Frequently Asked Questions -- Jury Service

  • How did you get my name?

    This court currently uses the Indiana voter registration list and the Indiana Supreme Court Statewide Jury List for random selection of prospective jurors.  The Supreme Court List is a combination of data maintained (or collected) by: (1) the Indiana State Bureau of Motor Vehicles, consisting of Indiana residents with state-issued identification cards, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration records, excluding individuals under the age of eighteen (18) and non-U.S. citizens; and (2) the Indiana Department of Revenue, which includes all Indiana state resident taxpayers for the Southern District of Indiana.

  • Is there an age requirement or age limit for prospective jurors?

    You must be at least 18 years of age to serve as a federal court juror.  If you are over 70 years of age you may, upon request, be excused from serving.

  • I have already served in county court. Do I have to serve in the federal court too?

    Yes. County courts and federal courts operate separately from one another, so your service in county court does not satisfy your obligation to serve in federal court.  Please see Comparing State & Federal Courts for more information on the differences.

  • I've already completed one questionnaire for federal court. Don’t you already have my information?

    The first form you received was a Juror Qualification Questionnaire to establish if you are qualified to serve as a federal court juror.  Since you likely received the Qualification Questionnaire several months ago, some of your information may have changed.  Once you have been deemed qualified to serve and have been notified of your one month term of service, the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire seeks updated contact information, as well as supplemental information, which will be used to assist with the jury selection process if you are issued a Summons to Appear during your term of service.

  • I think it may be past the 10 day deadline in responding to my questionnaire. What should I do?

    The court understands if you are out of town or have other circumstances that may slow your response time. We ask that you complete the questionnaire as soon as possible.  Alternatively, someone may complete it on your behalf as long as they submit their name, relationship, and the reason for doing so.

  • I heard that if I have a close friend or relative who is employed by a law enforcement agency, I can be excused and not have to appear. Is that true?

    Federal court has a wide range of civil and criminal cases, so your relationship to someone in the legal or law enforcement field may or may not have a bearing on the trial.  While it may be a relevant issue during the jury selection process, it is not grounds for excuse prior to jury selection.

  • What are the differences between a trial (also called “petit”) jury, and a grand jury?

    Burden of Proof – Trial juries decide guilt or innocence.  Grand juries decide whether enough evidence is presented that probable cause exists to issue an indictment (a formal accusation initiating a criminal case).

    Length of Service – Trial juries are usually three to five days in length. Grand jurors serve for longer periods, often six to 18 months, for a few days each month.

    Attendance – Trial juries report to the court daily during the course of a trial.  While the court anticipates that grand jurors will make every effort to attend each of the monthly grand jury sessions, arrangements can be made for those rare instances where attendance is not possible due to scheduled vacations or a family emergency.

    Size – Twenty-three people are selected for grand juries in federal courts.  By contrast, a civil trial jury usually consists of six people and a criminal trial jury consists of twelve people (plus any alternates selected by the impaneling judge).

    Votes – For grand juries, sixteen jurors must be present to deliberate.   Twelve jurors who have heard all the essential and critical evidence and the legal instructions must agree.  All trial juries in federal court require a unanimous decision.

  • Do I have to appear on the first day of my one month term of service?

    The Notice of Term of Service identifies the time period you may be ordered to appear.  Your appearance is only required if you receive a Summons to Appear for Jury Service by U. S. Mail.  Summonses are usually mailed approximately two to three weeks prior to the date you are expected to appear and will provide you with specific reporting instructions -- i.e., date, time, and place.

  • What if I have a medical condition that would prevent me from serving as a juror?

    If you are responding to the Juror Qualification Questionnaire, you may be excused from jury service for a medical condition by submitting a current Physician’s Statement stating that you are unable to serve.   You may also briefly explain your medical disability online or on the reverse side of the form in the “Remarks” section if you do not have internet access.

    If you are responding to the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire, complete both sides of the Questionnaire and briefly explain your physical or mental disability on a separate sheet of paper.  You may also enclose a current physician’s statement stating that you are unable to serve.

