Jury Info

General Information

If you received a summons from the United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands and would like additional information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions about Jury Duty.  The jury duty information provided within this site only pertains to serving jury duty within the United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands, in compliance with the Jury Plan.

 
Potential jurors and other persons who may want to learn more about jury service and the importance of the role of a juror are also encouraged to read the Handbook for Trial Jurors Serving in the United States District Courts and the Handbook for Grand Jurors Serving in the United States District Courts.
 
Federal jurors actively participate in the administration of justice.  There is no more valuable service that a citizen can perform in support of our democratic Government than the good faith performance of jury duty.  If you have received a letter to report for jury service, we hope you find your jury service to be an interesting and rewarding experience.  We look forward to working with you.
 

Message to Employers

In most instances, the burden of Federal Court jury service is not so overwhelming and can be absorbed by business or other establishments with relative ease.  In order to ensure that the serious need for federal jurors is met, the United States Congress enacted the "Protection of Juror's Employment" statute in 1978 (Title 28, United States Code, Section 1875).  The statute embodies the intent of the Congress to assure adequate representation and the corresponding duty of employers to their employees and to the justice system.  The statute also protects employees from being discharged, intimidated or coerced by their permanent employers because of their service as jurors in Federal Court.
 
Financial hardship claimed as an excuse by an individual summoned or selected for jury duty is not usually a valid reason for the Court to excuse an individual from jury service, especially if the individual is working regularly in a permanent position with a salary or set hourly rate.  Unless there are compelling reasons for that excuse, it will not be granted.  If your employment policy is against paying employees while they are on jury duty, you are urged to reconsider that policy.  Federal jurors are paid $40.00 per day for their services; paying the difference between that amount and your employee's salary should not be overly burdensome.
 
The Court will do everything in its power to ensure that employers observe their duty towards those employees selected to serve as jurors of this Court.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about jury service in the United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands.
 

Is jury duty mandatory?

Yes.  The United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases.  Your participation as a juror helps make that possible.
 

What are the statutory qualifications to be a juror?

Jurors must be at least 18 years old, citizens of the United States, and able to read, write, speak and understand the English language.  The names and addresses of all persons are randomly selected from a list of registered voters and registered motor vehicle operators of a Judicial Division and placed in the master jury wheel for that division. 
 
This random selection shall be emptied and refilled biannually, or more frequently to maintain a current database of official registered voters and registered motor vehicle operators, between December 15th and April 30th following each general election, and is used to select both grand and petit jurors. Juror Qualification Questionnaires  are mailed out to each randomly selected person.  Once the answered questionnaires are received at the Jury Administration Office, the prospective jurors are qualified based on the information provided.
 
Pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 1865(b), you qualify to be a juror if you:
  • are a citizen of the United States
  • are 18 years of age or older
  • have primary residence in the Virgin Islands
  • are able to read, write, speak and understand the English language
  • have no felony charges pending against you
  • have been convicted of a felony charge and your civil rights have been restored
  • have no physical or mental disability that would interfere with or prevent your service as a juror

What is the difference between a grand juror and a petit juror?

Grand jurors serve on a grand jury to determine whether facts and accusations presented by the U.S. Attorney warrant an indictment in a criminal case.  Petit Jurors serve on criminal or civil trials, determine issues of fact, apply the law as instructed by the Judge, and deliberate to reach a verdict. Petit 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.
 

What if I already received a Juror Qualification Questionnaire?

Juror Qualification Questionnaires are sent to people randomly selected from the Voter Registration and the Motor Vehicle Bureau (MVB). The questionnaires are used to determine who is qualified to serve on jury duty.  Please complete the form, sign it, and return it in the business reply envelope. There is a space on the back of the form if you wish to write a message.  If you claim a medical hardship you must include a doctor's note.  If you are found to be qualified for jury service, you will receive a Jury Service Summons at a later date.
 

How often must I serve jury duty?

Under Federal law, a person cannot be required to serve jury duty more often than once every two (2) years (28 U.S.C. § 1866(e)).  If you have served in the United States District Court within the last two (2) years, and wish to be excused, please mail a copy of your official jury certificate, together with your questionnaire, in the return envelope.
 

How long will I serve?

If you are selected as a petit or trial juror on a case, you must serve until the conclusion of the case. Petit jurors should be prepared to remain the entire day.  Petit or trial jurors serve a term of three months; grand jurors will serve 1 to 2 days a month for a period of at least 18 months.
 

When must I call to confirm my scheduled attendance for jury duty? 

The beginning date refers to the first day of your term of service. You must call our automated telephone system AJIS (Advanced Judicial Information System) a recording device through which the Court can communicate with jurors. 
 
Simply dial (340)774-5916 and the court will instruct you when to report for jury duty.  When you call the automated phone system for updated reporting instructions or to obtain the status of your jury service, please have your nine-digit "Participant Number" (located on your Summons for Jury).  If you fail to call, and the trial has been cancelled, and you appear, you will not be paid.
 

How is my job protected during the duration of my service as juror?

