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» Juror Resources » Jury FAQs
- Both civil and criminal cases are tried in the U.S. District Courts.
The specific kinds of cases are set forth in Article III of the U.S. Constitution and in federal statutes.
Civil cases may involve the United States as a party, or controversies between two or more states.
Cases may also involve constitutional rights, laws enacted by Congress, treaties, and laws relating to navigable waters.
Criminal cases can pertain to violations of narcotics, income tax, immigration, and racketeering laws, just to name a few.
- A petit jury is also known as the trial jury.
This is the group of people who determines any question or issue of fact in civil or criminal trials according to the law and the evidence introduced at the trial.
In a civil trial, the jury decides which side has prevailed by a preponderance of the evidence.
In a criminal trial, the jury determines whether the United States has proven the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- A grand jury is a group of 16-23 people who serve for a 1 year term, although that term may be extended.
The grand jury does not determine 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 that probable cause exists, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an indictment.
- 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.
During step 1, a master jury wheel is created by selecting names at random from the lists of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ licensed drivers and the Office of Elections’ registered voters.
Names are randomly drawn from the master jury wheel to receive juror qualification questionnaires.
Answers to these questionnaires determine if potential jurors are legally qualified to serve.
The names of qualified prospective jurors are put in a second wheel.
During step 2, when prospective jurors are needed for a specific trial or grand jury, summonses are sent to persons randomly selected from the qualified wheel.
- 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 are punishable by more than one year in prison; have been convicted of a felony without having their civil rights restored; or have a physical or mental disability that would prevent services as a juror.
- Petit (trial) jurors are on call for a 90-day period.
Term begins on the issuance date of a juror’s first summons.
Although on call, jurors are only be required to report for jury selection one or two times during a service term.
Jurors selected for a petit jury are required to serve through the completion of the trial.
The average juror serves approximately 2 weeks for one trial.
Grand jurors serve a twelve month term, although service terms may be extended. Service is generally two to four times a month.
- When summoned to report for jury service, jurors 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 a scheduled reporting date.
A recorded message will indicate if a service date will go on as scheduled, is canceled, or continued to a later date.
The automated telephone system is available 24 hours a day.
Jurors who do not call as instructed and appear unnecessarily will not be paid the attendance and mileage fees, and neighbor island jurors will not be reimbursed for airfare.
- Jurors generally report at 8:00 a.m. on the first day of jury service.
Trial hours and schedules vary by judge.
- It is very important that jurors report promptly.
When late, call the Jury Office at 541-1419 or toll-free 1-888-507-0362.
- Neighbor island jurors who are selected for jury service generally spend the deliberation week at a hotel in Honolulu, at the court’s expense, and go home weekends.
Oahu jurors rarely need to spend the night at a hotel.
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 attendance is not required, the judge will give the jurors specific instructions.
Generally, jurors are free to proceed with their normal schedules until trial resumes.
- Potential jurors may request to be excused if any of the following conditions apply:
•Person over 70 years of age
•Person who have served as a grand or petit juror in a federal or state court within the last two years
•Volunteer safety personnel for public agencies
•Person having active care and custody of a child or children under 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.
Requests to be excused must be written and mailed to the following address:
United States District Court
Attn: Jury Department
300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm, C-338
Honolulu, HI 96850
If the basis of the excuse is a permanent disability, please attach medical documentation. 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 the jury service date.
- Postponement, also known as deferral, may be granted for many types of temporary hardships, such as prior vacation plans, temporary medical problems and/or convalescence, students away at college, economic or family hardships, etc.
A deferral must be requested in writing to the address indicated in question #14.
Attach a copy of any applicable supporting documentation, such as travel tickets, class schedules, doctor’s notes, etc.
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 the jury service date.
The names of deferred jurors will be placed back in the pool of available jurors, for random recall at a later date.
- Please check with your employer regarding jury duty policies.
Jurors have employment protection rights.
All jurors, except most federal employees, are paid at the rate of $50.00 per day for attendance. Petit jurors who serve more than 10 days will receive an additional $10 for each day of service in excess of 10 days. Grand jurors who serve more than 45 days will receive an additional $10 for each day of service in excess of 45 days. All jurors, including federal employees, are paid for round trip mileage between their home and the courthouse, or between their home and the airport as to neighbor island jurors, at the current mileage rate posted by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (subject to change). A 1099 form will be mailed to jurors who are paid in excess of $600.
PARKING: Parking is limited. If you choose to drive, please allow yourself ample time to find parking. You will be responsible for any parking expenses incurred at any public or private lot. Those charges will be reimbursed to you at a later date if a receipt is turned in to the Jury Office.
PLEASE NOTE: THE COURT WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE IF YOU RECEIVE A PARKING CITATION. THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO PARK IN OTHER PARKING LOTS WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR PARKING EXPENSES.
- Meals are provided to deliberating jurors only.
Jurors who are not deliberating may eat at the venue of their choice.
There is a cafeteria in the adjacent Federal Building.
Additionally, there are a number of restaurants convenient to the courthouse.
Jurors are also welcome to use the refrigerator and microwave in the jury lounge to eat a home lunch.
- Children are not permitted during jury service.
- There is no formal dress code, but we ask that jurors dress business casual.
Tank tops, shorts, ball caps, sunglasses, and slippers are not permitted during jury duty.
- Cell phones and other personal electronic devices, such as iPads, iPods, Kindles, etc., are permitted in the courthouse.
The court provides a free wifi connection, which may be utilized outside of the courtroom.
Electronics must be turned off when in the courtroom.
Photography in the courtrooms is expressly prohibited.
Presiding judges will give the jurors specific instructions regarding electronic devices, as necessary.