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Jury FAQ

How did you get my name?
For a detailed description of the court's Jury Plan, please click on the “Jury Plan” link. In short, the Court randomly draws names from the state's voter registration list.

What is the difference between a grand jury and a petit jury?
A grand jury hears evidence from the United States and its witnesses, then decides whether to bring a charge against a person.  In other words, a grand jury decides whether there is enough proof to charge a person with a crime.
A petit jury is a trial jury. The jury hears evidence from both sides, then decides on a verdict.

What is the difference between civil and criminal trials?
Civil cases are disputes between two or more people or corporations and usually involve money. The party filing suit is the plaintiff and the party being sued is the defendant.
Criminal cases involve charges brought by the United States against a person.  The person accused of committing the crime is a defendant. The jury must decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

I have already filled out one form from your court. Why do I have to fill out another one?
The first form you received was a juror qualification form.  It was not a summons. Once a year, we draw several thousand names from the voter registration list.  We send those people qualification forms.  That form is used to determine whether you are qualified to serve as a juror.  If the Court finds that you are qualified, you will be eligible to be summoned.

How does the summons process work?
The Jury Administrator in Louisville draws 350 names from the qualified list every two months; in Bowling Green and Paducah, she draws 200 names every three months; and in Owensboro, she draws 125 names every three months.  The Jury Administrator then mails to those people a summons.  The summons will inform the juror of his or her term of service.  We mail the summonses about six weeks prior to the beginning of the term.

Why do I have to come to Louisville/Bowling Green/Owensboro/Paducah if I do not live there?
Our court is the federal court for the western part of the state.  We have four divisional offices.  The Louisville office draws names from Jefferson County and 10 other surrounding counties.  Similarly, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Paducah each draws names from several nearby counties.

What is eJuror?
ejuror is an online resource for our jurors.  You can use eJuror to complete your Juror Information Form, update your personal information, and check your current status.  If you have been assigned a report date, you can see that in eJuror, too.   You can also e-mail our office by clicking on “Contact Us” within eJuror.

You can access eJuror via our website at Click on “Continue to eJuror login.”  In order to log in, you will need your participant number, last name, and date of birth.

How long will my petit term of service last?
In Louisville, your term of service will last for two months; in Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Paducah, it lasts three months; All terms of service may be extended by the Court.

Do I have to show up on the first day of my petit term?
NO, unless you have received a separate letter directing you to do so.  You would receive such a letter about one week in advance.

Will I have to come in every day?
NO. You should only report when you receive a separate letter from us directing you to appear.

Do I call every night to find out if I should report the next day?
NO. You will be notified by mail seven days in advance if you are needed. The letter will direct you when to call.

What if I need to be excused or postpone my service?
Do not wait until you are notified to appear to submit your request.  If you are requesting to be excused for medical reasons, you must submit a doctor’s note.  The court does not accept requests from employers. When we receive your request, we will submit it to a judge for review.  When the judges makes a decision, we will notify you in writing.  Sometimes it takes a few weeks. You may submit your request by mail, by fax, or by e-mail.  Contact information for each office can be found here.

What if I have a doctor’s appointment or a planned vacation?
You must notify us as soon as possible, in writing.  If possible, please submit these dates with  your juror information card.  Do not wait until you are notified to appear.

Will my employer excuse me from work?
Your employment is protected by law while you are serving as a juror. However, your employer is not required to pay you while you serve.

If I do have to report, how long will I be there?
It varies. The court usually operates within normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).  Most of the time, if you are not seated on a jury, you will be released around lunchtime.

What happens on the day I report?
This process varies by office.  In general, you will check in, and the jury clerk will give a brief orientation.  Then, potential jurors will go to a courtroom, where the judge will explain what that day’s case is about and ask a series of questions.  After a jury is chosen, the rest of the group will be released.  Those who are released will remain on call for service, but will not have to report again until directed by the jury clerk.

What is the dress code?
There is no dress code, but you should dress in a manner that is respectful of the courtroom.

May I bring my cell phone?
The court prefers that you leave your phone in your car.  However, if you must carry it with you, it must be turned OFF while in the building.  Our office has several phones for you to use in case of an emergency or in order to arrange transportation, etc.

When and how much do I get paid for jury service?
Jurors are paid $50 for each day they attend. While the majority of jury trials last less than a week, jurors can receive up to $60 a day after serving 10 days on a trial. (Employees of the federal government are paid their regular salary in lieu of this fee.) Jurors are compensated for mileage ($.67/mile) and parking expenses. Jurors also receive a subsistence allowance covering their meals and lodging if they are required to stay overnight. We mail juror payments every two weeks.

What if I am age 70 or older?
Federal jury service is optional if you are age 70 or older. If you would like to serve, simply complete and return your questionnaire either online or by mail. If you do not wish to serve, indicate all persons over seventy (70) years of age under question 14.

I live a long distance from the courthouse and may prefer to spend the night in the city where the courthouse is located. Is it possible that I may be reimbursed for my room and travel expenses in connection with my jury service?
The clerk has determined that jurors who live 85 miles or more (one-way) from the courthouse to which they are to report for jury duty may stay overnight in a hotel or with a relatives or friends and be reimbursedfor subsistence based on the actual lodging expense incurred, up to the maximum daily lodging per diem, plus a daily M&IE allowance at the ratesset forth below in accordance with the US General Service Administration per diem rates. This includes the night before the first reporting date, provided the report time is at or before 8:30 a.m., local time. Jurors who live less that 85 miles from the courthouse to which they must report may be eligible to receive a travel subsistence allowance based on other factors, including current travel conditions. Advances approval from the jury clerk is required. For more information please contact the jury clerk for the division to which you are to report.