WELCOME TO JURY SERVICE


You have been summoned to appear for jury selection in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Serving as a juror is a fundamental obligation we all share as citizens of the United States. It is only by having individuals, such as yourself, participating in the process that we can be assured that all litigants in the Federal Court will be afforded their constitutional right to a trial by jury. We appreciate your willingness to accept this important responsibility. The following information will answer many of your questions. However, if you have additional questions after reading this, please contact the jury office at 1-877-614-2377 or by email: or .
We are here to help you. 



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


General Information

How was my name selected?

What is the difference between a grand juror and a petit juror?

Can I bring my cell phone or electronic device with me to the courthouse?

Will I have to go through security when I report for jury service?

How do I request to be excused from jury service?

Does the law protect my employment?

Are there restrictions on what I can bring to the courthouse?

Is there a dress code?

Why must I serve in Bismarck or Fargo?

Who is qualified to serve as a juror?

Who is exempt from jury service?

Who may be excused from jury service?

Where is the courthouse located?

I was on jury duty in the state or county district court. Can I be excused from federal jury service?

I was permanently excused from previous federal jury service, but I have received another questionnaire. Why?

 

eJuror/Participant Number

What is eJuror?

How do I access eJuror?

What is a Participant Number?

Where do I find my 9 digit Participant Number?

Who do I contact if I have misplaced my Participant Number?

Who do I contact if I am unable to log in to eJuror?

 

Qualification Questionnaire Information

I was not able to return the questionnaire within the 10 day time period? What should I do?

I am a U.S. Postal employee. Am I considered a federal employee?

I am a member of the National Guard. Am I considered a federal employee?

I am a farmer or rancher. Can I be excused during calving season, seeding & harvest times?

I am a snowbird and go south for the winter. Can I be excused during that time?

I am a college student. Do I have to report for jury service?

I have a medical condition which will make it difficult for me to serve as a juror. Do you need a doctor’s statement?

I lost my qualification questionnaire. How can I get another one?

Why does the questionnaire ask about my race and/or gender?

I no longer live in North Dakota. Must I still complete the questionnaire?

There was no return envelope provided in my packet? What is the address to return the form?

I am age 72 or over. Do I have to complete the entire questionnaire?

I am age 72 or over.Can I be excused from jury service because of my age?

My child is a full-time student. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

My mother/father is in a nursing home. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

My relative is physically or mentally handicapped. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

This person is deceased. Do I have to complete the questionnaire?


Jury Service

How long is my term of service?

How often will I have to report during my term of service?

How am I notified to report for jury service?

Why must I call the Juryline the day before I am scheduled to report?

How can my family contact me while I am on jury service?

Will food or refreshments be provided?

How will I be notified if I don’t have to report?

If I have to stay overnight, am I required to stay at a certain hotel?

What is the Juryline?

What happens on the first day of jury service and how long will I be there?

How many days do trials last?

Are meals provided?

Will I ever be required to stay late in the evening or be sequestered?

How long is a typical trial day and will we have breaks?

Can a family member or friend be with me in the courtroom?

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


Jury Fees and Expenses

Do I get paid for jury service?

Do I get reimbursed for mileage?

Do I get reimbursed for meals?

Can I stay overnight? Do I get reimbursed for hotel/motel expenses?

What if I do not have the funds to stay in a hotel/motel?

Do I have to report jury fees to the IRS?

Will I be paid if I travel the day before I am summoned to report?

When will I get paid?



General Information


How was my name selected?

Following each presidential election, the North Dakota Secretary of State provides the U.S. District Court with the Central Voter List. The Central Voter List contains the names of actual voters from the most recent presidential election. Pursuant to the Jury Plan for the District of North Dakota, the names of prospective jurors are randomly selected from the Central Voter List.


What is the difference between a grand juror and a petit juror?

The function of the grand jury is to listen to evidence presented by the Government, through the United States Attorney, and to determine if there is enough evidence to charge an individual or a corporation with a crime.

The function of the petit jury is to listen to evidence presented by the parties at trial, to determine issues of fact, and to reach a verdict in accordance with those findings.


Can I bring my cell phone or electronic device with me to the courthouse?

Yes. Jurors are permitted to have cell phones and electronic devices in the Federal Building.

Will I have to go through security when I report for jury service?

Yes. Any individual entering the federal courthouse will have to pass through a metal detector. If possible, avoid wearing lots of jewelry and belts with large buckles. Purses, briefcases, packages, etc., will be x-rayed.


How do I request to be excused from jury service?

