Juror FAQs

Petit Jury FAQs

  • How will I know when to report?
  • What is the difference between a qualification questionnaire and a summons?
  • What is the term of service?
  • What about public transportation?
  • What if I have a serious hardship?
  • What if I live more than 80 miles away, one way?
  • What time should I report, if instructed to do so?
  • Can I transfer my service to another court?
  • How and when will I be paid?
  • How can I obtain directions and parking information?
  • How can I postpone jury service?
  • Are juror attendance fees considered reportable income?
  • How can I request a temporary absence?
  • Are there restrictions regarding what can be brought into the courthouse?
  • May I bring my cell phone and/or laptop to the courthouse?
  • What should I wear?
  • What amenities are available to me at the courthouse?
  • What is the federal court's juror source list?
  • What is the difference between the US District Court and Superior Court?
  • How was my name selected to receive a summons?
  • What is the penalty for not responding to a summons?
  • What protects my employment while serving jury duty?
PRIOR to reporting at the beginning of your jury service, you MUST CALL for reporting instructions. You MAY or MAY NOT need to report on the first day of your term, therefore you must first call for your specific reporting instructions or call-back instructions. Due to the high volume of calls during peak hours (6:00 pm-8:00 pm) you may get a busy signal, therefore please be patient and continue to call hourly.

REMINDER: When you call the recorded message for updated reporting instructions, OR to obtain the status of your jury service if you requested a deferral or an excuse, YOU MUST HAVE THE 9-DIGIT PARTICIPANT NUMBER, LOCATED JUST ABOVE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON YOUR SUMMONS and also located directly below the bar-code on your JUROR Identification Badge.

Please report for jury duty ONLY when instructed to do so by the recorded message. When you are not instructed to report, please continue your regular daily activities. It is your responsibility to call the 800-998-9035 after 6PM to verify if your presence is required.
​A qualification questionnaire is a "fill in the bubble" form or instruction sheet to submit a questionnaire online. The information submitted is designed to provide the court with information to determine if you are legally qualified to be a juror, as well as statistical information. If you are legally qualified for federal jury duty, at some point you may be sent a summons, which is an order from the court calling you to jury service.
Petit (trial) jurors are "on call" for a one month period. Terms begin on the 1st Monday of the month. Although you are on call, you will only be required to report for jury selection a few times during your term of service. The number of times may vary depending on the needs of the court. You will appear only on days when requested during the period of service.

Please note that if you are called to serve on a trial that begins at the end of your term of service or if you are selected for a trial that exceeds your service period, you will be required to serve until the completion of the trial.

Once you have completed serving as a juror on a trial, you will be excused for the remainder of the term.
Lack of transportation or distance from your home to this court is not a valid excuse for not serving as a juror. Most buses, the trolley and the Coaster stop within two to five blocks of this courthouse. The following telephone numbers will provide you with transportation information: San Diego Metropolitan Transit: 619/233-3004 and 1/800/COASTER (262-7837) or you can link to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System website.
If you have a compelling reason to be excused from jury service, you must request this in writing immediately upon receipt of your summons and return your letter with the completed information form located at the lower portion of your summons in the reply envelope provided. If you do not have the return envelope, please mail to address on summons. Although financial hardship and job related issues are not an allowable excuse, if these or any issues affect you, it is in your best interest to write a letter to the court explaining your hardship. By doing this, the court is better able to work with you to make your jury service satisfactory to the court's needs and your own. Requests for excuse must be submitted and approved in advance. Medical excuses must have a doctor's statement attached to aid the Court in rendering a decision. Prior to your first reporting date, you MUST always call the 800-998-9035 after 6PM to obtain the status of your excuse request.

Postponements and hardship excuses MUST be requested and approved in advance as indicated above and will NOT be considered when jury service commences.

Allowable excuse categories are as follows: (1) Persons over 70 years of age; (2) Any person having active care and custody of a child or children under 10 years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by absence of such person for jury service; or a person who is essential to the care of aged or infirm persons; (3) Persons who have served as a grand or petit juror in Federal court within the past 2 years; (4) Volunteer safety personnel - individuals serving a public agency in an official capacity, without compensation, as firefighters or members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew.
If the distance you must travel from your home to the courthouse to serve as a juror is over 80 miles one way, and it would be impractical for you to return home each night, you will be entitled to a subsistence fee so that you can stay in San Diego the night before the date that you are instructed to report for jury service IF you are instructed to report early the following day. Call the jury office immediately upon receipt of your summons (between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday thru Friday, excluding federal holidays) for hotel and travel instructions at 1-800-998-9035 and press "2" to speak to a jury clerk. Note: You must choose from one of the five options and press #8.

