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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 social security numbers, 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.
How can I get proof of my jury service?
When you have completed your jury service, the Court will automatically mail a letter certifying your jury service to your home address. The letter will list only the days you were present in the courthouse and it should arrive within two weeks. (Please note your juror's check will not be enclosed in this letter.) Once you have served, you are exempt from jury service in any other court for at least the next four years. Keep the original letter as it is the only way to prove your jury service if you are notified or summoned by another court.
Can I bring my cellular telephone, smartphone, tape recorder, camera, beeper, or computer?
Cellular telephones, smartphones, tape recorders, and cameras are prohibited inside the courthouse and will be kept at the check point. Beepers are allowed in silent mode and computers are generally not allowed. You may bring an iPod or MP3 music player. Once you are selected as a grand or petit juror or alternate, you may request assistance from the Court should you need to place a telephone call.
If there is an emergency and someone needs to contact you during your service, they may call the Jury Administration Office and a message will be delivered to you promptly. Please have them specify that you are on jury duty.
Is there a dress code?
While no formal dress code exists, jurors are requested to dress in a manner respectful to the Court. The following are NOT permitted in the courtrooms: Hats, shorts, tank top, flip flops or beach attire.You will have to pass through a metal detector each time you enter the courthouse. Please leave excess metal and jewelry at home to speed your entry.
How do I get to the U.S. Courthouse?
The U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico has two (2) locations: Hato Rey, and Old San Juan. It is important that you always have a valid photo I.D. with you in order to enter these U.S. Courthouses.
Federico Degeteau Federal Building and Clemente Ruiz Nazario Courthouse in Hato Rey
The Federico Degeteau Federal Building and Clemente Ruiz Nazario Courthouse are located at 150 Chardon Street in Hato Rey. The courthouse is on the one-story building on the right. The Clerk's Office is at Room 150 on the first floor of the Federal Building on the left.
- There is free parking for jurors in the lot adjacent to the courthouse. See FAQ Will parking be provided if I drive my car to jury service? for details.
- Full-service cafeteria on the Seventh Floor of the Federal Building. Hours of Operation: 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- Small convenience store on the Seventh Floor of the Federal Building where you may purchase snacks, sodas, magazines, and newspapers. Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Jose V. Toledo Courthouse in Old San Juan
The Jose V. Toledo U.S. District Courthouse is located at 300 Recinto Sur Street in Old San Juan. The Court will reimburse parking costs for the Doña Fela or La Puntilla parking lots. See FAQ Will parking be provided if I drive my car to jury service? for details.
Will parking be provided if I drive my car to jury service?
Federico Degeteau Federal Building and Clemente Ruiz Nazario Courthouse in Hato Rey
The Federico Degeteau Federal Building and Clemente Ruiz Nazario Courthouse is located at 150 Chardon Street in Hato Rey. There is free parking for jurors in the lot adjacent to the courthouse. Your driver's license and vehicle registration must be current in order to enter the parking lot and to receive reimbursement for travel expenses. The entrance to the parking lot is located near the main entrance gate to the Federal Building, across the street from the Denny's Restaurant in Hato Rey. It has a sign that reads “Visitors Parking.” You must show your jury duty notification letter to the guard on duty and he/she will tell you where you can park.
We suggest you arrive early because the number of available spaces is limited. If the lot is full, you may use the private parking facility on Arterial Hostos Street, across the Capital Center and ACAA buildings, for which you will be reimbursed. Receipts are required for the reimbursement of parking costs.
Jose V. Toledo Courthouse in Old San Juan
The Jose V. Toledo U.S. District Courthouse is located at 300 Recinto Sur Street in Old San Juan. The Court will reimburse parking costs for the Doña Fela or La Puntilla parking lots. Receipts are required for the reimbursement of parking costs.
Will I be paid for my jury service?
The United States District Court will pay each juror an attendance fee of $50 per day of attendance plus a travel fee of 65.5 cents per mile (automobiles) or 63.5 cents per mile (motorcycles), paid round trip, to the juror's home town (Mileage Chart). Jurors whose one-way commute is more than 90 miles away from the Court are eligible to stay at a hotel within the San Juan Metro Area at government expense. Authorized lodging expenses for jurors attending a specific trial will be eligible for reimbursement. The payment will be made by check and mailed to the juror's home address. Jurors are paid twice a month.
