Frequently Asked Questions
About Juror Qualification Questionnaires

 


What should I do with the Juror Qualification Questionnaire

Please read it carefully, fill it out, and return it to the Clerk’s Office within 10 days. If another person fills out the Questionnaire for you, please indicate that person’s name, address, and reason why in the “Remarks” section.

I have privacy concerns. Why am I being asked for my birth date?

Your birth date only must be provided to the Court if you are a person over 70 years of age and wish to be excused from jury service.

What should I do if the Juror Qualification Questionnaire is for someone else who previously lived at my address, or is deceased, or has moved out of state?

Please write this either on the Questionnaire or on the outside of the envelope and return it to the Court. If the person has moved and you know the new address, you can forward the Questionnaire.

What should I do if the Juror Qualification Questionnaire is for someone who is currently out of state?

If the person is away from home a short period of time (less than three months) you may either forward it to the person or hold the Questionnaire for his or her return at which time he or she can fill it out and return it to the Court.

If the person will be away from home for three or more months and you do not have an address for him or her, please note that on the Questionnaire and return it to the Court.

What should I do if I don't feel that I can serve as a juror?

Please review the Juror Qualification Questionnaire carefully. You will see that there is information on the Questionnaire which may address your concerns. You may also include information under the "Remarks" section on the back of the Questionnaire.

Am I qualified to serve?

The statutory qualifications for federal jury service (28 U.S.C.§1865) are:


  • Must be a citizen of the United States of America, at least 18 years of age, who has resided for a period of one year within the judicial district;
  • Must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language;
  • Must be physically and mentally capable to render satisfactory jury service; and

  • Must not have felony charge(s) pending against you, or have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored.

If you do not meet all the qualifications for jury service, you must provide details on the back of the Questionnaire.

Am I exempt from jury service?

The Jury Act (28 U.S.C.§1863(b)(5)(B)(6)) specifies that the following persons are barred from jury service on the ground that they are exempt:


  • Members in active service of the Armed Forces of the United States;

  • Members of any governmental fire or police departments; and

  • Public officers of the United States, state or local governments (elected to public office or directly appointed by one elected to office) who are actively engaged in the performance of official duties.

Can I be excused from jury service?

The Juror Qualification Questionnaire is a means to determine if a person is qualified to serve as a juror. If a person is selected to serve and receives a summons to report, he or she may ask to be excused at that time. There are limited permanent excuses that may be granted at the Questionnaire stage. If you fall under one of these categories and you wish to be excused, please fill in the bubble under question 14 and provide additional information on the back of your Questionnaire. GROUNDS FOR REQUESTING PERMANENT EXCUSE:


  • Persons over 70 years of age or older [you must provide date of birth];

  • Persons who have, within the past two years, served on a federal grand or petit jury panel (see 28 U.S.C.§1866(e)) [you must provide date served and court name];

  • Persons having active care and custody of a child or children under ten years of age [you must provide ages of child(ren)] whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by their absence for jury service;

  • Persons essential to the care of aged or infirm persons [you must specify your relationship to the person requiring care and whether they are aged or infirm]; or
  • Voluntary safety personnel serving a public agency as a non-compensated firefighter or a member of an ambulance or rescue squad [you must provide name of agency and your position].

  • Persons with arrest powers who are not otherwise exempt pursuant to Section 7.04 of the USDC-MDFL Jury Plan [you must provide name of agency and your position].

Why are there questions about race, ethnicity, and gender on the Juror Qualification Questionnaire?

These questions may seem inappropriate but they are not. In fact, this information is solicited from you in order to protect and preserve our constitutionally guaranteed right to a trial by a jury of our peers randomly selected from a fair cross-section of the community.


Federal law requires you, as a prospective juror, to indicate your race. Further, the law states, in part:


“No citizen [of the United States of America] shall be excluded from service as a grand or petit juror in the district courts of the United States . . . on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status.”


In order to preserve the integrity of the jury selection process, the Court follows a system of checks and balances designed to reveal any systematic bias or discrimination. The Court needs your assistance in compiling this data, so please take the time to completely answer question 10.