Permanent Excuse: If you wish to request to be excused from the full six month term of service, the request must be made in writing and must briefly explain the reason for the request.

 

Temporary Excuse: The Court recognizes that jurors may need to request a temporary excuse from jury service for vacations, business obligations, graduations, medical appointments, etc. All requests for temporary excuse: 1) must be in writing, 2) should state the dates you are unavailable for jury service and 3) should briefly explain the reason for the request.

 

Requests for excuse can be made using the Remarks section when completing the qualification questionnaire. Requests may also be sent by US mail or by email to the following addresses:


Bismarck Jurors: Clerk, US District Court, PO Box 1193, Bismarck ND 58502


Fargo Jurors: Clerk, US District Court, 655 1st Ave N - Suite 130, Fargo ND 58102


As soon as you become aware of dates that you are not available for jury service, make the Court aware of those dates. The Court will make every effort to grant requests for temporary excuse from jury service.


Requests for excuse must be from the juror, not from your employer.


Does the law protect my employment?

Yes. Your job is protected under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1875. It is unlawful for any employer to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee because of jury service. Employers must allow their employees time off for jury service.

 

Employers are not required by law to pay your salary or wages while the you are reporting for jury service. We suggest you check with your employer regarding any jury duty policy they may have in place.

 

A certificate of attendance certifying your attendance as a juror will be provided upon request.

 

If you experience difficulty with your employer because of jury service, please contact the Court immediately.


Are there restrictions on what I can bring to the courthouse?

All persons entering the courthouse must go through security and have their personal belongings (purse, bag, etc.) x-rayed. You will be asked to return prohibited items to your vehicle before being allowed to enter the federal building.


Is there a dress code?

While no formal dress code exists, jurors are requested to dress in a manner that is respectful to the litigants and the Court. The courtrooms are generally very cool so you may want to bring a sweater or light jacket.


Why must I serve in Bismarck or Fargo?

The places of holding court in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota are set by statute and local rule.


If you reside in these counties, you will report at Bismarck:
Adams Billings Bottineau Bowman
Burke Burleigh Divide Dunn
Emmons Golden Valley Grant Hettinger
Kidder Logan McHenry McIntosch
McKenzie McLean Mercer Morton
Mountrail Oliver Pierce Renville
Sheridan Sioux Slope Stark
Ward Wells Williams  

                                                         

If you reside in these counties, you will report at Fargo: 
Barnes Benson Cass Cavalier
Dickey Eddy Foster Grand Forks
Griggs LaMoure Nelson Pembina
Ramsey Ransom Richland Rollette
Sargent Steele Stutsman Traill
Towner Walsh    

 


Who is qualified to serve as a juror?

Persons are deemed qualified to serve as jurors UNLESS the person:

 

            1.         is not a United States citizen

            2.         is not 18 years of age or older

            3.         has not resided in North Dakota for a period of at least one year

            4.         is unable to read, write, speak and understand the English language

            5.         is incapable, because of mental or physical infirmity, to render satisfactory jury service; or

            6.         has a charge pending for the commission of, or has been convicted in a state or federal court of record, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and whose civil rights have not been restored.


Who is exempt from jury service?

            1.         Members employed full-time in active service in the Armed Forces of the United States, which are defined in 10 U.S.C. Section 101(4) as including only the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Note: A member of a National Guard unit is only exempt when called to active federal service, as opposed to state service. The individual must be a full-time, active-status member of a National Guard unit that is federally recognized, that constitutes a reserve component of a branch of the Armed Forces as defined above, and that has been called into active federal service. 

            2.         Members of fire or police departments, employed on a full-time basis of any State or any subdivision of a State. Members of federal law enforcement entities such as the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Marshals Service are not exempt from jury duty.  

            3.         Persons employed on a full-time basis who are elected to public office or directly appointed by a person elected to public office in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of the Government of the United States, or of any State, or any subdivision of a State, who are actively engaged in the performance of official duties. The intent of the Jury Act was to exempt only those persons whose government service is such that an interruption for jury service would not be in furtherance of the public interest - usually persons with law-making and/or policy-making functions.


Who may be excused from jury service?

Upon written request, individuals may be excused for the following reasons:

            1.         Over age 72 (you must include your date of birth in the request).

            2.         Persons who have served as a federal juror in the Federal Court within the last 2 years. 

            3.         A person who serves without compensation as a volunteer firefighter or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for a federal, state or local government agency.

            4.         A person having active care and custody of a child or children whose health or safety would be jeopardized by your absence for jury service; or a person who is essential to the care of an aged or infirm person.

