FAQs – Jury Duty

We have prepared the following list of questions and answers to assist you in preparing for jury service in the Federal Court. Please feel free to ask a jury clerk if you need any help or additional information.

Can I bring my cellular phone, laptop computer, tape recorder, camera or pager?

Jurors MAY NOT bring knives or electronic devices of any kind, including: radios, PDA’s, tape recorders, computers, cameras, walkmans, iPods etc., into any federal courthouse facility within the Southern District of Florida. Jurors may bring their cellular phone with or without an integrated camera. No cellphone of any kind may be used at any time in a courtroom or jury deliberation room and no photographs of any kind my be taken in the courthouse. Cellphone ringers must be silenced in the courthouse and turned off in the courtrooms. Public telephones are also available throughout the facility for jurors’ use. Additionally, PC’s with internet access are provided for jurors’ use in the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach jury assembly rooms.

What do I do if I do not have a participant number?

Call (800) 865-1775 (3) Monday through Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM and Jury Staff will research the participant number by your name.

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

Certificates of Attendance are available each day in the Jury Assembly Room upon request, or the Court can provide you one on the last day of your service, covering all days you served.

Is my employment protected while I am serving jury duty?

The law protects jurors’ employment. Employers are prohibited from threatening or terminating employees on account of their jury service. We encourage you to speak with your employer as soon as possible about your upcoming jury service, so that the necessary arrangements can be planned for in advance.

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

Your family may call the Jury Office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., and our staff will give you the message. The number to call is the same as on the summons, (800) 865-1775 (3).

I have disability, who should I call?

Please call 800-865-1775 (3) Monday through Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM and ask for the Jury Administrator if you need information regarding any special requirements.

Are jurors given breaks? Are there lunch facilities available?

Yes, breaks are given. There are several restaurants within walking distance of the courthouse. The Miami cafeterias are as follows: Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse-Constitution Cafe (786-431-1013); C. Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse-S&N Cafeteria (305-373-4807); James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building-Michelle’s Cafe (305-577-3339). Vending machines are located in the courthouse and Jurors are also welcome to bring their own lunch.

Will the Court pay for my parking and tolls?

Yes. Jurors reporting to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach should bring their parking stubs to the Jury Assembly Room for validation. The designated parking in Ft. Pierce is free. Jurors reporting to the Key West Courthouse will need to complete a form for reimbursement of parking expenses.

Where is the Courthouse located, and where should I park?

A map of the Courthouse with the designated parking facilities was provided with your summons. Alternatively, you can click here to view a map of the Courthouse area.

What are jurors paid for their service, and how often?

Jurors are paid $40 per day plus mileage to and from the Courthouse based on your zip code. Federal employees only receive reimbursement for mileage. Lunch is not provided. Payments are mailed to your home from the courthouse every week.

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

Please bring your jury summons, photo identification and your parking lot stub when you report. You may also want to bring a book, magazines or study materials with you.

Is there a dress code for jury service?

Appropriate dress, casual business attire, is required. Shorts, jeans and t-shirts are not considered appropriate. Our courtrooms are generally very cool and you may wish to bring a sweater or light jacket. Since you will be passing through a metal detector, please leave excess metal and jewelry at home to speed up your entry into the building.

If I serve on one trial, will I be excused for the remainder of the two weeks?

No. You will be expected to call in for the rest of the two weeks, and may be needed on another trial.

Will I serve on civil or criminal trials?

This Court tries both civil and criminal cases. You may be selected for either or both.

When I am called to serve, 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., weekdays.

What does “on call” mean?

You will not be asked to report unless you are needed to participate in a jury selection. Jurors are expected to call the toll- free number listed on the summons after 5:30 p.m. the day before the term of service begins and continue to call each night for two weeks, to determine when you are required to report to the courthouse. The recording on the toll-free number will call jurors in by their participant number which is located on the upper right hand side of the summons. If the recording does not instruct you to report for jury duty, you must continue your normal activities such as work or school. You can also click here to check your reporting status on-line..

How long is my term of service?

Petit jury service is two weeks “on call”. Petit jurors are generally called in two or three times during this period. Court is not in session for jury selections on weekends. Grand jurors generally serve one to three days a month for 18 months.

What is the difference between Petit and Grand Jury?

A Petit jury is the trial jury for both civil and criminal cases. The Petit jury listens to evidence offered during a trial and returns a verdict. A Grand jury does not appear in trial, but listens to evidence presented by an attorney for the government and determines from the evidence if sufficient probable cause exists for bringing formal criminal charges against an individual.

If I served jury duty recently in the County or Circuit Court, will I be excused in Federal Court?

The Federal Court does not excuse persons who have served in County or Circuit Court. However, after you have served in Federal Court you will be excused from jury service in this Court for two years.

What if I do not speak English well enough to understand what is being said in court?

Complete the Questionnaire, or have someone assist you, and explain the circumstances on the back of the Questionnaire in the area labeled “Remarks”. Ask the person who assisted you to sign their name under the statement in “Remarks” on the reverse of the form.

How can I be excused if I cannot serve?

If you need to be excused or have your jury service postponed for any length of time, you must complete your questionnaire and mail it along with your written request for excusal immediately. The Court will review your request and you will receive a written response to your request for excuse. If you have not heard back from the Court by 10 days prior to the reporting date, please call the Jury Office at (800) 865-1775 (3) Monday through Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM.

The name/address on my summons is wrong. What should I do?

Please indicate the change on the Questionnaire and include your telephone number and we will correct our records.

How much time do I have to complete the Questionnaire and mail it back to the Court?

You should complete and mail the Questionnaire immediately. The law requires that you mail the completed questionnaire within 10 days, but this will allow less time for processing, especially if you are requesting a postponement or excuse from service.

How was I selected for jury duty?

Your name was selected randomly from the voter registration list in your county.

Is jury duty mandatory?

Yes. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in both civil and criminal cases. Your participation as a juror makes that possible. Any person who fails to show good cause for noncompliance could be fined not more than $1,000.00, imprisoned not more than three (3) days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1866(g).