Summons to Appear for Jury Service - Frequently Asked Questions
How was my name selected?
Your name was randomly selected from the qualified list of prospective
jurors available for the specific date summoned. That is, after you
completed and returned your Notice of Jury Service, your unavailability
for jury service was entered into a database. The court honors all
reasonable unavailable dates, i.e., vacations or medical
appointments that cannot be rescheduled.
What if I do not have any transportation?
You are responsible for providing your own
transportation to the courthouse. If you cannot drive yourself, you
should arrange public transportation, or arrange to have someone drive
you. This court does not provide reimbursement for taxi fares. You may
call Jury Administration to see if carpool arrangements can be made. If
we cannot assist you with transportation, you may submit a written
request to be excused.
Can a family member or friend be present with me in the court?
In general, court proceedings are open to the
public. However, this may not be the case in certain circumstances. It
is always advisable to call Jury Administration if you are uncertain.
For public court proceedings, a friend or family member may wait for you
in the courtroom. However, if you are selected to serve as a juror,
he/she may not accompany you to the court’s jury room. Please remember
that when you are adjourned for lunch or for the day, DO NOT
discuss the trial with friends or family members. Confidentiality is of
utmost importance as a juror.
Can I bring my children with me?
Please do not bring children to the
courthouse. Childcare is not provided by the court.
How will I know if I
have been excused?
Requests for excuse will be processed approximately one (1) week before
your scheduled appearance date. Once the court has ruled upon your
individual request to be excused, Jury Administration will notify you by
telephone and U. S. mail advising you of the court’s ruling.
Is there a dress code?
Your responsibilities as a juror are of utmost
importance and your attire is indicative of that importance and the
seriousness you attach to your duties. Therefore, you should wear
comfortable but appropriate, business-like clothing. You may wish to
bring a sweater or jacket for your comfort. Shorts, jeans, T-shirts,
tank tops and sweatshirts should not be worn. Hats and sunglasses
should not be worn in the courtroom.
What should I bring with me to the court?
All persons are required to show a valid
government-issued identification card before being allowed entry.
At a minimum, the identification card must show the person's photo,
name, and date of birth. You may also bring books, magazines, or study material. Cell
phones, laptops, and beepers are permitted in the building. However,
Court Security Officers will screen such equipment through a
magnetometer prior to entering the building. All electronic equipment
must be turned OFF in the courtroom. The courthouse does not have
wireless internet access; however, there may be locations near the
courthouse where it is available over a lunch break for checking e-mail,
etc. Jury Administration or a Deputy Clerk would be happy to advise you
of those specific locations.
What if my boss does
not want me to serve?
In accordance with
Title 28, United States Code, Section 1875,
“no employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or
coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee’s jury service,
the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service,
in any court of the United States.” If the employer violates this law,
he/she may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for
each violation for each employee. The employer shall also be liable for
damages, including any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an
employee. Jury service is a citizen’s obligation and the employer has to
provide the employee with the time to serve.
What if I am called to appear in county court at the same time?
Please contact the Jury Administration Office.
What if I need special accommodations while serving as a juror?
Qualified individuals with disabilities have
the same opportunity and obligation to serve as individuals without
disabilities. If you need special accommodations such as assistance
with a wheelchair, hearing devices, or special seating, please contact
Jury Administration once you have received your Summons to Appear. If
certain accommodations cannot be met, however, you may submit a written
request to be excused.
Why is it important to call the night before I am scheduled to appear?
The court’s schedule may change at the last minute or a trial may be
settled or rescheduled. To insure that the court utilizes your time
properly, we ask that you call after 6:00 p.m. the night before your
scheduled appearance to determine whether or not you still need to
the automated phone message for your Panel Number states that you do not
need to report, you need not appear. If you receive a letter by mail
informing you that the trial has been cancelled, you do not need to call
the night before or appear.
No further phone calls or action is required on your part unless you
receive a summons informing you of your next appearance date.
I get to the courthouse and where should I park?
For directions to the courthouse and parking
information, please check
Maps, Directions & Travel Resources.
into the Indianapolis federal courthouse BEFORE 8:00 AM can only
be made through the handicapped entrance, which is located at the corner
of New York and Pennsylvania Streets. (Northeast corner of the
What should I do if I am sick or have an emergency the day that I am
supposed to report?