            5.         A full-time student.


Where is the courthouse located?  Bismarck | Fargo


I was on jury duty in the state or county district court. Can I be excused from federal jury service?

No. The state and federal courts are separate.


I was permanently excused from previous federal jury service, but I have received another questionnaire. Why?

We randomly select names from the actual voter list of each presidential election. When you voted in the most recent presidential election, your name went back on the list of potential jurors. You should complete the qualification questionnaire, and if appropriate, request to be excused.

 

eJuror/Participant Number

 

What is eJuror?

eJuror gives prospective jurors the opportunity to complete the qualification questionnaire online. Jurors who complete the form electronically do not have to complete the paper questionnaire.

 

How do I access eJuror?  Click here to access eJuror

Follow the instructions to login and complete the questionnaire online. If you complete the questionnaire online, you do not have to return the paper questionnaire form.

 

What is a Participant Number?

The participant number is a 9 digit number assigned to you by the Court. You will need your participant number to access the Juryline for reporting instructions and other information regarding jury service in the U.S. District Court in North Dakota.

 

Where do I find my 9 digit Participant Number?

Your participant number is located on the Summons that was mailed to you with the qualification questionnaire. You should save your Summons for future reference. You will need your participant number to access the Juryline for reporting instructions and other information regarding jury service in the U.S. District Court in North Dakota.

 

Who do I contact if I have misplaced my Participant Number?

Contact the jury office by telephone at 1-877-614-2377. Follow the instructions on the Juryline to speak with a jury clerk. Or you may send an email to request your Participant Number. or .

 

Who do I contact if I am unable to log in to eJuror?

Contact the jury office by telephone at 1-877-614-2377. Follow the instructions on the Juryline to speak with a jury clerk. Or you may send an email to request login help. or .


Qualification Questionnaire Information


I was not able to return the questionnaire within the 10 day time period. What should I do?

Please complete the online questionnaire or the paper questionnaire and return it to us as soon as possible.


I am a U.S. Postal employee. Am I considered a federal employee?

No, you are not considered to be a federal employee and you will be paid the attendance fee.


I am a member of the National Guard. Am I considered a federal employee?

No, you are not considered to be a federal employee and you will be paid the attendance fee.


I am a farmer or rancher. Can I be excused during calving season, seeding & harvest times?

Yes. You must submit a written request for temporary excuse from jury service during those times.


I am a snowbird and go south for the winter. Can I be excused during that time?

Yes. You must submit a written request for temporary excuse from jury service during that time.


I am a college student. Do I have to report for jury service?

No. Full-time students may be excused from jury service if they make the request (either on the questionnaire form, in a letter or by email request).

I have a medical condition which will make it difficult for me to serve as a juror. Do you need a doctor’s statement?

No. You should briefly explain the medical condition when completing the qualification questionnaire.

 

I lost my qualification questionnaire. How can I get another one?

Contact the jury office by telephone at 1-877-614-2377. Follow the instructions on the Juryline to speak with a jury clerk. Or you may send an email to request a duplicate questionnaire form. or .


Why does the questionnaire ask about my race and/or gender?

Federal law requires you as a prospective juror to indicate your race. This answer is required solely to avoid discrimination in jury selection and has no bearing on your qualifications for jury service. By answering this question you help the federal court check and observe the juror selection process so that discrimination cannot occur. In this way, the federal court can fulfill the policy of the United States, which is to provide jurors who are randomly selected from a fair cross section of the community.

 

I no longer live in North Dakota. Must I still complete the questionnaire?

You must complete the online questionnaire; OR if you are using the paper questionnaire form, please indicate your new address, sign, date, and return the form in the envelope provided to you.


There was no return envelope provided in my packet? What is the address to return the form?

You may return the form in a regular letter envelope to:

Clerk, U.S. District Court, PO Box 1193, Bismarck ND 58502

or

Clerk, U.S. District Court, 655 1st Avenue North, Suite 130, Fargo ND 58102


I am age 72 or over. Do I have to complete the entire questionnaire?

If you are completing the questionnaire online, you must complete the entire questionnaire. If you are completing the paper questionnaire, you will only need to answer 2 questions.

*Question number 2: Are you 18 years of age or older? (You must include your date of birth); and

*Question number 14: Grounds for Requesting Excuse (Fill in circle 1 to indicate you are requesting to be excused because of your age.)


I am age 72 or over. Can I be excused from jury service because of my age?

Yes. You may make the request to be excused when completing the juror qualification questionnaire. If you wish to make the request after you have returned the questionnaire, you must submit a written request for excuse.


