therefore, you should be prepared to either pay for your meals, or bring your lunch with you. Each jury room is equipped with a microwave and refrigerator for your use. When you report for jury selection, the Jury Clerk will advise you on where to eat. You will be given approximately one hour for lunch each day.

 
19. When will I get paid for my jury service?

Answer: Jurors are paid weekly. Checks are issued every Monday for the previous week's jury service. Your check will include your mileage, attendance fee, and per diem payment, if applicable. If you want to waive payment of your attendance fee, please notify the Jury Administrator at the time you report for service.

 
20. Will there be long periods of waiting in the Jury Lounge?

Answer: We will make every effort to move things along quickly the morning that you report for jury service. Unfortunately, sometimes delays cannot be avoided due to last minute pre-trial proceedings in the courtroom. The Court will provide complimentary snacks and beverages in the jury room. If you have special dietary needs, you may bring your food or snacks with you. Restrooms and telephones are also available for your use. Feel free to bring your own reading materials or snacks if you like.

 
21. How long will jury selection take?

Answer: When you report for jury selection, you will be given a brief orientation (approx. 45 minutes). After orientation, you will begin jury selection. The length of jury selection depends on the type of trial that you are being selected for. Typically, jury selection for most trials will be completed in 2-3 hours. If you are not selected as a juror, you will be allowed to leave after jury selection, provided there aren’t any more trials scheduled that day. Jurors selected for the trial will normally work until 5:00 p.m.

 
22. Can I leave the Jury Assembly Room or Courtroom?

Answer: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.

 
23. Will I serve on more than one trial during my jury term?

Answer: The Northern District of New York has a one-day or one-trial term of jury service. This means that a trial juror appears for one day or for the duration of one trial. Once you appear, you are released from being “on call” for the rest of the month. If you are serving on a trial that exceeds the service period, you will be required to serve until the completion of the trial. It is crucial that you call the toll-free jury message as instructed to keep track of your next report/call in date.

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

Answer: Any juror who fails to report for jury duty may be served an Order to Show Cause. The Court may then hold a hearing on the Order to Show Cause. 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)). Penalties include a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment of not more than three days, community service, or any combination of the three.

 
25. I forgot to call the 800# on Thursday for my reporting instructions. What do I do now?

Answer: Call the 800# now and listen to the current instructions. If you don't hear your juror number listed for reporting, the message will give you your next call in date. In this instance, simply follow the instructions on the current week's message. If you hear your juror number listed, and you've missed your reporting date, please call the Jury Administration Office at (315) 234-8515.

 
26. Why do I have to call the 800# on the last date of my term? Will I be required to report the week following the end of my term?

Answer: Jurors are asked to call back the last Thursday of the term to hear a concluding message. Although you will not be selected to report the following week, it's important to remember that you are "on call" and can be selected to report at any point up to and including your final date of service. On the last day of your term, a new panel will be calling to get their first message and will cover any trials the following week.

 
27. How long will my service last?

Answer: Jury terms run from the first Thursday of each month to the first Thursday of the following month. You will call the 800# every Thursday to hear the reporting instructions for the following week.