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What you need to know about jury service.
What is a petit jury?
A petit jury is also known as a trial jury. This is the group of people who determine any question or issue of fact in any criminal or civil trial according to law and the evidence introduced at the trial.
In a criminal case the jury determines whether the United States has proved the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a civil trial the jury decides which side has prevailed by a preponderance of the evidence, and may also decide that property or money is owed to the prevailing party.
What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is often a larger group of people than a trial jury and serves for a longer period of time. The grand jury does not determine the guilt or innocence, but only whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that a specific person or persons committed it.
If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, it will return a written statement of the charges called an Indictment. Once that has been done, the accused will either plead guilty or go to trial.
Where did you get my name for jury service?
This court receives a list of active registered voters from the Alaska State Division of Elections. This list creates the court's Master Jury Wheel, a term which originated in the days when names were placed in a large barrel-type wheel and turned around to mix them up. From this Wheel the court uses software to randomly select groups of prospective jurors to summon over the course of a two-year period.
Every two years the court discards the old Master Wheel and Qualified Wheel and recreates them from the most current databases at that time.
Who is considered 'qualified' for jury service?
To be qualified for jury service a person must be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years of age, able to read, write, speak and understand the English language, and have resided in the State of Alaska for at least one (1) year.
Persons who may not serve as jurors include those who: have pending criminal charges which may be punishable by more than one year in prison; have been convicted of a felony without having their civil rights restored; have a physical or mental disability that would prevent service as a juror; or those who hold certain occupations (full-time military, police, firefighters and elected public officials).
How long is jury service?
Petit jurors are summoned for a 4-week on-call period. This does not mean that they are in court for 4 weeks, but may be called in for service at some point during their term. If selected they are expected to remain for the duration of the trial.
Grand jurors serve for an 18-month period. During this time they meet once a month for one to four days.
How will I know which days to report for service?
Petit jurors should call the Jury Information Line after 5:00 PM on the Friday before your term begins. You will need to enter your nine-digit participant number into the automated system to receive instructions specific to you. The message will always tell you either when to appear, or when to call again (usually on Fridays). Your participant number may be found on your paperwork.
Petit jurors should NOT report for jury service unless they call the Jury Information Line and are told to report. Please pay close attention to the message each time and follow the instructions closely. Jury selections are always subject to change due to last minute pleas and settlements. You may occasionally receive a call from this service with updates or reminders.
If you do not call as instructed and then appear when it is not necessary, you will not be paid the attendance and mileage fee, and rural jurors will not be reimbursed for their airfare.
The Jury Information Line telephone number is 1-800-478-5654.
Grand jurors DO NOT call for a reporting date. You will simply report in Anchorage by 8:00 a.m. on the date indicated on your summons. Please note that the grand jury meets in Anchorage and citizens from all over the state must be called for this type of jury service. Information regarding per diem and travel reimbursement is sent out with the summons. Please see the portion regarding excuses if you would like to make a request to be excused from jury service. This process is the same for petit and grand jurors.
How will I know if I am on petit jury service or grand jury service?
Your summons will clearly state "GRAND JURY" if you are to be a grand juror. If not, you will know it is a petit jury summons.
If asked to report, how many hours will I be at the courthouse each day?
On the first day of jury service you will usually be asked to report by 8:00 AM. This gives us time to complete orientation and paperwork before trial is scheduled to begin. Normal trial hours run from approximately 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, with time for lunch and breaks. Hours may vary. The trial judge will advise you when to leave and report each day.
What if I am late?
Please, always report on time!
It is extremely important for you to be prompt both in the morning and after lunch. Promptness is most important when serving on a trial since the entire proceeding can be delayed because of the tardiness of a single juror. Jurors who appear late may be required to provide a written explanation indicating why they did not appear for service when summoned.
Will I ever have to spend the night?
It depends on where you live. If you live in rural areas outside our main offices in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks, then you will be required to travel for jury service. The court at which you are to appear is determined by the State of Alaska census area in which you live.
If you have to travel for service, you will receive an additional subsistence allowance if you stay overnight. You may travel the evening before jury selection to ensure that you can report on time the next morning.
Jurors from the Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake and Girdwood areas are NOT considered out of town for travel purposes in the Anchorage division.
Where do I report for jury service?
For Anchorage, report to the James M. Fitzgerald United States
Courthouse and Federal Building, at 222 W. 7th Ave., Room 262.
For Juneau, the courthouse is located at 709 W 9th St., Room 979.
For Fairbanks, please report to 101 12th Ave, Room 332.
Be sure to check the jury recording before reporting for service
if you have been summoned for petit jury service.