If a real emergency occurs such as a sudden
illness, accident, or death in the family - please contact Jury
Administration immediately. You will be asked to submit a letter
explaining why you were unable to appear for jury service. If necessary,
further documentation may be requested.
What happens if I
am late for jury service?
It is important that you arrive on time. Jury
selection cannot begin until all jurors are present. If you are
unavoidably delayed, please call Jury Administration immediately.
What can I
expect on my first day of jury service?
You will be greeted by a member of the Clerk’s Office staff. During
orientation, jury staff and/or a Deputy Clerk will be happy to answer
your questions. Our goal is to make your jury service a rewarding and
pleasant experience. On the first day, you will take part in the
selection of a jury for the trial scheduled to begin that day.
How long does jury selection take?
Jury selection time varies. Generally, you should know by noon whether
you are selected to serve. This may vary depending on the complexity of
during the jury selection process?
Once you are seated in the courtroom, the judge will inform you about
the case and introduce the lawyers and other parties who are involved.
You will also take an oath, in which you will promise to answer all
After you are sworn in, you will begin a questioning process called
“voir dire,” which means “to speak the truth.” During this
process, the judge and the lawyers will question you and other
prospective jurors to find out if you have any knowledge about the case,
any personal interest, or any feelings that might make it hard for you
to be impartial. Though some of the questions may seem personal, you
should answer them completely and honestly. If you are uncomfortable
answering them, you may ask the judge if you may approach the bench and
answer the question privately.
Remember: Questions are not asked to embarrass you. They are intended
to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences
which might prevent them from making an impartial decision.
How many people are selected for jury service?
The number of jurors that are selected depends
on the type of case. For a civil trial, six to eight jurors may be
selected. For a criminal trial, twelve to fourteen may be selected. The
court always calls more jurors than needed for the jury selection
long is a typical jury day and will breaks be provided?
A normal jury day will begin between 8:00 and
9:00 a.m. and will end between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. Once the jury is in
deliberation, however, the time may vary.
Yes, breaks will be provided. Generally, there will be a mid-morning
break, a break for lunch and two afternoon breaks. Snacks and beverages
are provided by the court; however, you are welcome to bring your own if
you have certain dietary restrictions.
How long does the trial last?
The length of each trial depends on the complexity of the case.
Generally, trials last between 3 and 4 days. Please check the back of
your Summons for any exceptions. Also, the judge will inform you the
morning of jury selection as to how long the trial will last. Please
inform the judge of any serious hardships at this time. If a trial is
intended to last longer than one week, you will receive your “Summons to
Appear for Jury Service” three weeks in advance so that proper
arrangements may be made.
Will I be “sequestered” and have to stay overnight?
Occasionally a trial will extend past 5:00
p.m. in order, for example, to complete a line of testimony. The need to
be “sequestered” (or held overnight) is extremely rare. This should not
be a concern.
Will I be paid for jury service?
Yes. For details, check
Juror Payment Information.
Is my employer obligated to pay my regular salary during jury service?
Prior to reporting, please check with your
employer regarding its jury duty policy. In Indiana, such policies are
entirely discretionary with employers; employers are not specifically
obligated to continue jurors’ regular pay during jury service.
Where can I get proof of my service to give to my employer?
If you are not selected as a juror, you may go
to the Clerk’s Office located on the first floor in Room 105 and ask for
a Juror’s Certificate of Attendance. If you are selected for service,
you will receive a certificate at the end of your service. If you forgot
to get a certificate, please contact Jury Administration and one may be
faxed or mailed to you.
Could I be
called again for federal jury service?
Yes. However, if you have served on a jury in federal court in the past
two (2) years, you may be excused from serving.
if I do not report for jury service?
Title 28, United States Code, §1866(g)
provides, “Any person summoned for jury service who fails to appear as
directed shall be ordered by the District Court to appear forthwith and
show cause for his failure to comply with the summons. Any person who
fails to show good cause for noncompliance with a summons may be fined
not more than $1,000.00, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to
perform community service, or any combination thereof.”