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Juror FAQs

1.  Where did you get my name?
The United States District Court currently obtains the names of its jurors solely from the voter registration lists for all of the counties located in the district. Names are drawn every four years in the year following a presidential election.
2.  Why do I have to give information about my race and gender (male or female)?
Race and gender are not factors in determining eligibility to serve as a juror. We ask these questions so that we can assure that there is a proper racial and gender balance among our jurors.
3.  If I submit a request to be excused, do I still need to complete the juror qualification questionnaire?
Yes. We need the information contained on your juror qualification questionnaire for statistical purposes--even if you have been excused.
4.  I feel like I need to be excused, but my reasons do not fit any of the listed reasons on the juror qualification questionnaire.
You may list your reasons, in your own words, on the reverse side of the questionnaire in the "Remarks" section. A decision will be made promptly and you will be advised by return mail.
5.  Should I call the court to be excused from service?
No. You (not your employer) must submit a request to be excused in writing. The jury clerk will notify you of the decision regarding your request for excuse. The only time that you should call regarding an excuse is when you have a last-minute emergency that cannot be handled through the mail.
6.  What if I have vacations or important events scheduled during my term?
Advise the jury clerk in advance so that allowances can be made for such matters.
7.  When am I supposed to serve on jury duty?
Check your juror summons for a reporting date and time. If you receive this summons in the mail without a specific reporting date, you will receive a separate notice in the mail approximately 10 days before you are due to report.
8.  How long is my term of service?
Your term of service depends on whether you are a petit (trial) juror or a grand juror, and where you have been summoned to serve.
Term of Service for Petit Jurors:
Chattanooga Division: six month term, maximum of fifteen days.
Greeneville Division: six month term, maximum of thirty days.
Knoxville Division: six month term, maximum of fifteen days.
Winchester Division: nine month term, maximum of fifteen days.
If a trial on which you are serving runs past the end of your term, you are required to complete your service for that trial.
Term of Service for Grand Jurors:
Grand jurors serve for eighteen months with no maximum number of times to report. In most instances, you will be required to report once a month until your term has expired.
9.  When I have completed my service as a juror, will I be called to serve again?
The court's pool of juror names is replenished every four years; it is unlikely that you would be in the pool a second time.
10.  If I am not selected to serve on a trial, how do I know what to do next?
You will be told before you leave the courthouse when to report back or that you are excused until further notice. If you are excused until further notice, you will receive a letter notifying you when next to report.
11.  I don't live in the county where the court is held, why was I selected as a prospective juror?
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee is comprised of four divisions: Chattanooga, Greeneville, Knoxville and Winchester and draws jurors from forty one counties in East Tennessee.

The Chattanooga Division is comprised of the counties of Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie.

The Greeneville Division is comprised of the counties of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.

The Knoxville Division is comprised of the counties of Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union.

The Winchester Division is comprised of the counties of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Moore, Van Buren and Warren.

12.  How much are jurors paid?
The attendance fee is $50.00 per day; travel is reimbursed at a rate of cents a mile.
13.  How will I receive payment for my jury service?
Jury checks are mailed to your home address.
14.  Does my employer have to pay me or at least make up the difference when I serve on a jury?
TCA 22-4-106(b) provides as follows:
". . .[T]he employee shall be entitled to such employee's usual compensation received from such employment; however, the employer has the discretion to deduct the amount of the fee or compensation the employee receives for serving as a juror. Moreover, no employer shall be required to compensate an employee for more time than was actually spent serving and traveling to and from jury duty. If an employer employs less than five (5) people on a regular basis or if the juror has been employed by an employer on a temporary basis for less than six (6) months, the employer is not required to compensate the juror during the period of jury service pursuant to this section."
15.  What rules govern my excuse from work when I am serving on a jury?
TCA 22-4-106 (a) provides as follows:
". . .Upon receiving a summons to report for jury duty, any employee shall on the next day the employee is engaged in such employee's employment exhibit the summons to the employee's immediate superior, and the employer shall thereupon excuse the employee from employment for each day the employee's service as a juror in any court of the United States or the state of Tennessee exceeds three (3) hours. If an employee summoned for jury duty is working a night shift or is working during hours preceding those in which court is normally held, such employee shall also be excused from employment as provided by this section for the shift immediately preceding the employee's first day of service. After the first day of service, when such person's responsibility for jury duty exceeds three (3) hours during a day, the person whose circumstances fall within the parameters of this subdivision (a)(2) shall be excused from the person's next scheduled work period occurring within twenty-four (24) hours of such day of jury service. Any question concerning the application of this subdivision (a)(2) to a particular work shift or shifts shall be conclusively resolved by the trial judge of the court to which the employee has been summoned. "
16.  My employer will not reimburse me for the difference in the amount you pay me and my regular salary. Do you have a stub on the check breaking down the amount?
We do not have a stub itemizing your days of service. However, upon request, the Clerk's Office will furnish you with a certificate stating the date or dates that you reported and that you were paid a $50 fee for each day of attendance. We do not list the mileage that you were paid since it is a direct reimbursement of your expenses and the employer may not deduct that amount from your wages.
17.  What happens if my employer wrongly reduces my pay, requires me to change my schedule or otherwise attempts to interfere with my jury service?
By statute and order of this Court, an employer may not discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee because of the employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with jury service. If you believe your employer has engaged in such prohibited conduct, you should inform the judge or a member of the clerk's office immediately.
18.  What is the Jury Information Line?
The Jury Information Line provides recorded last-minute information pertaining to the trial you have been called to serve on; you cannot speak to anyone at this number. Generally, you are to call after 5 p.m. and the message will advise you to "report as directed" or that there has been some change in court schedules.
You do not have to call the Jury Information Line every night you are serving on a trial unless you are specifically instructed by the judge to do so.
Jury Information Line: 1-800-877-0551
19.  On the first day of jury duty, what happens and how long will I be there?
On the first day you report for jury duty you will receive information about jury service from the jury clerk, view a video which will help you to know what jury service in the federal court is like and you will be administered the juror oath. You might also participate in jury selection for a trial beginning on that day. Court usually begins at 9 a.m. and ends by 5 p.m., with an hour for lunch and a brief break approximately every 1.5 hours.
If you are not selected to serve on this day, you will be dismissed as soon as the jury is selected and sworn. This could take as little as 30 to 45 minutes, or in the event of a multi-party case, involve a day or more.
20.  Will I ever be required to serve late in the evening or stay overnight?
Sometimes trials will run past 5:00 in order, for example, to complete the testimony of a witness. If that happens, you will have time to make any necessary arrangements and advise your family. Sequestration is extremely unlikely; in the last twenty years, we have not sequestered a single jury.
21.  How many days do the trials last?
Jury trials can last anywhere from less than one day to weeks. The majority of our trials last two to three days. In the event of a lengthy trial, the court will consider special hardship requests for excuse.
22.  Where do I park?
Parking information will be provided to you prior to the time that you report for jury service.
23.  May I bring a cell phone, laptop or other electronic device into the courthouse?
Jurors may not bring cell phones or electronic devices into the courthouse on the first day.  If selected, jurors may bring cell phones or electronic devices after the first day if the juror has signed a "Use of Electronic Devices by Jurors" Agreement.
24.  What is the difference between a petit juror and a grand juror?
Basically, a petit (trial) juror's function is to determine issues of fact, apply the law as given by the court, and to deliberate and reach a verdict. A grand juror's function is to determine whether the facts and accusations presented by the prosecutor warrant an indictment in a criminal case.
25.  What types of cases will jurors decide in federal court?
Both civil and criminal trials will be heard. Examples of the types of civil cases are contract disputes, civil rights, motor vehicle accidents, etc. Criminal trials involve a party (or parties) who are alleged to have violated a federal law and who have been indicted by the grand jury.
26.  Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?
You may call the jury clerk at the number shown below.
Chattanooga and Winchester Divisions: 423-386-3511
Greeneville Division: 423-639-3105
Knoxville Division: 865-545-4228