UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


for the Western District of Michigan

Paul L. Maloney

Chief Judge

Tracey Cordes

Clerk of Court


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Frequently Asked Summons Questions

1. I received a summons, how do I know it's a legitimate federal form?
2.

I've received a summons, does that mean I automatically have to appear on the date printed on the summons?

3. What information do I need to return to the court?
4. Why must I serve in (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette)?
5. What is the difference between Petit and Grand jury?
6. I can not serve on jury duty, should I call the court to ask to be excused?
7. Am I required to serve, is jury duty mandatory?
8.

I realize it is my civic duty to participate in the jury process but I can't do it during the term specified on the summons, is it possible to have my jury service postponed?

9. I'm a school teacher, can I have my jury service postponed until summer?
10. What types of cases are heard in federal court?
11. What counties comprise the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette wheels?
12. I've moved out of the district, what should I do?
13. I sent in a letter to be excused. How/when will I know the Court's decision?
14.

I received a letter stating my request to be excused was denied. I'd like the judge to reconsider. Can I send in another request?

15. I have received a summons from federal court but I just served in my local county court.
16. Why have some people never been called for jury duty?
17. What fees are paid to jurors?
18. When will I receive payment for jury service?
19. Are jury fees considered reportable income?
20. Does my employer have to pay me or at least make up the difference while I serve on a jury?
21. What protects my employment while I'm serving on a jury duty?
22. What is the number I'm supposed to call?
23. How do I check for reporting instructions?
24.

I keep calling the 800 number but the telephone is busy, can I find out if I'm supposed to appear any other way?

25.

If I'm asked to appear for selection and must travel, where do I spend the night and how do I pay for it?

26. I've been instructed to appear, what happens on the first day that I'm there?
27. Will I ever be required to serve late in the evening or be sequestered?
28. How many days do the trials last?
29. Where do I park?
30. What should I bring with me when I come in?
31. What should I wear?
32. How long will I be at the courthouse the first day?
33. My employer wants proof that I appeared for jury duty.
34. Are jurors given breaks? Are we allowed to smoke?
35. Are there lunch facilities available or will we be expected to bring our lunch?
36. May I bring my children?
37. How can my family reach me in case of an emergency?
38. Will I be sitting around for a long time before we are taken to the courtroom?
39. What if there is bad weather on the day I'm asked to appear?
40. What is the penalty for not appearing?
41. How can I contact the jury office?

1. I received a summons, how do I know it's a legitimate federal form?

2. I've received a summons, does that mean I automatically have to appear on the date printed on the summons?

Not necessarily. The court calls only the number of people needed for each selection.  Therefore, you must always call the (800) number listed on your summons prior to reporting.

3. What information do I need to return to the court?

If you elect to send the paper forms mailed to you with your summons you need to return the bottom half of the summons AND the voir dire questionnaire you received with the summons.

When responding through E-juror you need only return the bottom half of the summons. You will answer the questions from the questionnaire electronically and do not need to complete the paper form which comes with the summons.

4. Why must I serve in (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette)?

The state of Michigan is divided into two Districts, the Western District and the Eastern District. Each district is divided into ďdivisionsĒ with designated counties in each ďdivisionĒ.

This, the Western District, is comprised of the following counties:

Southern Division at Grand Rapids:  Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Clinton, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Wexford

Southern Division at Kalamazoo:  Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren

Southern Division at Lansing:  Jurors may occasionally be drawn from Grand Rapids counties to report to Lansing for jury selection.

Northern Division at Marquette (includes entire Upper Peninsula):  Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, Schoolcraft.

5. What is the difference between Petit and Grand jury?

The powers and functions of the federal grand jury differ from those of the federal trial jury, which is called the ďpetitĒ jury. The petit jury listens to evidence offered by the prosecution and the defense (if it chooses to offer any) during a criminal trial and returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The grand jury, on the other hand, does not determine guilt or innocence, but only whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an ďindictmentĒ. After that the accused may go to trial.

6. I can not serve on jury duty, should I call the court to ask to be excused?

No, ALL requests to be excused MUST be made in writing. Please, DO NOT call the court to ask if you have a legitimate reason for being excused. Federal statue requires that all excuse requests must be decided by a Federal District Judge. The jury department can not advise if you have a legitimate excuse. If you feel you have compelling reasons that you can not serve you must write your reasons and submit them in the envelope that came with your summons. If you do not have that envelope you can mail your request to the address on your summons. The only time you should call regarding an excuse is when you have a last minute emergency that cannot be handled through the mail.

7. Am I required to serve, is jury duty mandatory?

Yes. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases. Your participation as a juror helps make this possible.

8. I realize it is my civic duty to participate in the jury process but I can't do it during the term specified on the summons, is it possible to have my jury service postponed?

