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Juror Service FAQs

  1. Is jury duty mandatory?

    Yes, unless you have been excused by the Court. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial in both criminal and civil cases. Your participation as a juror helps make that possible.

  2. What is the difference between a Petit and Grand Jury?

    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, it will return a written statement of the charges, called an indictment. Grand jurors sit on a panel of 16 to 23 jurors and generally serve one to three days per month for 18 months. Grand jury terms may be extended for a period of up to six months, if necessary.

  3. How am I selected for jury duty?

    Currently, jurors in the Southern District of West Virginia are selected at random from lists of active voter registration records. If the Court directs, and the District Jury Plan provides, these lists can be supplemented with drivers' license records and state-issued identification card records.

  4. Can I be excused?

    There are two types of excuses: Permanent and Temporary. Excuses are not automatically granted. Federal law that allows the granting of excuses is very strict. All requests for excuses and postponements are to be submitted by you in writing to the Office of the Clerk, marked to the attention of the Jury Clerk. Do not have your employer write a letter for you. If you are requesting a medical excuse, you must have a detailed note from your doctor. The Court cannot call and verify your medical condition with your doctor stating why you are unable to attend. Please do not wait until the last minute to request an excuse. Allow time for the paperwork to be received and reviewed by the court before your reporting date. Upon receipt of these requests, the jury clerk will submit them to the Judge for a ruling. The jury clerk will notify you either by telephone and/or written notification immediately upon receipt of the Judge's reply to your request. A juror should not assume a request will be granted. An unexcused absence may result in a charge of contempt of Court and a subsequent fine and/or imprisonment.

  5. What if I fail to appear for jury duty?

    Title 28 U.S.C. § 1866(g) states any person summoned for jury service who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the district court to appear forthwith and show cause for failure to comply with the summons. 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 (3) days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.

  6. What if I am late?

    It is extremely important to be prompt both in the morning and after lunch. Promptness is most important when serving in a trial since the entire proceeding can be delayed because of the tardiness of just one juror.

  7. Does my employer have to let me off to serve on a jury?

    All permanent employees who serve on juries are protected under title 28 U.S.C. § 1875. You cannot be forced to use your vacation or sick leave to serve on a jury. If your employer fires you, threatens to fire you, intimidates or coerces you because you have been called for jury duty, report the incident immediately to the jury clerk.

  8. What penalties might an employer face if they discharge, threaten to discharge or intimidate an employee due to the employee’s jury service?

    An employer:

    1. may be liable for damages for any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an employee by reason of such violation;
    2. may be enjoined from further violations of this section and ordered to provide other appropriate relief, including but not limited to the reinstatement of any employee discharged by reason of his jury service; and
    3. shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation as to each employee.
    4. shall be subject required to perform community service work.
  9. Does my employer have to pay me while I serve?

    Under the law, the employer is not required to pay salary or wages while the employee is serving jury duty, but most private employers do pay employees during their jury service. Some pay employees in full, while others deduct your $50 daily juror pay from your regular wages. **See A Message to Employers for more information.**

  10. Will I be paid for my jury service?

    The U. S. District Court will pay you an attendance fee of $50.00 per day (unless you are a federal government employee), round-trip mileage from your home to the courthouse at the rate set by the United States General Services Administration at the time of the jury service, and parking fees. Jury checks are mailed to your home address within two weeks from the date of service. The attendance payment of $50.00 per day is taxable income and must be reported on your income tax return. The mileage and parking fees paid to you are not taxable. At the end of the year, a 1099 MISC. will be mailed to all jurors who earn $600.00 or more in attendance fees in the calendar year.

  11. Are meals provided?

    No, meals are not provided. We provide coffee, tea, soft drinks and water. You may bring a lunch if you wish as there is a refrigerator and microwave for your use. There are restaurants and fast-food establishments convenient to the courthouses, and jury staff will be happy to advise you of locations.

  12. How long will I serve?
    • Petit jurors will be on call for 3 months or, if selected, until the time the trial concludes. When you are called to report for jury duty, you will be informed of the length of the trial and the start date.
    • Grand jurors serve once a month for an 18-month term of service. The United States Attorney’s Office can request an extension of up to six months, if necessary.
  13. Why must I call the evening before I appear for jury duty?

    The Court will mail a “Notice to Appear” to jurors prior to their report date. Your notice to report will include a telephone number to call the day prior to reporting for jury service. Calling times are explained in the letter. Frequently, a case may be dismissed or settled after you have been notified to report. If that occurs, the telephone recording will instruct you NOT to report. Occasionally, jurors will drive long distances to report for jury duty without calling the number before they leave their homes, only to arrive at the courthouse to learn that the case has settled and the trial cancelled. If you fail to call and the case has settled or been dismissed and you report anyway, you will not be compensated for your time or travel expense.

  14. Of what security issues should I be aware?

    Due to increased security at all Federal Courthouses and buildings, it will be necessary for you to show a picture ID and pass through a metal detector as you enter the court facility. Your purses, bags, and briefcases will be X-rayed at the same time. To expedite your entrance, it is recommended that you wear as little jewelry as possible. Some items that are not allowed into the courthouse are: cameras or cell phones capable of taking pictures; mace/stun guns; tape recorders; aerosol cans (such as hair spray); liquids of any type; knives, including pocket knives and metal nail files; and all firearms or dangerous weapons in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 930.

  15. If I have any other questions, who can I call?
    Melissa Keene
    Deputy In Charge
    Asley Orr
    Jury Administrator
    Marsha Wilson
    Deputy In Charge
    Susan Richmond
    Deputy in Charge
    U.S. District Court
    601 Federal Street
    Room 1037
    Bluefield, WV 24701
    U.S. District Court
    P.O. Box 2546
    Charleston, WV 25329
    U.S. District Court
    845 Fifth Avenue
    Room 101
    Huntington, WV 25701
    U.S. District Court
    110 N Heber St.
    Room 119
    Beckley, WV 25801
    1-304-327-9798 1-304-347-3004 1-304-529-5588 1-304-253-7481
  16. Where can I park if I drive to jury duty?
    In Charleston:

    Park at Charleston Town Center parking garage on Quarrier Street OR
    Kanawha County Judicial Building parking garage on Goshorn Street
    Do NOT park at a metered space on the street or metered city parking lot when reporting for jury duty


    In Beckley:

    Park at the Intermodel Gateway Park and Pay Lot on Leslie C. Gates Way OR
    City of Beckley Park and Pay Lot located between Word Park and DHHS Building on Neville Street
    Do NOT park at a metered space on the street or metered city parking lot when reporting for jury duty


    In Bluefield:

    Parking is available along Bland and Federal Streets
    Please leave your juror letter on your car dash
    Do NOT park at a metered space on the street or metered city parking lot when reporting for jury duty


    In Huntington:

    Parking is available in parking garages located at:
    5th Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets (beside Jim’s Spaghetti); and
    Pullman Square Parking Garage: Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard, between 8th and 10th Streets
    Do NOT park at a metered space on the street or a metered city parking lot when reporting for jury duty