What if I have an emergency and cannot report for jury service?
It is important that jurors report promptly when they are required to report. 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 follow the instructions that they were given by the Court. If they are unable to do so, they should telephone the Jury Administration staff.
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 are the grounds for requesting an exemption or excuse from service as a juror?
Pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 1863(b)(5), the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico approved an Amended Plan for the Random Selection of Grand and Petit Jurors Pursuant to the Jury Selection and Service Act, as amended, which specifies those groups of persons or occupational classes whose members shall, on individual request therefor, be excused from jury service.
The Jury Selection and Service Act, Title 28, United States Code, Section 1863(b)(5)(B), specifies that you are barred from jury service if you fall into one of the exemption categories. If you claim one of these exemption categories, please send that information in writing to the Jury Administration Office. You are exempt from jury service if you are:
- a member in active service of the Armed Forces of the United States
- a member of the fire or police departments of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 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 Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or its political subdivisions, who is actively engaged in the performance of official duties on a full-time basis
There are certain categories of persons who, upon their specific written request, may be excused from service as a juror. If you claim to be excused because you fall under one of these categories and you wish to be excused, you must send a written request to the Jury Administration Office. Of course, if you wish to serve and meet the statutory qualifications, you are welcome to do so and need not contact the Court prior to the date specified in your notification letter. You may be excused from jury duty if you are:
- a person 70 years of age or older
- a minister of the Gospel or a member of a religious order of any denomination, actively so engaged on a full-time status
- an actively practicing attorney, physician or dentist
- a teacher in a private, parochial or public school or college, actively engaged in teaching, on a full-time status
- a person who has served as a grand or petit juror in federal court within the past two years
- a full-time student
- a person rendering professional nursing or medical services (including, but not limited to, registered or licensed nurses, student nurses, medical laboratory technicians, therapists, and students of the medical laboratory sciences)
- a person with the custody and care of a child under 10 years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by his/her absence for jury service, or a person who is essential to the care of elderly or infirm persons
- a volunteer safety personnel serving 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. 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-minuteemergency that cannot be handled through the mail.
How is my job protected during the duration of my service as juror?
You are protected by federal statute from being discharged, intimidated or coerced by your permanent employer because of your attendance as a juror at this Court. See, Title 28, United States Code, Section 1875. The Court takes this matter very seriously and will do everything in its power to ensure that the job protection statute is enforced. For more information concerning employment protection of petit and grand jurors, read the Court's Order and Notice from the Clerk. The Jury Administration Office will provide any additional guidance or information you may require.
How do I confirm my scheduled attendance for jury duty?
The Court's schedule sometimes changes at the last minute. Rather than have you sit in the jury room all day, we may change the date you must report for jury duty. On the evening (or weekend) before your scheduled date to report for jury duty, you will receive an outbound notification by an automatic calling system. The recording may instruct you to report to the courthouse on the date indicated in the notification letter, or it may delay your date to report.
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 jurors’ normal service hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. (Monday to Friday). Petit or trial jurors serve a total of 30 duty days; grand jurors will serve 1 to 2 days a month for a period of at least 18 months or as needed.
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. Title 28, United States Code, Section 1866(e) . If you have served in the United States District Court or in the local court within the last two (2) years, and wish to be excused, please mail a copy of your official jury certificate, together with our questionnaire, in the return envelope.
What if I already received a Juror Qualification Questionnaire?
Juror Qualification Questionnaires are sent to people randomly selected from the voter rolls (these are not to be confused with the update cards found at the back of the Summons to Jury Duty). 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 recently served on jury duty in another court, you must include a copy of your jury certificate. If you are found to be qualified for jury service, you will receive a Jury Service Summons at a later date.
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 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. Jurors in the District of Puerto Rico are selected at random from the certified lists of registered voters from the State Elections Commission of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This random selection is done every four years after each 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.
Most people that are able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language are qualified to become jurors.
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 year of age or older
- have primary residence in Puerto Rico
- 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
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.