    If you are currently employed, please explain why it would be more detrimental to your disability to serve on a jury than your normal employment. 

    Please note that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunity and obligation to serve as jurors as individuals without disabilities.  If you have a physical disability that would affect, but not prevent you from serving as a juror, and you are willing to serve if reasonable accommodation can be provided, please include those special accommodations on a separate statement or contact Jury Administration to discuss your needs.

  • What if I am not available to serve?

    If you are responding to the Juror Qualification Questionnaire, the court is not asking you to serve at this time.  Therefore, you do not need to provide dates you are not available to serve. 

    If you are responding to the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire, simply list the dates you are NOT available to serve in Part 1, Question #7.  The court will honor any reasonable dates.  If your unavailable dates change after you have returned the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire, keep Jury Administration advised and submit any changes as soon as possible via fax or email. 

    If you are not available to serve during a majority of your one month term because of a severe hardship or a serious problem, please submit a hardship request for excuse on a separate sheet of paper and return it with your questionnaire.

    Hardship requests for excuse must be accompanied by a completed Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire and will only be ruled upon if you are issued a Summons to Appear.

  • I’m a college student. Do I have to serve?

    If you are a student in or out of state and still have, or use, a permanent address in the Southern District of Indiana, you are not exempt from jury service in this Court.  If you are called to serve at a time when it would interfere with your studies, you may request an excuse at that time.

    If you are responding to the Juror Qualification Questionnaire, complete the Questionnaire as directed.  A family member may complete the Questionnaire on your behalf using eJuror and the 9-digit participant number next to your name on the Questionnaire.  If a family member completes the paper version, they should sign the Questionnaire, indicating their name and relationship and explain why such action was necessary on the reverse side in the “Remarks” section.

    If you are responding to the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire, complete both sides of the Questionnaire and return it as directed.  If you are not available to serve during the designated one month term of service, you may submit a hardship request for excuse on a separate sheet of paper and return it with your questionnaire.

  • How will I know if I’ve been excused?

    You will not receive notification in reference to being excused after completing the Juror Qualification Questionnaire.

    However, if you submitted an excuse request when you were notified of your one month term of service and have received a Summons to Appear for Jury Service you can check the status of your excuse request at any time by dialing into the Automated Jury Information System (AJIS), which can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Should you have questions regarding a pending request for excuse, please call Jury Administration.

  • What if I have received a questionnaire for a person who has moved and is no longer at this mailing address? I would like to serve, can I complete it instead?

    Unfortunately, the answer is no.  If you do not know the person or do not have a forwarding address, please write “Return to Sender” on the outside of the window envelope and return it through the postal service.

  • What if the person who received the questionnaire is deceased?

    If you are responding to the Juror Qualification Questionnaire, you may respond on their behalf by logging into eJuror and indicating that they are deceased. 

    If you do not have internet access, complete the questionnaire as follows:

    • Write “deceased” and the date of passing next to the name and address;
    • Sign your name and relationship;
    • Date the questionnaire; and
    • Send it back using the postage-paid, business reply envelope provided. 

    If you are responding to the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire:

    • Write “deceased” and the date of passing next to the name and address;
    • Sign your name and relationship;
    • Date the questionnaire; and
    • Send it back using the postage-paid, business reply envelope provided.

    We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation in updating the court’s jury records.
     

  • What should I wear when I report?

    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.  Shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts should not be worn.  Hats and sunglasses should not be worn in the courtroom.  You may wish to bring a sweater or jacket for your comfort.

  • What should I bring with me to the courthouse?

    PHOTO IDENTIFICATION is required to enter the building. You may also bring books, magazines, or student material. Cell phones, laptops, and pagers are permitted in the building. However, Court Security Officers will screen such equipment through a magnetometer prior to entering the building. The Jury Assembly Room has WiFi access available -- however, all electronic equipment must not be used and must be turned OFF in the courtroom. Learn more about Courthouse Restrictions.

  • 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, it is your responsibility to make this call.  If you report in error, you will not be paid, nor receive proof of attendance of jury service.

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