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Petit Jury

A civil petit jury is typically made up of 6 to 12 persons. In a civil case, the role of the jury is to listen to the evidence presented at a trial, to decide whether the defendant injured the plaintiff or otherwise failed to fulfill a legal duty to the plaintiff, and to determine what the compensation or penalty should be. A criminal petit jury is usually made up of 12 members. Criminal juries decide whether the defendant committed the crime as charged. The sentence usually is set by a judge. Verdicts in both civil and criminal cases must be unanimous, although the parties in a civil case may agree to a non-unanimous verdict. A jury's deliberations are conducted in private, out of sight and hearing of the judge, litigants, witnesses, and others in the courtroom.

What does “on call” mean?

The phrase “on call” means you are on standby for jury service during time period shown. This is your “term of service” for jury duty; for petit jurors, the on call term of service is three months. You are not required to report every day of this term.

When do I report for jury service? Do I report on the first day of the term?

You must call our automated telephone system AJIS (Advanced Judicial Information System) a recording device through which the Court can communicate with jurors at (340) 774-5916, THE FRIDAY BEFORE YOUR INITIAL APPEARANCE DATE after 6:00 p.m. AND EVERY FRIDAY thereafter, 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.

What if I can’t serve?

If you feel unable to serve for any reason, please contact the jury section for detailed instructions on how to submit an excuse, partial excuse, or deferral request. It’s important that you let us know as soon as possible when you have a problem serving. When you submit a request of any kind to the jury section, it’s important that you check with us to be sure we received it, and DON’T ASSUME you’ve been excused unless you receive confirmation from us in writing.

Am I required to report?

Yes. Federal law states that “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 days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.” 28 U.S.C. § 1866(g).