The Jury Act allows courts to grant temporary deferrals of service on the grounds of "extreme hardship or extreme inconvenience". If jury service during the time specified on your summons will create a hardship for you, you may request in writing, to be postponed to another date. In many cases you will be able to defer yourself to another term by accessing the E-Juror portion of our website. You must complete all the information in E-Juror before requesting a deferral. If you are unable to defer yourself through E-juror you may submit a request to the court via email. On the website, directly below the E-Juror button, is a button "Request and excuse or deferral". Follow the tabs in the division to which you have been summoned. Complete the form and submit. The email will go to the jury department for consideration. You will receive notification of the Court's decision via the email address you provide.  Please specify the month in which you will be available. A person can be deferred only twice and then you must serve. You may also submit your request via first class mail in the envelope that came with your summons, or to the address on your summons.

9. I'm a school teacher, can I have my jury service postponed until summer?

This court does not defer teachers to the summer months as we would have only teachers in the jury pools during that time. If you are a teacher you must serve during the term specified on your summons or you may request to be deferred to a less critical time during the school year.

10. What types of cases are heard in federal court?

Federal Court jurisdiction is limited to certain kinds of cases listed in the Constitution. For the most part, federal courts only hear cases in which the United States is party, cases involving violations of the Constitution or federal law, crimes on federal land, and bankruptcy cases. Federal courts also hear cases based on state laws that involve parties from different states. While federal courts hear fewer cases than the state courts, the cases they do hear tend to be of national importance because of the federal laws they enforce and the federal rights they protect.

11. What counties comprise the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette wheels?

Southern Division at Grand Rapids:  Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Clinton, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Wexford

Southern Division at Kalamazoo:  Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren

Southern Division at Lansing:  Jurors may occasionally be drawn from Grand Rapids counties to report to Lansing for jury selection.

Northern Division at Marquette (includes entire Upper Peninsula):  Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, Schoolcraft.

12. I've moved out of the district, what should I do?

Make a note of the county/state you now live and mail it back in the envelope provided with your summons. This information MUST be provided in writing.

13. I sent in a letter to be excused. How/when will I know the Court's decision?

Requests to be excused are generally processed the day they arrive at the courthouse. All excuse requests are sent to a District Judge, or Magistrate Judge, for decision. The jury department will notify you by email, if an email address was provided, of the judge's decision. If the Court does not have an email address you will be notified via first class mail. You may also check your status by calling (800) 553-6050. Enter your nine digit participant number for your current status. You must continue to call as instructed for reporting information until you have received notification that you have been excused.

14. I received a letter stating my request to be excused was denied. I'd like the judge to reconsider. Can I send in another request?

No, once the Judge has made a decision regarding your request he will not reconsider. If your request is denied you must appear for selection (if instructed to appear when calling as required) and ask for reconsideration during the voir dire process.

15. I have received a summons from federal court but I just served in my local county court.

Jury service in a state/county court does not exempt you from serving in federal court. If you have served on a Federal petit/grand jury within two years you may be excused. You must write a letter giving us the information regarding your previous federal jury service.

16. Why have some people never been called for jury duty?

Eligibility for federal jury service is dependent both upon an individual meeting the legal qualifications for service and upon the random chance of having one's name drawn from the source lists.  Each judicial district must have a formal written plan for the selection of jurors, which provides for random selection from a fair cross-section of the community in the district, and which prohibits discrimination in the selection process. Voter records--either voter registration lists or lists of actual voters--are the required source of names for federal court juries. This court supplements voter lists with lists of licensed drivers. A copy of this district's jury plan is available on our web-site.

17. What fees are paid to jurors?

During the months of November through March if you live over 50 miles from the courthouse and during the months of April through October and live over 75 miles from the courthouse you are entitled to receive a subsistence fee of $132.00 for each night you are staying in a hotel. If you are staying with friends or family the subsistence allowance is $51.00 for each night you are staying with them. To qualify for the subsistence allowance you must first call the answering machine and be instructed to appear. If you fail to phone ahead and be instructed to appear you will not receive payment. You will be asked to provide a hotel receipt upon check in.

Current Subsistence Rates (effective October 1, 2013):

Grand Rapids Divisional Office: $139.00
Kalamazoo Divisional Office: $140.00
Lansing Divisional Office: $137.00
Marquette Divisional Office: $129.00

You will be reimbursed the subsistence rate for each night you stay in a hotel. If you are financially unable to pay for a hotel in advance please contact the court to make other arrangements. Some local hotels will bill the court directly in the event of a financial hardship.

18. When will I receive payment for jury service?

Juror payments are processed each Friday and are usually mailed by the middle of the following week.

19. Are jury fees considered reportable income?

Juror attendance fees are considered ďother incomeĒ by the IRS and must be reported. A 1099 form will be mailed to any/all jurors who earn at least $600.00 in attendance fees (the $40.00 daily allowance). This does not include reimbursement for travel or subsistence.

