Welcome to Federal Jury Service
Fort Smith Division
***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 you have a hardship with serving and have already submitted your Jury Information Form, e-mail or call the court as soon as possible. Don’t wait to find out if you need to report first.
Failure to report as directed may be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment of not more than three days, an order to perform community service, or any combination thereof.
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. Only by having people like you participate in this process can we ensure that all persons will be afforded their constitutional right to have a jury pool drawn from a fair cross-section of this community. We hope you will find your service an interesting and rewarding experience.
Fort Smith Division counties include: Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Polk, Scott, and Sebastian.
AUTOMATED JURY LINE
1-800-793-7008, OPTION 2
You must call the Automated Jury Line after 5:30 p.m. the night before you are scheduled to report for further instructions, even if this is your first time to report. If the trial is cancelled, so is the corresponding orientation. If you report in error, the court will not pay you or give you credit for that day’s attendance.
REQUESTING AN EXCUSE
Requests for excuse must be submitted in writing prior to your reporting date either by mail, e-mail, or eJuror. Letters for excuse submitted by your employer will not be accepted. Please do not wait until you report to request an excuse. If you wait until you report to request an excuse and your request is granted, you will not be paid an attendance fee or mileage reimbursement. You may include additional information with your Jury Information Form, such as a doctor’s letter; however, a doctor’s letter 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. 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 60 days from the first date you report. Your 60 day term does not start on the first date you are summoned to report. With that in mind, we do not keep you on call indefinitely. The number of days you actually report is limited to no more than ten days, depending on the trial circumstances.
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.
JUROR PAY AND REIMBURSEMENT
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 57.5¢ 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 mileage estimate you provide on the JIF will not be recorded.
Checks are sent out weekly, when possible, to your mailing address on record. We do not include an itemization of your days of service; however, you will be furnished with a Certificate of Attendance, upon request, listing the date(s) you reported and your attendance fee. Your mileage reimbursement is not listed because it is a direct reimbursement of your expenses and is not recoverable by your employer and is not claimed for tax purposes. At this time there is no law that requires employers to pay you or at least make up the difference when you serve on a jury.
Please turn off cell phones while in the courthouse. You may be asked to leave them at the Security Screening Station.
The first day you report, you will be given a one-time orientation and will participate in at least one jury selection. If the jury selection is cancelled, due to a change in the court calendar or otherwise, there will not be an orientation held that day, even if it is your first date to report.
You may be needed each day of the week for which you are summoned. More than one trial is usually scheduled for the week. Jury trials can last anywhere from less than one day to many weeks in length. The majority of trials here in the Western District last two to four days.
There are no standard court hours; however, most trials run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You will be given at least an hour for lunch and breaks approximately every 1 ½ hours during the trial, as directed by the Judge presiding. If you are not selected to serve, you could be dismissed by noon or early afternoon. Sometimes trials can last into the evening hours. If that happens, you will have ample time to make any necessary arrangements and advise your family.
We have criminal and civil trials in federal court. Criminal trials consist of juries composed of 12 to 14 jurors; civil trials are composed of 6 to 12 jurors. The number of jurors has no bearing on the significance of the trial; it is a matter of judicial preference and the desires of both parties.
The City of Fort Smith has authorized jurors to park in the PUBLIC METER PARKING LOT across from the Fort Smith Convention Center in the 800 block of Rogers Avenue (look for the green sign with white lettering identifying the lot). You do not have to put money in the meter. Do not park in the parking garage! You may also park at any of the metered spaces on the streets near the Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Building. If you park at a meter and receive a yellow parking meter violation notice, please bring the notice to the Jury Assembly Room, 307, so it can be voided.
You will be responsible for any traffic citations that you may receive for improper parking, such as parking in a restricted space or in the parking garage. When a large number of jurors report for service, parking may be a problem. Please leave home early enough to allow time to find adequate parking.
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 will be asked to step outside of the courthouse during breaks.
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
Honorable Robert T. Dawson - Fort Smith
U. S. Magistrate Judges are:
Honorable Barry A. Bryant, Chief Magistrate Judge - Texarkana
Honorable Erin L. Setser - Fayetteville
Honorable Mark E. Ford - Fort Smith
Honorable James R. Marschewski - Fort Smith
The Western District is comprised of six divisions, namely: El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Harrison, Hot Springs, and Texarkana.
If you have any questions about your reporting instructions, e-mail email@example.com. Or, if you would prefer, call the Jury Help Line at (479) 783-2143 and speak to Kara Pittman, Jury Administrator.