You are protected by Federal Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1875, from being discharged, intimidated or coerced by your permanent employer because of your attendance as a juror at this Court.  The Court takes this matter very seriously and will do everything in its power to ensure that the job protection statute is enforced.  The Jury Administration Office will provide any additional guidance or information you may require.
 

What are the grounds for requesting an exemption or excuse from service as a juror?

Pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 1863(b)(6), the United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands approved a Jury Plan, the Court finds that it is in the public interest and would not be inconsistent with Title 28, United States Code, Sections 1861 or 1862, to exempt the following groups of persons and occupational classes from jury service:
  • a member in active service of the Armed Forces of the United States
  • a member of the fire or police departments of the Virgin Islands, or any federal or local law enforcement agency
  • a public official in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the governments of the United States or of the Virgin Islands, or its political subdivisions, who is actively engaged in the performance of official duties on a full-time basis
The Court finds that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1863 (b)(5) jury service by members of the following occupational classes or groups of persons would entail undue hardship or extreme inconvenience to the members thereof and the excuse of such members at the discretion of the Judge will not be inconsistent with the policy stated in this plan and may be granted upon individual written request:
  • persons over 70 years of age.
  • persons who have served as jurors in the Federal Court during the last two years
  • persons with custody and care of a child under ten (10) years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by such persons' absence because of jury service, or persons who are essential to the care of an elderly or debilitated person
  • full-time school teachers in public, parochial or private schools actively teaching
  • volunteer safety personnel (firefighters, rescue squad or ambulance crew) for a public agency
 
Lack or transportation or distance from your home to the Court is not a valid excuse for not serving as a juror, nor is having a full-time job.  If you have any other reason you think may preclude from performing jury duty, please inform it to the judge, when you report for jury duty or by submitting a formal letter of excuse in writing.  The judge will evaluate it and determine if you are still eligible to become a juror.
 
Excuses and exemptions may be requested by filling in the appropriate information on the Juror Qualification Questionnaire. All requests to be exempted or excused from serving as a juror must be in writing, complete with the supporting verifying information.  The letter of request must be from the person who received the questionnaire, not an employer or physician, for example.  Letters from employers or any other source will only be considered to support a request.  Do no have employers or physicians call the Jury Administration Office.
 
No excuses will be taken over the telephone. The only time that you should call the Jury Administration staff regarding an excuse is when you have a last-minute emergency that cannot be handled through the mail or fax.
 

What if I have not been disqualified exempted or excused and yet fail to report for jury duty after notified to do so?

Title 28, United States Code, Section 1864(b), states that persons who are requested to appear for Federal Jury Service and fail to appear may then be ordered to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for not complying with the court's letter of notification to report for jury duty. Persons who fail to appear or to show cause for not appearing may be fined not more than$1,000.00, imprisoned not more than 3 days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.
 

What if I have an emergency and cannot report for jury service?

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 telephone the Jury Administration staff.
 

Will I be paid for my jury service?

You will receive the following pay for your service as a Federal Juror:
  • $40.00 per day attendance fee
  • Standard mileage rate per mile (estimated round trip mileage from your residence)
  • Parking fees (if any)
  • Travel reimbursement (applies only to the St. John/Water Island District) 
You are asked to maintain a “Jury Parking/Toll Worksheet”. This worksheet will be turned in to court personnel at the termination of your jury service. The courtroom deputy will advise you of the last date to submit this form. The Court Will Not Reimburse You for Parking Receipts Submitted after the Deadline.
 

Is there a dress code?

Jurors play an extremely important role in the process of our system of justice.  You are expected to conduct yourself with reserve and courtesy. When appearing at the courthouse, please dress appropriately to preserve the dignity of the court.  Dress shirt, pants, pantsuits, skirts and dresses are suitable.  Please note: Casual attire, T-shirts, shorts, jeans, or tank tops, are not appropriate.  For your comfort, you may wish to bring a sweater or jacket.
 

Can I bring my cellular telephone, blackberry, tape recorder, camera, beeper or computer?

All persons entering the Courthouse are required to proceed through a security checkpoint and have bags, purses, packages, etc., examined through an x-ray machine.  Please have a valid photo identification available.  THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED: Cell phones, cameras, laptop computers, magazines, books, newspapers, pocket knives, scissors, or any recording or electronic devices.
 

How can I get proof of my jury service? 

When you have completed your jury service, the Court will provide a certificate of appreciation letter and certificate. 
 

Should I be concerned about providing personal and other sensitive or identifying information to the Jury Administration Office?

The federal judiciary makes every effort to protect all identifying information provided by potential jurors.  Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or by e-mail.  Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for credit card numbers or any other sensitive information. Persons receiving such telephone calls or electronic communications should not provide the requested information, and should notify the Jury Administration Office immediately.
 
 

For more information please read the Jury Brochure (PDF).

To reach the Automated Jury Information System, please call (340) 774-5916

More Documents (PDF)


Warning:

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is warning the public about calls from people claiming to be from the federal courts. These callers say a juror summons was ignored, threaten legal action, and request personal information from the citizen. The calls may lead to fraud.

For More information please see the press release.