My child is a full-time student. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

Yes, if you have their permission. You must indicate your name, your relationship to the person named on the questionnaire and the reason why you completed the form for them.


My mother/father is in a nursing home. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

Yes. You must indicate your name, your relationship to the person named on the questionnaire and the reason why you completed the form for them.


My relative is physically or mentally handicapped. May I complete the questionnaire on his/her behalf?

Yes. You must indicate your name, your relationship to the person named on the questionnaire and the reason why you completed the form for them.


This person is deceased. Do I have to complete the questionnaire?

Yes. If you are completing the online questionnaire, respond "yes" to the question "Is the addressee deceased?" You will not be required to complete the rest of the questionnaire. If you are completing the paper questionnaire, use the Remarks section to indicate the person is deceased. You must include your name and your relationship to the addressee.


Jury Service


How long is my term of service?

The term of service for petit jurors is 6 months: March 1 until approximately August 31 or September 1 until approximately February 28. During your term of service you will only be required to report to the courthouse for jury service one time. If you are not selected as a trial juror, your term of service is complete upon conclusion of the jury selection process. If you are selected to serve as a trial juror, your term of service is complete upon conclusion of the trial.

 

The term of service for grand jurors is 18 months.


How often will I have to report during my term of service?

You will only have to report to the courthouse one time for jury selection. If you are not selected as a trial juror, your term of service is complete. If you are selected as a trial juror, your term of service is complete upon conclusion of the trial.

 

How am I notified to report for jury service?

Approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the date you are to report, the Court will send a notice to report for a specific trial. The notice will be sent by email or by U.S. mail. The notice will indicate the date and time you are to report and will include the estimated length of the trial. You must immediately acknowledge receipt of the notice and advise the Court if you are available to report. If you have a conflict, you should immediately submit a written request for excuse.


Why must I call the Juryline the day before I am scheduled to report?

We have found that using the Juryline is the most efficient way to advise jurors in the event there is a change in the court schedule. When calling the Juryline you will reach a recorded message with reporting instructions. If there has been a change, it saves jurors an unnecessary trip to the courthouse. After 12:00 PM on the day BEFORE you are to appear for jury service, you must call the Juryline at 1-877-614-2377. You will need your nine digit Participant # to access the reporting instructions. Your participant number is located on the Summons that is mailed to you with your qualification questionnaire. If you are scheduled to report on a Monday you may call any time after 5:00 PM on Friday and throughout the week-end. If you include your telephone number and/or your email address on your jury questionnaire you may receive an automated call, an email, or a text from the Court to remind you of your reporting date and time or to advise if there has been a change in the court schedule.


How can my family contact me while I am on jury service?

If family members or friends need to contact you, they may call the clerk’s office and leave a message for you.

Clerk’s Office Telephone Numbers:  Bismarck Jurors: 701-530-2300

                                                        Fargo Jurors:      701-297-7000


Will food or refreshments be provided?

The Court will provide bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and light snacks for trial jurors.

The jury room is equipped with a refrigerator and microwave for your use. All jurors are responsible for their own meal expenses.

 

How will I be notified if I don’t have to report?

You must call the Juryline at 1-877-614-2377 after 12:00 PM on the day before you are instructed to report. You will need your nine digit participant number to access the jury line. Your participant number is located on the Summons that is mailed to you with your qualification questionnaire. You will reach a recorded message with reporting instructions. The Juryline is available on week-ends and holidays.

Whenever possible, the Court will notify you of any change in the court schedule by use of an automated outbound telephone call, an email, or a text.


If I have to stay overnight, am I required to stay at a certain hotel?

No. You may stay wherever you choose. When checking in, identify yourself as a federal juror and request the government rate. You must submit a copy of your hotel receipt to the clerk’s office to receive the full subsistence amount.


What is the Juryline?

The Juryline is a toll free number (1-877-614-2377) that you must call for final reporting instructions or that you may call if you have questions regarding jury service and would like to speak with the jury administrator. After 12:00 PM on the day BEFORE you are to appear for jury service, you must call the Juryline at 1-877-614-2377. You will need your nine digit Participant # to access the final reporting instructions. Your participant number is located on the Summons that is mailed to you with your qualification questionnaire. If you are scheduled to report on a Monday you may call any time after 5:00 PM on Friday and throughout the week-end. If you include your telephone number and/or your email address on your jury questionnaire, you may receive an automated call, an email, or a text from the Court to remind you of your reporting date and time or to advise if there has been a change in the court schedule.

