United States District Court
If you have been summoned for jury duty we know you may have a lot of questions. We have tried to answer many commonly asked questions below. If after reviewing the questions and answers below you still have a question, please click here to contact our Jury Office by email or call the Jury Office at (251)690-3232.
Every four years prospective jurors are selected randomly from the voter registration lists in the respective counties and their names are put into what is known as the divisional "Master Jury Wheel." Our current Master Jury Wheel was created in January, 2005. The wheel will be recreated January, 2009. After the creation of the Master Jury Wheel prospective jurors are sent a juror qualification questionnaire. This questionnaire must be completed and returned to the court to verify that the juror is qualified for jury service. Those individuals who "qualify" for service may eventually be summoned to report for service.
Race and gender are not factors in determining eligibility to serve as a juror. Federal law requires a prospective juror to indicate his/her race. This information is required solely to avoid discrimination in juror selection and has absolutely no bearing on qualifications for jury service. By answering this question, you help the federal court ensure that discrimination cannot occur during the juror selection process.
Jurors for the United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama are "on call" for the entire calendar month for which they have been summoned.
Jurors for the United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama will be expected to be available to appear at the courthouse whenever instructed during their month of service. This does not mean that the juror will actually report in person at the courthouse every day, but rather, the juror is expected to call in as instructed and be ready to appear when directed to do so.
Any juror who fails to report for jury duty and who is not excused by the Court may be served a Show Cause Order by the U.S. Marshals Service. Subsequently, those jurors will be required to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of the Jury Selection Act. Any person who fails to show good cause for noncompliance with a summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof (U.S.C. 28 Section 1866(g)).
Be sure to bring your FEDERAL JURY SUMMONS & A PHOTO ID with you when you report for jury duty. Since there can be extended periods of time when you will not be required in the courtroom, you may want to bring a book, magazine, or crossword puzzles, etc.
The entrance to the United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama is heavily guarded for your safety and protection. Electronic devices, cameras, recording equipment, laptop computers, radios, TVs, cellular phones, pagers, weapons, pepper spray and sharp objects are prohibited. Please leave any of these types of items at home or in your vehicle.
All jurors must wear appropriate business attire for jury duty. Shorts and tank tops are not allowed.
No. The United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama is a smoke-free facility.
Unless otherwise directed you will report to the United States District Court at 113 Saint Joseph Street, Mobile, Alabama. Enter the building from Saint Joseph Street and go to room number 138 on the first floor. The handicapped entrance is on the west side of the building off of Saint Louis Street. Arrangements will need to be made for the door to be opened. Call the Jury Office at (251)690-3232 for assistance. For a detailed map of downtown Mobile click here.
In the case of bad weather call our Automated Jury Information System (AJIS) at 1-800-726-5643 for reporting instructions.
Your cell phone or pager will not be allowed in the courthouse. However, you will be able to check your messages during breaks or lunch. Your family may contact the Clerk's Office at (251)690-2371 or the Jury Section at (251)690-3232 in case of an extreme emergency, and a jury clerk will deliver a message to you. Please have the caller specify that you are on jury duty.
It is important that jurors report when they are required to and are prompt. Absences may delay or even jeopardize trials. If jurors are faced with an emergency such as a sudden illness or a death in the family, they should follow the instructions that they were given by the court. If they are unable to do so, they should telephone the Jury Office at (251)690-3232. In addition, if there is an emergency and someone needs to contact you during your service, they may call the Jury Office at the same number and a message will be delivered to you promptly. Please have them specify that you are on jury duty.
The court tries both civil and criminal cases, and it is possible that you may be selected for either or both types of trials. If you are selected to serve on a trial, you must follow the instructions of your trial judge or courtroom deputy.
Yes. Even if you have asked to be excused, you must return the completed questionnaire.
No. All requests to be excused must be in writing. A decision will be made as promptly as possible. You may check on the status of your request via the Automated Jury Information System (AJIS) at 1-800-726-5643 after 5-7 business days have elapsed. The only time that you should call the Jury Staff regarding an excuse is when you have a last-minute emergency that cannot be handled through the mail.
Advise the Jury Staff in advance so that allowances can be made for such matters. In many instances, the court can make arrangements to defer jurors to less inconvenient times. However, such requests must be made prior to the first day of jury service.
Yes. Your trial judge will tell you what schedule he or she expects to follow throughout the trial.
Yes. Under federal law and state, employers must allow their employees time off for jury duty. An employee cannot be punished in any way for serving as a juror. Anyone who is a full-time employee serving on state or federal jury duty is entitled to his or her "usual compensation received from such employment less the fee or compensation he received for serving as such juror." Ala. Code § 12-16-8 (1975) For more information about federal guidelines for employers regarding time off for jury service click here.
Request a Certificate of Attendance from the District Clerk's Office and one will be prepared and given to you. The certificate will be available before you leave the courthouse at the end of the day.
The Court's pool of juror names (the divisional "Master Jury Wheel") is replenished every four years after the presidential election. If you have served as a grand or petit juror in a federal court within the past two years, you may request to be permanently excused.
The United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama consists of two divisions: Mobile and Selma. These two divisions include 13 counties in Alabama. The Mobile division includes Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties. The Selma division includes Dallas, Hale, Marengo, Perry, and Wilcox counties. Jurors are drawn from voter registrations in these 13 counties. Regardless of which Southern District of Alabama Division you live in you could be summonsed to serve on a jury in either Mobile or Selma.
Juror checks will be mailed to the address provided by the juror when appearing for jury service. All jurors will be paid within 10 days from the last date of jury service. You will receive $40 per day for service, $10 per day for parking, $0.565 per mile round trip from your home to the federal building. (Federal government employees will not be paid the $40.00 attendance fee.)
If you have to drive more than 70 miles from your home to the courthouse you may be reimbursed for an overnight stay if you choose not to return home.
Any income received for jury attendance must be reported as income for tax purposes. The court will issue you an IRS Form 1099 if your income from jury attendance exceeds $600. However, you do not need to report travel and parking reimbursement as income.
The Automated Jury Information System (AJIS) enables the court to provide specific, last-minute recorded information pertaining to the trial you have been called to serve; there is no attendant at this number. Generally you will be instructed to call in at a specific time (see your summons) on a specific night and the message will advise you to report as directed, that there has been a change in court's schedule, or to call back in again at another designated date/time. You do not have to call AJIS every night you are serving on a trial unless you are specifically instructed by the judge to do so. The number for AJIS is 1-800-726-5643. Be sure to have your participant number ready when you call.
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.
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 are on a panel of 23 jurors and generally serve one to two days per month for 18 months. Grand jury terms may be extended for 6 months if necessary.
Jurors may be called to serve on both civil and criminal trials. Examples of civil cases are contract disputes, civil rights violations, etc. Criminal trials involve a party or parties who are alleged to have violated a federal law and who have been indicted by a grand jury.
If after reviewing the questions and answers on this page you still have questions, please contact our Jury Office by email or by phone at (251)690-3232.
Please take a few moments to complete the Juror Exit Questionnaire given to you by the Jury Staff. The purpose of the questionnaire is to help us make jury service a more positive experience for those who are summoned for jury service for the United States District Court - Southern District of Alabama. After completing the questionnaire, you may leave it with the Jury Staff or mail it in the envelope provided.