Fort Smith Juror FAQ
HOW LONG IS JURY SERVICE?
Depending on trial activity, you will be subject to jury selection for a period of approximately 60 days from the first day that you REPORT. You are to report only when notified to appear by the court. Notification is sent by mail giving the next report date and instructions to call a recorded message the night before for further instructions. Please note-- if you are selected to sit on a trial, the trial will start that day, so please be prepared for a full day of service.
WHAT FEES DO JURORS RECEIVE?
You will receive an attendance fee of $40 for each day of service. You will also be paid 56 cents per mile round-trip from home to the courthouse. Jurors who are Federal employees are paid for mileage only, except when serving on their day off. Please note-- U. S. Postal Service employees are NOT considered employees of the U. S. Government.
WHEN WILL I GET PAID FOR MY SERVICE?
The Court will mail a check weekly when possible; however, the trial must be complete before payments can be processed.
HOW LONG DOES A TRIAL LAST?
Each case is unique, so it is very difficult to give an average of how long a trial can last. However, when you report, you will be informed as to the length of the trial in which you are to be selected. In general, trials for the Western District last about two to four days.
WILL I SIT ON CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES?
Yes. You can be selected to sit on either a civil or criminal case. The Judge will inform you as to which type of case you are being selected for when you report.
HOW LONG IS A COURT DAY?
Jurors can expect to be in court from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with one hour for lunch. There will also be two 15 minute breaks, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. Any variation to this schedule will be explained by the Judge.
CAN I RECEIVE PROOF OF ATTENDANCE?
Yes. A certificate of attendance can be issued in your name for your employer stating the dates and fees of your service. You will be asked if you require this.
HOW WAS I SELECTED FOR JURY SERVICE?
The federal jury system for the Western District of Arkansas draws juror names at random by computer from general election voter registration lists and licensed motor vehicle operators eighteen years or older.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN TO REPORT FOR THE NEXT DATE?
You will receive notification in the mail to appear on a specific date, along with instructions to call 1-800-793-7008, Option 2 after 5:30 p.m. the night before for updated information as to any changes or cancellations regarding the scheduled jury selections. WHEN INSTRUCTED, YOU MUST PHONE THE RECORDED MESSAGE TO CONFIRM REPORTING. You will not be paid if you fail to call as instructed and report in error.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I ARRIVE LATE?
It is required that every juror be in attendance before a trial can begin or continue, so it is extremely important to report on time as the trial WILL BE DELAYED until every juror has reported.
ARE MY JUROR FEES TAXABLE?
Yes. This applies only to your attendance fee and no taxes are withheld so jurors should keep track of attendance fees received for income tax purposes. The Court will file with the IRS and mail a 1099 form to you if your attendance fees reach or exceed $600 for the year (excluding mileage). If you exceed $600, the Jury Administrator will need to obtain your Social Security number for tax purposes only.
CAN I SERVE ON MORE THAN ONE TRIAL DURING MY TERM?
Yes, this is possible. The Court cannot predict with certainty the number of trials a juror will be selected for during the term. The Court will try to excuse jurors for the remainder of the term if they are selected and serve on a trial. This, however, is always subject to trial activity and the availability of other jurors in the pool. The actual number of days that you report is limited to no more than ten days, depending on the trial circumstances.
CAN MY FAMILY REACH ME IN AN EMERGENCY?
Family can call (479) 783-6833 and leave a message for you with Clerk's Office staff. You will be contacted as soon as court is on a break.
Appropriate business casual dress is required. Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, and flip-flops are NOT appropriate. Smoking in the Courthouse Building is prohibited. You CANNOT leave the Courtroom during jury selection.
For additional information, see your Welcome to Federal Jury Service pamphlet, that was included with your summons, or the Jury Summons Info tab. Further questions will be answered during juror orientation on your first day of service.