 

What happens on the first day of jury service and how long will I be there?

You will view a short video regarding jury service in the federal court. Jury selection may take three to six hours. The trial will begin as soon as the jury has been selected. You are not required to stay overnight. However, if you live some distance from the Court, you may wish to be prepared to stay overnight if you are selected as a juror.

If you are not selected as a juror, you will be free to leave when jury selection is finished and your term of service will be complete.


How many days do trials last?

The average length of trial in the District of North Dakota is 3-4 days. You will be advised of the estimated length of trial when you are summoned to report for a specific trial. If serving on a lengthy trial would be difficult for you, you may submit a written request for excuse from that trial.


Are meals provided?

The Court does not provide meals. The Court will provide bottled water, coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and a light mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. There is a refrigerator and a microwave available for your use in the jury room.


Will I ever be required to stay late in the evening or be sequestered?

It is unusual for trials to run into the evening hours. If that were to happen, you would have ample time to make necessary arrangements and advise your family.

 

It is extremely unusual for jurors to be sequestered. If sequestration is a possibility, you will be notified at the time you are summoned to report for a particular trial.


How long is a typical trial day and will we have breaks?

Court is usually in session from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon and from 1:15 PM to 4:30 PM. There will be at least one break in the morning and one break in the afternoon.


Can a family member or friend be with me in the courtroom?

Friends and family members may sit in the courtroom during the jury selection process and throughout the trial.  


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

A certificate of attendance certifying your attendance as a juror will be provided upon request.


Jury Fees and Expenses


Do I get paid for jury service?

You will be paid an attendance fee of $50.00 for each day you report for jury service. Federal employees will be paid by their agency and are not paid the attendance fee.


Do I get reimbursed for mileage?

You will be paid round trip mileage from your residence to the federal courthouse. The Court has an automated program that calculates the milesage from your residence address to the courthouse.


Do I get reimbursed for meals?

Jurors who drive back and forth each day will not be reimbursed for meals. Jurors who are staying overnight will be paid a subsistence amount that includes an amount for meals and incidental expenses. You must live 50 miles or further from the Court and must stay overnight to receive the subsistence amount. It is not necessary to submit receipts for meals.


Can I stay overnight? Do I get reimbursed for hotel/motel expenses?

If you live more than 50 miles from the courthouse you may stay overnight if you choose. You are not required to stay overnight. You may stay at a hotel, a motel, or with family or friends. If you are staying in a hotel or motel you must provide the Court with a copy of your lodging receipt.


If you meet the distance requirement of 50 miles from the courthouse, you will be paid a subsistence amount. Jurors who live closer than 50 miles may stay overnight if they choose, but they will not be paid the subsistence amount.


Further, if you live more than 50 miles from the courthouse, you may travel and stay overnight on the day before you are summoned to report and you may stay overnight during the trial if you are selected as a juror. Jurors will be reimbursed for their expenses after completion of the trial.


If you do not have the funds to pay for a hotel or motel, please contact the jury office by telephone at 1-877-614-2377. Follow the instructions on the Juryline to speak with a jury clerk. Or you may send an email. or .


Staying Overnight in a Hotel/Motel: If you choose to stay overnight in a hotel/motel, you must provide the Court with a receipt. You will be paid a subsistence amount. Jurors are responsible for making their own hotel/motel reservation. When making your reservation, you are encouraged to request the federal government rate.


Staying Overnight with Family/Friends: If you choose to stay overnight with family or friends, you will be paid a subsistence amount.


What if I do not have the funds to stay in a hotel/motel?

If you do not have the funds to pay for a hotel or motel, please contact the jury office by telephone at 1-877-614-2377. Follow the instructions on the Juryline to speak with a jury clerk, or you may send an email. or .


Do I have to report jury fees to the IRS?

Yes. Jury attendance fees must be reported to the IRS. The Court will issue a 1099 tax form when the amount paid to you in a calendar year is $600 or more (e.g., 12 days or more of jury service). The Court encourages you to keep track of the number of days you are paid the attendance fee.

This reporting requirement only applies to the $50 attendance fee. You are not required to report the mileage and subsistence amounts which are expense reimbursements.

                                                                                                                     

Will I be paid if I travel the day before I am summoned to report?

If you live more than 50 miles from the courthouse you may travel the day before you are summoned to report. You will be paid the $50 attendance fee, mileage and the appropriate subsistence amount. If you are staying in a hotel or motel you must provide the Court with a copy of your lodging receipt.


When will I get paid?

Jury checks will be mailed to you approximately 3 weeks after the trial has ended.