State-wide Jury Information Line: (800) 478-5654 toll free
Jury Clerk (Anchorage and Juneau) 907-677-6137 or 866-243-3814
Jury Clerk (Fairbanks) 907-451-5791
From which voting districts do you summon jurors?
We summon jurors from all voting districts. The U.S. District Court has jurisdiction within the entire State of Alaska.
In the days I am not asked to report for jury service, what should I do?
On days when your attendance is not required you should continue your normal schedule of work, school, etc.
What are grounds for being excused from jury service and how do I make the request?
You may, upon request, to be excused from jury service if any of the following apply:
- You are more than 70 years of age
- You have already served as a grand or petit juror in federal/state court within the last two years
- You serve as a volunteer firefighter or a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for any federal, state or local government agency
You may request to have your jury service moved to another time, or to be excused from a portion of your 4-week call in period, or to be excused from your jury service entirely. Include your name, mailing address and participant number in your request and send it via the contact information on your summons. You may send requests via letter, fax, email, or the eJuror website.
You must make your request in writing! Requests cannot be granted over the phone. Please, do not wait until the last minute to make your request. Allow sufficient time for the paperwork to be received and reviewed by the court before your reporting date.
If the basis of your request is a permanent disability or temporary medical problem, please attach a doctors statement to your request.
If you are employed and are claiming financial difficulties due to lack of pay while serving, the judge will require a statement from your employer that you will not be paid while attending jury service. This may be a copy of the policy from an employee handbook, or a written note from your supervisor or HR staff.
If the basis of your request is prior vacation plans, provide the exact dates you will be traveling. A copy of your itinerary is not needed.
You may request to be rescheduled due to work or school obligations, vacation plans, or similar reasons.
You will receive a response to your request from the jury clerk. Until you receive confirmation of your excuse or deferral, you remain on call.
Does my employer have to pay me my normal wages if I'm serving on a jury?
No. However, many choose to do so.
Most employers have policies which stipulate whether they are willing or not willing to pay employees while they are serving on jury duty. Please check with your employer regarding their normal policies and procedures.
Can my employer fire me for not being at work due to jury duty?
No. You have employment protection rights as a juror.
How much do you pay for jury duty?
The court pays an attendance fee of $50.00 per day, plus transportation expense reimbursement of the current mileage allowance. We do not offer bus passes; the mileage allowance should cover the amount required for bus fare from your home to the courthouse. Taxi fares will be reimbursed to rural jurors from the airport to the courthouse and back to the airport.
You will receive your juror check approximately three weeks following your appearance.
A 1099 form will be mailed to you after the end of the calendar year if your cumulative attendance is in excess of fifteen (15) days or $600 in attendance fees, not including per diem or mileage. Contact the IRS or a professional tax consultant if you have questions about reporting your fees on your tax return.
Where should I park when I report for jury duty?
In Anchorage, you should park at the 5th Avenue parking garage at 5th Avenue and B Street. Bring your ticket to the court for validation.
There is no designated parking at the Juneau courthouse; parking is available along several nearby streets.
In Fairbanks you may park in the Federal Building Visitor’s Lot.
Are meals provided?
Meals are not provided, though we do provide coffee, tea, and soda. You may bring a lunch if you wish. We have a refrigerator for your use. There are cafeterias in the Anchorage and Juneau Federal Buildings as well as other restaurants nearby. Less options are available in Fairbanks, especially in winter.
Remember to take your ID with you if you leave the building. You will need it to get back in!
May I bring my children?
No. Please do not bring children. We do not have child care facilities at the courthouse.
Is there a dress code?
There is no formal dress code but we ask that you dress within common sense standards of ordinary taste, respecting the fact that you are a key participant in court proceedings. Tank tops, shorts, and slippers are not allowed.
Can I bring my laptop, cell phone, or pager?
Personal electronics must be turned off before being brought into the courtroom during selection. They must be left in the jury room during trial, and will brought to the jury office during deliberations.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska does not accept responsibility for the theft or loss of any personal item left in the jury assembly room.
eJuror is asking for me to choose a county. We don’t have counties in Alaska, what should I enter?
As eJuror is used nation-wide, it asks for counties. The choices listed are the locations of the three US District Court jury divisions. The entire state is assigned to one of these districts. The one you are assigned to is listed on your paperwork and is not always the closest to you geographically. Please choose the location listed on your paperwork, or “None of the Above”. If you have any questions, please call the jury clerk.
My deferral confirmation said I would begin my new service on a specific date, and I have not yet received notification of it. What should I do?
As your paperwork stated, exact dates cannot be guaranteed. Summonses are issued only at 4 week intervals. You will be added to the first groups available after whatever date you supply. You should receive notification and information four to six weeks in advance of your new service date.