Court Resources » Jury/Juror Information » Jury FAQs

  • Both civil and criminal cases are tried in the U.S. Courts. The specific kinds of cases are set forth in Article III of the U.S. Constitution and in federal statutes. These are, first of all, controversies to which the United States is a party, and controversies between two or more States. The federal court also decides cases involving constitutional rights, laws enacted by Congress, treaties, and laws relating to navigable waters. Suits between citizens of different states may be heard in the U.S. Courts only if the amount in controversy exceeds a certain amount. Typical criminal charges in a federal court are those involving violation of the income tax and narcotics' laws, bank robbery, mail theft, and counterfeiting.

  • A petit jury is also known as the 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 established by a preponderance of the evidence, and may also decide that property or money is owed to the prevailing party.

  • A grand jury is 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 was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an "indictment." After that the accused will either plead guilty or go to trial. In a sense the grand jury operates as both a "sword" authorizing the government's prosecution of suspected criminals, and also as a "shield" protecting citizens from unwarranted or inappropriate prosecutions.

    Pursuant to 28 USC §1861, all litigants “have the right to grand and petit jurors selected at random from a fair cross section of the community.” The court uses a two-step process to select jurors. First, a master jury wheel is created by selecting names at random from the lists furnished by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Motor Vehicles and from the City and County of Honolulu Office of the City Clerk’s Election Division of registered voters in all counties of this district. Then, names are randomly drawn periodically from the master jury wheel to receive juror qualification questionnaires. Individuals’ answers to these questionnaires determine whether they are legally qualified to serve. If so, the names of those persons are put on a second wheel, the qualified jury wheel. As prospective jurors are needed for a specific trial or grand jury, juror summonses are sent to persons randomly selected from the qualified wheel. All of these selections are carried out through an electronic data processing system for pure randomized selection. The pure randomized process ensures that the mathematical odds of any single name being picked are substantially equal.

  • 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 reside in the State of Hawaii.
    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 services as a juror; or hold certain occupations (full-time military, police, firefighters, and elected public officials).

  • Petit jurors are summoned for a 90-day on-call period. This does not mean that they serve on juries for 90 days, but rather than during that 90-day on-call period they are eligible to be summoned for service. Jurors are generally not asked to actually report more than twice during that time. If selected, they are expected to remain for the duration of the trial. The average juror serves approximately two (2) weeks for one trial.

  • You should NOT report for duty unless you receive a notice or phone call.
    Jury selections are always subject to change due to last minute pleas and settlements. When summoned to report for jury selection on a specific day, you are required to call the automated telephone system, toll-free 1-888-507-0362, after 5:00 p.m. on the last working day before your scheduled reporting date, or whenever you are asked to call. A recorded message will tell you if the jury selection will go on as scheduled, is canceled and not to report, or continued to a specific later date. The automated telephone system is on 24 hours. IF YOU DO NOT CALL AS INSTRUCTED and appear when it is not necessary, you will not be paid the attendance and mileage fee, and neighbor island jurors will not be reimbursed for their airfare.

  • On the first day of jury service, you will usually be asked to report at 8:00 a.m. This gives us time to complete orientation and paperwork before trial is scheduled to begin. Normal trial hours run from approximately 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with time for lunch and possible breaks. While on trial, the number of hours may vary each day, and the trial judge will advise you when to leave and report back each day.

  • Please don't be late! It is extremely important 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.

  • It is not likely. The only time you would HAVE to spend the night is if your jury is sequestered, which is very rare in the District of Hawaii. Neighbor island jurors will receive an additional subsistence allowance if selected as a juror and are required to stay overnight in Honolulu.

  • Address:
    PJKK Federal Building
    United States District Courthouse
    300 Ala Moana Blvd.
    Honolulu, HI 96850

  • We summon jurors from all counties. The U.S. District Court has jurisdiction over the entire State of Hawaii.

  • On days when your attendance is not required, you should continue your normal schedule of work, school, etc.

  • You can request a permanent excuse if you are:
    •Person over 70 years of age
    •Person who have served as a grand or petit juror in a federal court within the last two years
    •Volunteer safety personnel for public agencies
    •Person having active care and custody of a child or children under ten (10) years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by absence of such person for jury service, or a person who is essential to the care of aged or infirm persons.
    You must request the excuse in writing , and if the basis of the excuse is a permanent disability you must attach a doctor's statement. Please do not wait until the last minute to request an excuse . Allow time for the paperwork to be received and reviewed by the court before your reporting date.

  • Temporary excuses, also known as deferrals, can be granted for many types of temporary hardships, such as prior vacation plans, temporary medical problems and/or convalescence, students who are away at college, economic or family hardships, etc. A temporary excuse must be requested in writing . Attach a copy of your itinerary in the instance of prior vacation plans and a doctor's note in the instance of a temporary medical problem. Please do not wait until the last minute to request an excuse . Allow time for the paperwork to be received and reviewed by the court before your reporting date. You may fax your request to us at (808) 541-1328.

    If your request for a temporary excuse is granted, your name will be placed back in the database of available jurors, and you may be randomly summoned again for jury duty.

  • No. However, many employers have policies which stipulate what they are willing or not willing to pay employees while they are serving. Please check with your employer regarding his or her normal procedures.

  • No. You have employment protection rights as a federal juror.

  • All jurors, except Federal Employees, are paid at the rate of $40.00 per day for attendance. All jurors, including Federal Employees, are paid at the current mileage rate posted by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (subject to change) per mile from their homes.
    You should receive your juror check approximately four to six weeks following your appearance. The $40.00 attendance fee must be reported as income for tax purposes. You should keep a record of the days of service and multiply it by $40.00 for the amount you must report to the IRS as income. No tax will be withheld by the Court. A 1099 form will be mailed to you if your attendance is in excess of $600.00.

  • Parking is very limited. If you choose to drive, please allow yourself ample time to find parking.

  • No meals are provided, but there is a cafeteria in the adjacent Federal Building. Additionally, there are a number of restaurants convenient to the courthouse.
    If you have been chosen as a juror for a trial, we do provide coffee, tea, cold drinks and other amenities such as microwave and refrigerator for your use.

  • Children are not allowed. We do not have child care facilities available, and no adequate means for children in the court environment.

  • 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.

  • You will not be permitted to bring cellular phones, pagers, cameras, personal digital assistants, any recording devices and laptop computers into the courthouse building.