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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Petit Jury?
A Petit jury is a trial jury for both civil and criminal cases. The Petit jury listens to the evidence offered during a trial, and returns a verdict. A verdict in a civil case may be a finding for the plaintiff or the defendant. A verdict in a criminal case finds the defendant involved guilty or not guilty.
What is a Grand Jury?
A Grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence, but whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. The evidence is normally presented only by an attorney for the government. The grand jury must determine from this evidence whether a person should have formal charges filed by the government. If the grand jury finds probable cause, then it will return a written statement of the charges, called an indictment. Grand jurors sit on a panel of 16 to 23 jurors and generally serve one to three days every other month for one year. Grand jury terms may be extended if necessary. For more information, see our Introduction for Grand Jury Service guide.
How Much Will I Be Paid for Serving on a Jury?
The U.S. District Court will pay you an attendance fee of $50.00 per day (unless you are a federal government employee), plus travel expenses for mileage per mile round trip from your home. Jurors who earn in excess of $600.00 in attendance fees in one calendar year will receive a form 1099. *Mileage rate and subsistence are based on the current governmental Per Diem allowance.
How Long will I be On Call?
Petit jurors for the Northern District of Mississippi are required to: (1) be on call for a period of one month or (2) serve on one trial. You are instructed to call the automated juror information phone line or check online through the E-Juror program as instructed on your summons. You will continue checking for instructions as directed for the duration of your jury term. If you are selected to serve for a trial which exceeds the service period, you will be required to serve until the completion of the trial. Many of the trials in this Court are anywhere from three to five days long.
If you are selected to be on the grand jury, you will be required to serve for a period of one (1) year, reporting every other month (six (6) times during the year) with each session lasting from one (1) to three (3) days.
Can I get a Postponement or be Permanently Excused from Jury Service?
If you would like to postpone your jury service, you may explain the reasons and the desired serving date on the sheet provided in the summons packet and return with the completed Juror Information form to the Court. If this conflicts with an already scheduled appointment, you may call the Jury department. If you would like to be permanently excused from Jury service, you must send the Jury Department a letter with a full explanation. If you would like to be excused for medical reasons, a letter from your doctor will be helpful. Also, you may request postponement or excusal through E-juror or via email.
Where do I report? How do I get there?
Please follow the instructions as outlined on your summons. Please refer to our Court Locations page for locations, directions, and parking information.
What should I bring with me when I report?
You will need to bring a valid picture ID (such as a driver's license) to go through security at the courthouse. Please be sure to bring your summons for check-in. Cell phones, laptops and pagers are not permitted in the building. Do not bring knitting needles, sewing needles, scissors or knives of any kind. Any types of wearable technology, such as smart glasses, watches, or bracelets with internet, cellular, or Bluetooth capability are also prohibited from the Courthouse.