20. Does my employer have to pay me or at least make up the difference while I serve on a jury?

No, at this time there is no law requiring employers to do so. The majority of employers at least make up the difference.

21. What protects my employment while I'm serving on a jury duty?

You are protected by Federal Statue, 28 U.S.C. ß 1875, from being discharged, intimidated or coerced by your permanent employer because of your attendance for service at this Court. 

    a) No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any
        permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.
    (b) Any employer who violates the provisions of this section -
    (1) shall be liable for damages for any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an employee by reason of such violation;
    (2) may be enjoined from further violations of this section and ordered to provide other appropriate relief, including but not limited to the reinstatement of any employee discharged by reason of his jury service; and
    (3) shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation as to each employee and may be ordered to perform community service.
 

22. What is the number I'm supposed to call?

Click on the link for the city your Summons requests you to report to:

23. How do I check for reporting instructions

Please call the jury hotline number (800) 553-6050. You will need your nine digit participant number when calling. This number can be found on the front of your summons to the right of your name and address.

24. I keep calling the 800 number but the telephone is busy, can I find out if I'm supposed to appear any other way?

For your convenience the reporting schedule is available on this website.

Click on the link for the city your Summons requests you to report to:

25. If I'm asked to appear for selection and must travel, where do I spend the night and how do I pay for it?

You will have received a list of area hotels with your summons. You must contact the hotel of your choice to make reservations. You will be reimbursed the subsistence allowance.

Current Subsistence Rates (effective October 1, 2009):

Grand Rapids Divisional Office: $139.00
Kalamazoo Divisional Office: $140.00
Lansing Divisional Office: $137.00
Marquette Divisional Office: $129.00

You will be reimbursed the subsistence rate for each night you stay in a hotel. If you are financially unable to pay for a hotel in advance please contact the court to make other arrangements. Some local hotels will bill the court directly in the event of a financial hardship.

26. I've been instructed to appear, what happens on the first day that I'm there?

You will report to the location specified on the recording. Jury personnel will check you in.  You will be asked your mileage, whether or not you are a federal employee, whether you stayed in a hotel and where you parked. You will be directed to the jury assembly room where you will see a short film and orientation by jury personnel. Any questions you have will be answered at that time.

27. Will I ever be required to serve late in the evening or be sequestered?

Normally Court is in session from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Only in extremely rare cases will a jury be sequestered.

28. How many days do the trials last?

Trials can last anywhere from less than one day to several weeks in length. Our trials normally last 3-5 days. The Judge will advise you of the anticipated length of the trial during the selection process.

29. Where do I park?

Click on the link for the city your Summons requests you to report to:

30. What should I bring with me when I come in?

Please bring your Jury Summons with you when you report. You may also want to bring books, magazines or study materials with you. Since the courtrooms tend to be cool, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket with you.

31. What should I wear?

Please use good judgment and dress conservatively. Appropriate dress is required. Shorts, halter/tank tops or T-shirts with slogans are not permitted. As courtrooms tend to be cool you may want to bring a sweater or light jacket with you.

32. How long will I be at the courthouse the first day?

You will be required to report promptly at 8:00 a.m. on your first day, unless the telephone answering device tells you another time to report. You will be checked in and receive reporting and selection instructions prior to the selection process. Jury selection normally begins at 9:00 and is normally concluded before 12:00 noon. Trials begin immediately after selection. Therefore, if you are not selected you should be excused before noon.

33. My employer wants proof that I appeared for jury duty.

Upon check in you will be given a work slip or attendance verification for your employer. If you are selected as a juror you will receive proof of each day's attendance on your last reporting day, at the conclusion of the trial. You may also access the E-Juror portion of our website and print an attendance letter daily.

34. Are jurors given breaks? Are we allowed to smoke?

Breaks are given both during the selection process and the trial. Smoking is allowed outside of the federal building only.

35. Are there lunch facilities available or will we be expected to bring our lunch?

There are restaurants within walking distance of the building or you may bring a lunch with you. Lunch is not provided by the Court.

36. May I bring my children?

No, the Court has no child care facilities.

37. How can my family reach me in case of an emergency?

Family may call the jury office in the event of an emergency. Jury staff will notify you immediately.

38. Will I be sitting around for a long time before we are taken to the courtroom?

Normally jury selection begins promptly at 9:00. Occasionally, however, there are delays. Our Judges value you and your participation. We make every effort to use your time well.

39. What if there is bad weather on the day I'm asked to appear?

Those people who have been selected and are sitting as jurors will be notified via telephone if the trial is canceled due to weather. Persons who are supposed to report for selection should call the number listed on your summons. The message will be updated if selection is canceled.

40. What is the penalty for not appearing?

Any person summoned for jury service who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the district court to appear forthwith and show cause for 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, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.

41. How can I contact the jury office?

Click on the link for the city your Summons requests you to report to:

 

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