Petit Jury Information
INTRODUCTION TO PETIT JURY SERVICE
Welcome to jury service in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. You have been summoned to appear for possible petit jury empanelment. We hope you will find your term of jury service an interesting and satisfying experience. These instructions are provided to answer questions frequently asked by jurors.
JURY SELECTION - You may wonder how you came to be called for jury duty. Your name was obtained from the voter registration list of your county, according to guidelines which assure a random selection of a fair cross-section of the community. You were then mailed a qualification form to complete. On the basis of your answers to the questions on that form you were found to be qualified to serve and were again randomly selected to be summoned as a prospective juror.
To satisfy your obligation as a juror in this court, one of three things must occur: (1) If you are empaneled (selected as a juror), you will serve throughout the trial and, upon its completion, your service will be complete; OR (2) If you are called or notified to appear three (3) times, but are never empaneled as a juror, you will be excused from further jury service after the fifth call; OR (3) If two months have elapsed since the date of your first scheduled appearance, and you have never been empaneled as a juror, you will be excused from further jury service.
NOTICE TO REPORT FOR DUTY – Please review the information received in your Summons packet.
REPORTING FOR DUTY - Jury duty usually commences at 9:00 am in our Court and it is critical that you report on time. Court cannot start until all jurors are present. You should allow a full day (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for jury service. Greenville jurors will report at 8:30 am and should allow for a full day (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) for jury service. You will be sent to a courtroom for an interview process, known as voir dire, for jury selection. If you are selected to serve on a trial, the Judge will give you your instructions. If you are not selected, you will be dismissed for that day.
SERVICE ON A TRIAL - Most of our trials last 3-5 days. However, it is not uncommon for a trial to last more than five days. The Judge will adjourn the jury each evening and will instruct you on what time you must return the following morning. The Judge will also indicate on the first day of service how long he/she anticipates the trial to last. It is very rare for a jury to have to remain overnight. If this should happen, you will be paid a basic subsistence allowance. If a jury is sequestered (kept together for security purposes), the government will pay all expenses for food and lodging.
COURT ATTIRE - Court proceedings are formal events. Dress comfortably but in a manner consistent with the dignity and seriousness of the occasion. In deference to and out of respect for others in the courtrooms, please do not wear perfumes, colognes, after-shave lotions, hair or body sprays, or other fragrances.
Smoking and all other uses of tobacco are prohibited throughout the federal building. There are no designated smoking areas inside the building. If you need a smoke break a CSO will escort you out of the building/during a break. Please be advised that smoking is bad for your health.
Jurors and other members of the public are prohibited from bringing the following items in the federal building ... please leave them at home or in your vehicle, because you cannot bring them into the building ... there are no exceptions and Court Security Officers will instruct you to take these items to your vehicle:
Guns, knives, and all other items that could be used as weapons, including box cutters, razors, screwdrivers, and Leatherman-type tools.
Long hatpins, crocheting needles, knitting needles, scissors (including cuticle scissors)
Tape recorders, cameras, beepers, pagers, digital assistants (PDAs, Palm Pilot, Blackberry, and similar messaging devices)
Laptop or any other type of personal computer
Reading materials ... no newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, tabloids, paperback books, school books, crossword puzzles, or other printed items
Food, drink, gum, candy, snacks
All persons entering the federal building must pass through metal-detectors. To speed up the screening processes, keep metal jewelry and other personal items to a minimum ... a wristwatch is fine, but avoid cigarette lighters, metal pens and pencils, heavy belt buckles, studded belts, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pins, medallions, and other decorative or ornamental items.
All hand-carried items, including purses, pocketbooks, book bags, backpacks, cigarette cases, totes, and other packages and containers will be X-rayed and may be opened for examination. Court Security Officers will instruct you to return prohibited items to your vehicle; they will seize illegal items.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER, OR EMPLOYMENT - Any such changes should be reported to the Jury Department immediately. Changes can also be made online HERE. The Jury Department phone numbers are listed at the bottom of the page.
LOCATION - The following are the courthouse locations in the Northern District of Mississippi:
Thomas G. Abernethy Federal Building
U.S. Post Office Bldg.
911 Jackson Avenue East
PARKING – Please DO NOT park on the street or at a parking meter. The Court is NOT responsible for any parking violations. Click Here for specific court parking information.
STAYING OVERNIGHT - Jurors who live more than eighty-five (85) miles away from the Court can discuss their need to stay the night with a Jury clerk, if needed.
PAYMENT OF ATTENDANCE FEES AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS - Attendance fees, mileage, and other transportation costs are paid by check and mailed to your home address, usually within 5 days of your initial day of service.
Attendance Fees - A $40.00 attendance fee is paid for each day you report for duty, whether or not you are selected to serve on a trial. 1099 forms are furnished only to those jurors who receive $600 or more for attendance in a calendar year, and are mailed in January of the year following jury service.
Transportation Costs - You will be reimbursed $0.565* cents per mile round trip from your home for travel expenses. Your mileage is automatically calculated according to the distance from your zip code to the courthouse.
EXCUSES - Due to the short term of service, only requests for excuses because of extreme hardship will be considered by the Court. All excuses must be submitted in writing to the court location for which you have been summoned to appear.
Upon receipt of this Handbook, immediately notify the Jury Department of any extreme hardship which poses a conflict with your term of jury service. Please include the following information in your letter: the nature of the hardship; the earliest date you will be able to serve if excused; and if the excuse is for medical reasons, a note from your doctor must be included. You will receive written notice of the Court's ruling on your hardship request. Jurors who fail to report for jury service without an approved excuse may be served by the United States Marshal with an order directing them to appear before a judge to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of the Jury Service and Selection Act. If found in contempt, you may be fined $1000.00, imprisoned for three days, or both.
ATTENDANCE CERTIFICATES FOR EMPLOYER - Upon request, you will be provided with an attendance certificate showing the dates you served and the attendance fees paid to you. Your employment is protected by law while you are serving as a juror. If you should have a problem with your employer in connection with your jury service, please contact the Court immediately.
* Mileage rates and Subsistence are based on the current governmental per diem allowance, and are subject to change.
If you have additional questions regarding your service in this Court, feel free to contact the Jury Department, contact information listed below: