Summons for Jury Service

Please contact the jury staff if you have additional questions.

 

Responding to the summons

Can I respond to my summons online?
I lost my summons, what should I do?
How did you get my name and why was I summoned?
Why do I keep getting summoned? Am I on some sort of jury service list?
I already performed jury service this year. I thought I only had to do it once?
I don’t live in King (or Pierce) County - Can I serve at the court near me?
What if I have a hardship with serving?
I returned my Jury Information Form, but I now have a hardship. Is it too late?
What if I fail to appear for jury service?
Must I return the Jury Information Form, if I’m NOT asking for an excuse?
What if my employer wants me to be excused, but I want to serve?
Can my employer fire me for not working because of jury service?
What if my employer wants proof of me serving?

Should I take off two weeks from work?
Will I be sequestered (required to spend the night)?

 

At the courthouse

Do I have to call in every night during my two week call-in term of service?
Where is the court located?
Where should I park?
What if I’m late?
What items aren't allowed at the courthouse?
I live a great distance from the court, can I stay overnight?
Can my family reach me by phone while I’m serving?
Will food or refreshments be provided?
Do you have internet access?
Can I bring my children?
What should I wear to jury service?
Will I be reimbursed for my expenses when I show up?
How do I notify the court that I can't report in the event of an emergency?
What should I expect on the first day I report?
How long will I be there on the first day for jury selection?

 

Can I respond to my summons online?
Yes, you can.  You may complete your Jury Information Form online using eJuror within 5 days of receiving your summons.  If it is beyond the 5 day limit, there is no need to call the court and let us know.  Just complete it using eJuror or return it by mail as soon as possible.

 

I lost my summons, what should I do?
E-mail the jury staff at jury@wawd.uscourts.gov (Seattle), jury3@wawd.uscourts.gov (Tacoma) or call the court as soon as possible at 1-800-488-3350 so that we can mail you a new summons.

 

How did you get my name and why was I summoned?
Every two years, our court randomly selects jurors from a combined listing of active registered voters, and holders of drivers' licenses, and I.D. cards obtained from the state of Washington.  Our Local Jury Plan establishes how we select grand and petit juries at random from a fair cross section of the community in the district wherein the court convenes.

This selection creates the court’s "Master Jury Wheel" (a term which originated in the days when names were placed into a large barrel-type wheel and turned around to mix them up; today, however, we use computers to randomly select names).  Each person selected is mailed a qualification questionnaire to be completed and returned.  Receiving a qualification questionnaire does not mean that you have been summoned for jury duty.  Its purpose is only to develop a large "wheel" of qualified citizens from which future juries will be summoned.  Those citizens who are deemed to be qualified to serve as jurors based upon their answers to the questionnaire are then placed into the "QUALIFIED JURY WHEEL."  From this "wheel" the court will randomly select groups of prospective jurors (such as yourself) and summon them for service over the course of a two-year period.  Every two years the court discards its old "master wheel" and "qualified wheel" and creates new ones.

 

Why do I keep getting summoned?  Am I on some sort of jury service list?
It may appear that way, but this isn't the case in our court.  If you repeatedly request a postponement or excuse each time you are summoned, you aren't actually serving, but rather postponing your initial service to a later date.  Furthermore, it isn't unusual to be summoned by multiple courts at the same time.  For example, requesting two postponements from two different courts would mean you'll receive a combined total of six summonses by the time you are called a third time by each of the courts.   That may appear to be excessive, but again, your jury service was just rescheduled over and over again by these two courts since you had yet to complete your service.

Our Local Jury Plan establishes how we are required to summon jurors at random from a fair cross-section of the community in the district wherein the court convenes.

Once you complete your jury service in this court, we'll give you a two year exemption if we happen to summon you again within that period of time.

 

I already performed jury service this year.  I thought I only had to do it once?
This isn't entirely correct.  We do not have a provision that excuses you if you've recently served for another court, such as a state, county, or municipal court.  However, if you've served at a federal court (United States Court) within the past two years, we can excuse you.  Please provide written proof, such as an attendance certificate, or contact us for verification.

 

I don’t live in King (or Pierce) County - Can I serve at the court near me?
No.  This is a Federal court that only has locations in Seattle and Tacoma.  We are required by statute to summon from the 19 counties that make up the Western district of Washington.  Because of this, we are unable to transfer your service to another court.

 

What if I have a hardship with serving?
You may request that your jury service be postponed, or you may also be eligible for a permanent excuse.  

If are scheduled to appear next week and you have a family or medical emergency, contact the jury staff as soon as possible by sending us an e-mail and explain why you are unable to report.  You may not hear back from us over the weekend, but you can assume that your request is granted.

Last minute work or financial hardships are not permitted. If you have confirmed that you need to report for jury service on a specific date and time, it is too late to request a postponement of your jury service.  You must come to the courthouse and explain your hardship to the judge.

 

I returned my Jury Information Form, but I now have a hardship.  Is it too late?
It isn't too late.  Visit our Requesting a Postponement or Permanent Excuse from Jury Service page for further instructions.

 

What if I fail to appear for jury service?
If you are not excused by the court, you may be served with an Order to Show Cause by the U.S. Marshal’s Office, which means you may have to appear to explain why you should not be held in contempt of court pursuant to the Jury Selection and Service Act.  

Contempt penalties range from a $1,000 fine, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof. U.S.C. 28 Section 1866(g)

 

Must I return the Jury Information Form, if I’m NOT asking for an excuse?
Yes.  This is important since your response lets us know that you received your summons and are available to serve.

 

What if my employer wants me to be excused, but I want to serve?
We will only accept written excuse requests from the person called to serve, not an employer.  You have certain rights if called to serve as a juror.  Please see our Employment Protection Statute for more information.

 

Can my employer fire me for not working because of jury service?
We cannot offer legal advice.  However, you do have certain rights while serving as a juror. Please see our Employment Protection Statute for more information.  Your employer may also find this information helpful so you may want to provide them with a copy.

 

What if my employer wants proof of me serving?
You will be offered a Certificate of Attendance letter for each day of service. It will be available before you leave the courthouse at the end of the day, if you are not selected, or at the end of the trial, if you are selected.

 

Should I take off two weeks from work?
This is not recommended since you may only be required to report for one jury selection day or not at all during your two-week jury term.  However, you may want to inform your employer of your jury service so arrangements can be made if you are needed by the court.  

Note:  If your summons refers to a trial expected to last three weeks or longer, then this two week call-in term of service does not apply to you.  Refer to the instructions on your summons.

 

Will I be sequestered (required to spend the night)?
No.  However, if you live at least 60 miles one-way from the courthouse, you are authorized to spend the night and be reimbursed for your expenses.

 

Do I have to call in every night during my two week call-in term of service?
No.  You'll most likely only need to call in twice - after 4:30 p.m. on each Friday of your two-week term of jury service.  Occasionally, a trial will get bumped to Tuesday or Wednesday, requiring you to call again on the evening prior to that day.  It is important that you call since you may or may not be needed to report.  We cannot pay you if you report in error.  

Note: If your summons refers to a trial expected to last three weeks or longer, then this two week call-in term of service does not apply to you.  Refer to the instructions on your summons.

 

Where is the court located?
It depends on whether you are summoned to the U.S. Courthouse in Seattle or the one in Tacoma.  Visit our Courthouse Information page for map and driving directions, as well as parking, and public transportation information.

 

Where should I park?
The courthouse in Seattle does not provide on-site parking, but there are numerous public parking lots within 3 blocks.  The courthouse in Tacoma has two parking lots on-site, but payment is still required.

Parking fees are paid by you but we will fully reimburse you within two weeks of the end of your term.  Do not leave your car parked in a metered space. You will not have time to leave to feed the meter and the court is not responsible for parking tickets.

 

What if I’m late?
If severe traffic conditions prevent you from reporting on your first day, there is no need to worry.  It is alright if you are a little late due to circumstances beyond your control.   However, it is very important that you report on time if you are selected to serve on a trial since the entire court proceeding can be delayed due to the tardiness of just one juror.  Therefore, please do your best to plan accordingly by allowing enough time for travel and potential traffic delays.

 

How do I notify the court that I can't report in the event of an emergency?
We would not expect you to report if a family or medical emergency arises over the weekend prior to your reporting date.  Follow the instructions on our Requesting a Postponement page.

 

What items aren't allowed at the courthouse?
Weapons of any kind, including pocket knives, mace and pepper spray, are not permitted.  

Beverages are not allowed either.  Please note that coffee and tea are provided for jurors.   There are drinking fountains as well as vending machines selling a variety of beverages.  

When you arrive at the courthouse, you'll be required to pass through a metal detector and you may be asked to temporarily remove your shoes, belts, jewelry, and other metal items.

 

I live a great distance from the court, can I stay overnight?
You may stay overnight and receive reimbursement for your expenses if you live at least 60 miles from your home to the courthouse. If you aren’t sure whether you are eligible, you can map your mileage out on our Courthouse Information page for Seattle and Tacoma.

 

Can my family reach me by phone while I’m serving?
Yes.  However, we have a policy of protecting a juror’s identity.  Therefore, we will not confirm with anyone that you are currently serving.  We will take non-urgent messages depending on the circumstances, but we usually take emergency messages only.

 

Will food or refreshments be provided?
Meals are usually only provided for selected jurors who are deliberating a verdict.  Otherwise, you are responsible for your own meals.  Both courts have vending machines with snacks and beverages.  Microwaves and refrigerators are available for your use.  The courthouse in Seattle has an on-site cafe - U.S. Courthouse Cafe.  Also, here is a guide of restaurants near the Seattle Courthouse.   There are restaurants nearby the Tacoma courthouse, but there is no on-site cafe. 

 

Do you have internet access?
Yes.  We have free wi-fi internet in the jury assembly room for jurors who choose to bring their laptops.  There is at least one computer with internet access provided as a courtesy for jurors as well.

 

Can I bring my children?
Please don’t bring children to the courthouse. Since you will be participating in an official court proceeding, you will not be able to provide proper supervision. If you are unable to make arrangements for child care, please contact the jury staff or follow your instructions on your summons to request a postponement.

 

What should I wear to jury service?
All jurors should wear appropriate attire, such as comfortable casual or business apparel. Please bring a sweater or jacket since the courtrooms are often very cool.  Also, when you arrive at the courthouse, you'll be required to pass through a metal detector.  Therefore, you may be asked to remove your shoes, belts, jewelry, and other metal items.  Please try to limit the use of heavy colognes or perfumes as your fellow jurors may have allergies.

 

Will I be reimbursed for my expenses when I show up?
No.  We will mail you a check within two weeks of the end of your term of jury service.  If you have a financial hardship with paying for parking or hotel expenses, please contact a member of the jury staff PRIOR to reporting.  Visit our Payment and Reimbursement page for more information.

 

What should I expect on the first day I report?
You will report for a jury selection as part of a panel (or group) of prospective jurors. You will most likely only be asked to report for only one jury selection day during your two week term.  If you are selected to serve as a juror, you will be required to report back each day for the length of the trial.  Most trials last 3-5 days, however, some can last much longer.

 

How long will I be there on the first day for jury selection?

  • If you report at 8:00 a.m. and are not selected as a juror:  You are usually dismissed by noon (unless you are also needed for an afternoon jury selection).
  • If you report and are selected as a juror:  You are usually dismissed by 4:30 p.m.
  • If you report by 11:00 a.m. or later:  You are usually dismissed by 4:30 p.m. regardless of whether you are selected as a juror.