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 a hardship might prevent you from serving, you must first complete the Jury Information Form. If the form is completed using eJuror, please log back into the system. A new menu will appear allowing you to enter information regarding your hardship. If completing the paper copy, please use the back of the form to explain 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. 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 INFORMATION SYSTEM (AJIS)
You will receive automated calls from the Court reminding you of your repoert date. You must also call the automated line after 5:50p.m. the night before your report date for further reporting 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.
REQUESTING AN EXCUSE
Requests to be excused from jury service 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 reimbursement for that day.) If you have a chronic issue or conflict you may include such information with your 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. Subequent 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.
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 54.5¢ per mile. .
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 you are 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. 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.
- Cell phones, weapons, and electronic devices of any kind are NOT permitted in the courthouse.
- 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.
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.
More than one trial is usually scheduled for the week. Jury trials in the Western District typically last about 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.
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. If you are not selected to serve, you could be dismissed by 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 law and judicial preference.
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 and soft drinks are provided for your refreshment.
There is a no smoking policy in the courthouse. Smokers will be allowed 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
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.