***Important Reporting Instructions***
Complete your Jury Information Form using eJuror within 5 days of receiving your summons. You will need your nine-digit Participant Number, located to the right of your name and address (ex. 100012345), to log in. If completing the form online, please do not mail or fax the paper copy.
If a hardship might prevent you from serving, you must first complete and return the Jury Information Form. You should then e-mail or call the Jury Administration Office as soon as possible to discuss the nature of your hardship.
Unless excused in advance, the failure to report as directed may be punished by any combination of the following: a fine of up to $1,000; three days imprisonment; and/or an order to perform community service.
SERVING AS A JUROR IN FEDERAL COURT
Welcome to jury service for the United States District Court. Serving as a juror is a fundamental obligation we all share as citizens of the United States. Your participation in this process ensures everyone's constitutional right to a jury pool drawn from a fair cross-section of the community. Jury service is an interesting and rewarding civic experience.
AUTOMATED JURY INFORMATION SYSTEM (AJIS)
You will receive automated calls from the Court reminding you of your reporting date. You must also call the automated line after 5:30 p.m. the night before your report date for further instructions. When you call, you will need your nine-digit Participant Number to log-in. If you report in error, because you failed to call the night before, you will not be paid or credited for that day's attendance.
JUROR PAY, TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS
The attendance fee is $40.00 per day. Federal employees are paid an attendance fee only during the hours they would not be at work. Note: Employees of the U. S. Postal Service are not considered employees of the U. S. Government.
You will be reimbursed for round-trip mileage from your home to the courthouse at a rate of 53.5¢ per mile. Please note the mileage from your home to the courthouse (one-way) on your first reporting date and be prepared to report that mileage when you check in.
The Court maintains normal business hours, even when a juror's service might require significant travel time. The Court will, however, provide overnight accomodations and perdiem, if you live more that 60 miles (one-way) from the courthouse. To request overnight accommodations (or to discuss a hardship based on distance of travel), please contact the Jury Administration Office at (479) 783-2143 as soon as possible for more information.
Juror pay, per diem, and expense checks will be processed weekly and mailed to your mailing address on record. Upon your request, we will furnish a Certificate of Attendance, listing the date(s) you reported and your attendance fee. If your employer pays your normal salary while on jury service, it may or may not seek recovery of your juror pay. Check your employer's policies. Your mileage reimbursement, however, is not taxable and is not recoverable by your employer. There is no law requiring an employer to pay you or to make up the difference in your normal rate of pay when you serve on a jury.
Under federal law, employers must allow their employees time off for jury duty. An employee cannot be punished by their employer in any way for jury service, as provided in statute 28 U.S.C. § 1875.
REQUESTING AN EXCUSE FROM SERVICE
Requests to be excused must be submitted in writing, as soon as possible prior to your reporting date, via eJuror, e-mail, or regular mail. Excuse letters submitted by your employer will not be accepted. Excuses requested at the time of reporting may not be accepted (and if an untimely excuse were granted, you wouldn't receive an attendance fee or mileage reimbursment for that day). If you have a chronic medical issue or conflict you may include such information with you Jury Information Form. If a chronic medical issue is the basis of your request, a letter from your doctor may be helpful, but is not required.
Please use the back of the Jury Information Form (JIF) or log in to eJuror to request a temporary excuse that is due to a medical appointment, vacation, business trip, etc. that has already been scheduled and falls during your term of service. Please list the date(s) you will be unavailable, including the next date you will be available.
POSTPONING YOUR JURY SERVICE
If you cannot serve during this term of service because it creates an undue hardship due to a temporary circumstance, you may request a postponement of your jury service. Please indicate the next date, in the near future, that you will be available along with your explanation of why you are requesting the postponement on the back of the JIF. Example: You are not available due to surgery, extended vacation (30 days or longer), or seasonal business hardship.
TERM OF SERVICE
You are on call for a term of 60 days beginning on the first date you are summoned to report. Subsequent notices will be mailed seven to ten days in advance during your term of service, as needed. You will receive notification when your term of service is complete.
You will need your summons and photo ID with you when you report.
You may be needed each day of the week for which you are summoned. Jury trials in the Western District typically last two to five days; however, trial length can vary greatly depending on the nature of the case, and in some instances a trial can last several weeks.
A typical trial day begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at approximately 5:00 p.m. These times might vary depending on the case. You will be given at least an hour for lunch and breaks approximately every 1 1/2 hours during the trial, as directed by the Judge.
On the first morning of trial jurors are selected from the reporting jury pool. Jurors not selecterd from the pool that day are typically released by early afternoon.
Sometimes trials can last into the evening hours, especially if deliberating a verdict. If that happens, you will have ample notice and an opportunity to make necessary arrangements and advise your family.
You might be selected for either a civil jury (6 to 12 jurors empaneled) or a criminal jury (12 jurors plus alternates). The number of jurors has no bearing on the significance of the trial; it is a matter of law and judicial preference.
MISCELLANEOUS COURTHOUSE INFORMATION
You should dress appropriately for the courtroom. Business casual is encouraged such as: collared shirts, slacks, skirts or blouses. Shorts, t-shirts, tank-tops, and flip-flops are not appropriate. You may want to bring a sweater or jacket, as the courtroom can be chilly.
Refrigerators and microwaves are available if you bring your lunch or snacks. Coffee, soft drinks, and pastries are provided for your refreshment.
There is a no smoking policy in the courthouse. Smokers may step outside the courthouse during breaks.
Cell phones are permitted in the courthouse set to SILENT and turned OFF while in the courtroom.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
U. S. District Judges are:
Honorable P.K. Holmes, III, Chief District Judge - Fort Smith
Honorable Susan O. Hickey - El Dorado
Honorable Timothy L. Brooks - Fayetteville
Honorable Harry F. Barnes - El Dorado
U. S. Magistrate Judges are:
Honorable Barry A. Bryant, Chief Magistrate Judge - Texarkana
Honorable Erin L. Wiedemann - Fayetteville
Honorable Mark E. Ford - Fort Smith
Honorable James R. Marschewski - Fort Smith
The Western District is comprised of five divisions, namely: El Dorado, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Northwest, and Texarkana.
If you have any questions about your reporting instructions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you would prefer, call the Jury Help Line at (479) 783-2143 and speak to the Jury Administration Office.