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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 civil or criminal 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 randomly selects potential jurors from a list of active voter registrations. The addresses for the selected registered voters will be compared with the United States Postal Service's National Change of Address Database to obtain the most current address for those names placed in the Master Jury Wheels.
This selection 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; today we use computers to randomly select names. Each person selected is mailed a qualification questionnaire to be completed and returned. Receiving a qualification questionnaire does not mean that you have been summoned for jury service. Its purpose is only to develop a large pool of qualified citizens from which potential jurors can be summoned.
Those citizens who are deemed to be qualified to serve as jurors based upon their answers to the questionnaire are then placed into the Qualified Jury Wheel. From this Wheel the court randomly selects groups of prospective jurors and summons them over the course of a two-year period.
Every two years the court discards the old Master Wheel and Qualified Wheel and re-creates 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 60 or 90 day on-call period, depending on the court to which they are required to report. This does not mean that they serve on juries for 60 or 90 days, but rather, during that on-call period, may be called in for service. 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?
Call the Jury Information Line after 5:00 PM on the date listed on the back of your summons. 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 the front of your summons, above and to the right of your name and address.
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.
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 a recording prior to reporting for service. You will simply report in Anchorage at 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 at 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 4:30 PM, with time for lunch and breaks. With regard to trials, the number of hours of service may vary each day. The trial judge will advise you when to leave and report back 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 in the state. If you live outside our main (Anchorage) or divisional (Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan or Nome) offices, 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 election district in which you live.
If you have to travel to Anchorage or our divisional offices for service, you will receive an additional subsistence allowance if you stay overnight. You may travel to Anchorage or our divisional offices (whichever is required by the recording) the evening before jury selection to ensure that you can report on time the next morning.
For Anchorage, jurors from the Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake and Girdwood areas are NOT considered out of town for travel authorization purposes.
Where do I report for jury service in Anchorage?
You will report to the U.S. Courthouse, Second Floor, Room 262, 222 W. 7th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99513.
Be sure to check the jury recording before reporting for service if you have been summoned for petit jury service.
Jury Clerk's Office:
(866) 243-3814 toll free
State-wide Jury Information Line:
(800) 478-5654 toll free
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 are a practicing Attorney, Physician, Dentist or Registered Nurse
- You are a full-time school teacher
- You are a member of the clergy
- You are an Active Duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States
- You are the sole proprietor of a business
- Temporary hardships such as medical problems, convalescence, prior vacations plans, students who are away for college, economic or family hardships, etc.
You must make your request in writing! Requests will not 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, attach a doctor's statement to your request.
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 have your jury service moved to another time, or to be excused from a portion of your 60-day call in period, or to be excused from your jury service entirely. Include your name, mailing address and panel designation in your request and mail it, and any included documentation, to : Jury Clerk U.S. District Court 222 West 7th Avenue, Box 4 Anchorage, Alaska 99513 or email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will receive a response to your request from the jury clerk. Your request is not granted unless you receive notification from the jury clerk.
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 $40.00 per day, plus transportation expense reimbursement of $0.54 per mile. 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.
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 is a cafeteria in the Anchorage Federal Building as well as other restaurants nearby.
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. Portable computers, cameras, recording devices, and sharp, pointed objects are not allowed in the courthouse.
Can I bring my laptop, cell phone, or pager?
No personal electronics are allowed into the courtroom. All such devices must be left either in the jury assembly room or jury deliberation room while you are in court.
The U.S. District Court for the Distrct 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 five US District Courthouses in Alaska. The entire state is assigned to one of these districts. The one you are assigned to is listed on the top of your Qualification Questionnaire or Information Form and is not always the closest to you geographically. Please choose the location listed on your paperwork. If you have any questions, please call the jury clerk at (907) 677-6137 or (866) 243-3814.
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 60-90 day 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.