Jury Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PETIT jury? 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.
How was I selected? Names are randomly taken from the voter registration list for the State of Texas. Subsequently, you are mailed a qualification questionnaire form to complete and return to the Court. After the Court determines that you are qualified to serve, your name is entered into a pool and you may be randomly summoned either as a petit juror or a grand juror. After you complete your term of service, you will not be required to serve again for at least two years.
How long will I have to serve as a juror? Jury panels serve the courts on an "on call" basis. The tenure of the panels differs by division. Jurors are given a telephone number to call for last minute reporting instructions to be used during their term of service as prospective jurors. Each juror is assigned a panel number and a unique juror number. Because the jury dockets are constantly changing, each person summoned for jury service is instructed to call the jury information line for confirmation of attendance before reporting. It is very important to call this information line for any court changes. Jurors will not be paid an attendance fee or mileage if they report without checking the information line for cancellations or changes in reporting.
How should I dress for jury duty? Casual attire (i.e. shorts, cutoffs, tube tops, jeans) are not considered appropriate attire for federal jury service. Male jurors are required to wear a coat and tie. Female jurors are required to wear suitable clothing, such as a dress or pants suit.
What if I am late? It is extremely important that you be prompt both in the morning and when returning from lunch. It is particularly important when you are selected to serve on a trial since the entire proceeding can be delayed because of the tardiness of one juror, and you could be held in contempt. If you are delayed due to circumstances beyond your control, call the jury section to inform the court of your situation. Click here for jury contact information.
Will I serve on civil or criminal trials? This Court tries both civil and criminal cases, and it is possible that you may be selected for either or both.
What if my employer wants proof that I was serving on jury duty? You may request a Certificate of Attendance from the Jury Administrator or Jury Clerk. The certificate will be available before you leave the courthouse at the end of the day if you are not a selected juror, or at the end of the trial if you are selected. If your employer requires specific times of reporting and dismissal, you will need to advise the Jury Administrator or Jury Clerk.
How can my family reach me in case of an emergency? If your family needs to contact you, they can call the Jury Office number listed in the Juror Instructions for the divisional office you are to report.
Additional Questions? If you have additional questions regarding your service to this Court, please feel free to ask the Jury Administrator, Jury Clerk, or read the Jury Handbook. We hope you will find your term of jury service an interesting and satisfying experience.

What is a GRAND jury? 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."
Is there payment for jury service and or travel? Jurors are paid $40.00 per day attendance fee (with the exception of Federal Government employees). Mileage from your home to the courthouse is reimbursed at 54 cents per mile (round trip). Parking and the payment of parking fees varies by divisional office. See the local jury instructions for specifics for the courthouse you will be serving jury duty in. If a juror travels more than 85 miles, one-way, that person has the option to stay at a hotel/motel with reimbursement according to the fee schedule for the division they will be serving jury duty in. Jurors need to call the Jury Administrator or Jury Clerk for the information. Hotel receipts will be required.
Your check for attendance during any week you report for the jury panel will usually be mailed to you within two weeks of your service.
The $40.00 attendance fee must be reported as income for tax purposes. You do not need to report the travel allowance or parking reimbursement as income. You must keep a record of the amounts you receive as no tax has been withheld and no W-2 forms will be furnished unless you receive $600 in attendance fees.
What if I have an excuse not to serve as a juor? Federal law allowing the granting of excuses is very strict. All requests for excuses and postponements are submitted in writing to the Office of the Clerk - Attention: Jury Administrator. All excuses based on medical conditions must be accompanied by a letter from your physician stating why you are unable to attend. Upon receipt of these requests, the jury clerk will notify you either by telephone or letter as to whether or not you will be excused. It is important to submit the written request for excuses and postponements as early as possible. An unexcused absence may result in a charge of contempt of Court and a subsequent fine and/or imprisonment.
What is the courthouse security like? Due to increased security at all Federal Courthouses and buildings, it will be necessary for you to pass through a metal detector as you enter the court facility. Your purses, bags, and briefcases will be x-rayed at the same time. To expedite your entrance, it is recommended that you wear as little jewelry as possible and leave any excess metal at home. The following list includes some items that are not allowed into the courthouse:Weapons
(18 USC. Sec. 930 - It is illegal to possess Firearms and Dangerous Weapons In Federal Facilities.)
Cell Phones
Electronic Devices (including video/audio recorders)
Laptop computers unless granted permission by the judge
What if I fail to appear? Jurors who fail to report for jury duty and who have not been excused by the Court may be served a Show Cause Order by a Deputy United States Marshal. Those jurors will be ordered to appear before the Court to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of the Jury Service and Selection Act. Contempt penalties range from a $100.00 fine to three (3) days imprisonment; or both.
What should I bring with me when I report for jury duty? Be sure to bring your Summons and photo I.D. with you when you report for jury duty. Please bring a sweater or jacket since the courtrooms are often quite cool. If you have special dietary needs, you may bring your food or snacks with you.
Where can I park my car? Parking Instructions vary with each divisional office. Please refer to the Juror Instructions for the Courthouse in which you are to report.
Lunch and refreshments? There are restaurants located close to the courthouse. You will want to bring funds to purchase lunch in the event you must stay past the noon hour during jury selection or if you are selected to serve.