If you choose to come to San Diego the night before your scheduled jury service, you will be reimbursed the current per diem rate for each night you stay in San Diego with a friend or at a hotel or motel; you will receive a $50.00 attendance fee for coming to San Diego the day prior to your service and; you will receive a subsistence rate to cover expenses incurred when you return to your home. However, you are required to bring a hotel receipt verifying your overnight expenses in order to receive this reimbursement by the court. You will be asked to fill out a form stating that you "stayed the night" and the date that you stayed.

As a trial juror, you will receive your normal $50.00 per day attendance fee and round-trip mileage, in addition to any per diem rate and subsistence rate (see subsistence rate in hotel link). Free juror parking is available, please refer to the map with instructions and directions to Horton Plaza Parking which was provided with your summons.

Important Note: Hotel reservations should be made directly with a hotel on a daily basis, requesting flexibility on length of stay and late check-out.

Some possible motel locations for consideration are:

Hotel Circle (off the 8 highway)
Downtown San Diego (Broadway)
Pacific Highway
Harbor Drive


During business hours, please press "0", to speak to a jury clerk if you need additional information, or press "*" to repeat this information, or press "#" to return to the previous menu.
The first time you report for jury service, we ask that you check in with a jury clerk approximately fifteen minutes prior to your reporting time (usually 7:30 am). After check in, jury staff will go through an orientation session where you will receive additional information, view a film on Petit Jury Service, and you will also receive helpful handouts, including a Petit Juror Handbook. After the orientation, Jury Staff will be happy to answer your questions. After orientation, jurors will be randomly called to the courtroom for jury selection. Generally, the court will be in session from about 8:30 or 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The court normally takes an hour for lunch and short breaks throughout the day. Our goal is to make your jury service a rewarding and pleasurable experience. If you have any questions or concerns during the length of your term, please feel free to call the Jury Office at 800-998-9035 and press "2" for a jury clerk. Note: You must choose from one of the five options then press #8. Between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
​No. The US District Court is a Federal Court. This is the only federal court in the jurisdiction of San Diego County and Imperial County. Therefore, we are unable to transfer you to any other court.
You will receive:
  • $50.00 attendance per reporting day (United States/Federal Government employees will NOT receive attendance fees, unless they serve on their regularly scheduled day off, except for United States Post Office employees)
  • round-trip mileage, based upon your residential zip code, to the courthouse
Checks may be prepared either at the conclusion of trials, after one or more days of service, or the month following the completion of your term.
Jurors reporting for federal jury service may now park FREE of charge ONLY at Horton Plaza Parking while attending court with proper validation by jury staff. Maximum vehicle height in this lot is 6'8". Parking validation is for Horton Plaza Parking ONLY.

If you use another Parking facility or any other parking lot, you will NOT be reimbursed for parking. Be sure to bring your parking ticket with you for validation, when you report for check in.

 Download Printable Parking Map, Directions and Instructions Here.
For reasons such as a scheduling conflict or a temporary emergency situation, you may request a postponement of your one-month jury service by telephone. You must notify the Jury Office immediately upon receipt of your summons or as soon as the situation arises, call 800-998-9035 and press "2" for a jury clerk. Note: You must choose from one of the five options then press #8. Between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday, excluding federal holidays). If granted, your service will be postponed to another one-month term and you will be mailed another summons for the new term of service.
​Yes. The IRS considers juror attendance fees to be "Other Income" and must be reported on Line 21 of the 1040. At the end of the year, a 1099 MISC will be mailed to all jurors who earn $600 or more in attendance fees in the calendar year. Mileage and subsistence reimbursement are not considered reportable income. Social security numbers must be provided to the Jury Office for all juror payments.
The Court realizes that from time to time jurors may need to request a temporary absence from jury service. These absences are generally for appointments with a physician, scheduled vacation time, business obligations, etc. Because the Court will make every effort to accommodate temporary absences during your jury term, these absences do not constitute a valid reason for complete excuse of your service.

When requesting a temporary absence, you must telephone your request immediately or as soon as you know the dates for which you need to request a temporary absence by notifying the Jury Office at 1-800-998-9035 & press "2" and listens to one of the five options and press #8 (between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays). The Court will make every effort to work around your schedule.
The following items are prohibited in the courthouse:

  • Weapons (such as firearms, knives, striaght razors, ice picks, or elongated scissors)
  • Non-lethal devices (such as tasers, tear-gas, batons, and pepper spray, stun guns, toy or "dummy" weapons), cameras, radios, voice or tape recorders, and knitting needles.
  • All glass containers
You must leave these items in your car or at home.
​Yes. Devices that have cameras and recording devices as accessories (such as cell phones, I-pads, etc.) are permitted in the United States Courthouse Buildings. However, the use of cameras and recorders contained in those devices is prohibited. Cameras and recording devices that are solely cameras and/or recording devices cannot be brought into the United States Courthouse. Prior to entering a courtroom you must turn OFF your cell phone, laptop, and all electronic devices. You may bring a laptop computer - keep in mind there are no internet connections available in the courthouse or the jury assembly room. Note that all personal belongings may be inspected by court security personnel prior to entry to the courthouse.
Due to the dignity of Court proceedings, it is requested you wear business casual attire. The following are NOT permitted in the courtrooms: Hats, shorts, tank tops, flip flops or beach attire.
​The jury lounge has vending machines that dispense coffee, soda, juice, bottled water, and snacks. The vending machines accept dollar bills, quarters, dimes, and nickels. There is a refrigerator and microwave oven available for juror use. We have a supply of magazines and books for your use while you are at the courthouse. There are restroom facilities and a water fountain in the jury lounge. Smoking is permitted only outdoors. As room temperature comfort varies for each person, we advise you to bring a sweater or light jacket in case you find the jury lounge or courtroom too cool.
The names of prospective grand and petit jurors are drawn by pure randomization from the voter registration rolls of Imperial and San Diego Counties.
​The US District Court handles criminal and civil cases at a federal level. Superior Court is state/municipal court and handles criminal and civil cases at a state/county level. The two courts are not affiliated in any way; they do not share summons information, nor do they summon from the same pool of jurors. It is possible to be in both pools of jurors. Prior service in Superior Court does not preclude you from serving with the US District Court.
Names are selected by pure randomization from this court's Qualified Jury Wheel.
​Any person summoned for jury service who fails to respond or appear may be ordered by this court to appear at their own expense to show cause for their failure to comply with the summons. Any person failing to show good cause for non-compliance with the jury summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof, Title 28, USC §1866.
​Jurors are protected by federal statute, Title 28 USC § 1875, from being discharged, intimidated, or coerced by a permanent employer because of grand or petit jury service.

Grand Jury FAQs

  • What is grand jury service?
  • How will I receive further instructions?
  • What is the term of service?
  • How and when will I be paid?
  • What time should I report for orientation?
  • How can I postpone jury service or request a temporary absence?
  • What if I have a serious hardship or extreme inconvenience?
​The federal grand jury hears evidence presented by an attorney of the government which tends to show the commission of a crime and whether someone should be tried for that crime. The grand jury then votes to indict or not to indict that person or persons.
PRIOR to your scheduled reporting date, you MUST CALL the recorded message 1-800-998-9035 after 6:00 p.m. for reporting instructions. Due to the high volume of calls during peak hours (6:00 pm-8:00 pm) you may get a busy signal, therefore please be patient and continue to call hourly.

REMINDER: When you call the recorded message for updated reporting instructions, YOU MUST HAVE THE 9-DIGIT PARTICIPANT NUMBER, LOCATED JUST ABOVE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON YOUR SUMMONS and also located directly below the bar-code on your JUROR Identification Badge.

Please report for jury duty ONLY when instructed to do so by the recorded message. It is your responsibility to call the 800-998-9035 after 6PM to verify if your presence is required.
​Grand jurors serve an eighteen month term. Service is generally one day a week (the same day). If selected for a grand jury, time off during your service, for personal reasons, may be granted by your foreperson. Court sessions customarily run from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
You will receive
  • $50.00 attendance per reporting day (United States/Federal Government employees will NOT receive attendance fees, unless they serve on their regularly scheduled day off, except for United States Post Office employees)
  • round-trip mileage, based upon your residential zip code, to the courthouse
Checks are usually processed by the 25th of the following month for all grand jury service the previous month.
If you are instructed to report, we ask that you check in with a jury clerk approximately fifteen minutes prior to your reporting time (usually 7:30 am). After check in, jury staff will go through an orientation session where you will receive additional information, view a film on Grand Jury Service, and you will also receive helpful handouts. After orientation, jurors will be sent to the courtroom for grand jury voir dire and jury selection. Our goal is to make your jury service a rewarding and pleasurable experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Jury Office at 1-800-998-9035 & press "2" for a jury clerk. Note: You must choose from one of the five options then press #8. Between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
If you are unavailable on the date of the grand jury impanelment, you may request a postponement by calling 1-800-998-9035 & press "2" for a jury clerk. Note: You must choose from one of the five options then press #8. Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, excluding federal holidays. If granted, your service will be postponed to a one-month petit (trial) jury term and you will be mailed another summons for the new term of service.

If you are selected on a Grand Jury Panel, you will be instructed on how to request a temporary absence at the time of your orientation (for vacations, business purposes, medical needs, etc.).
If you have a compelling reason to be excused from jury service (serious hardship or extreme inconvenience) please call the jury office immediately (between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.). If appropriate, you may be instructed to submit details of your hardship or inconvenience in writing to the court along with the completed information form located at the lower portion of your summons, in the reply envelope provided. If you do not have the return envelope, please mail to address on summons. Although financial hardship and job related issues are not an allowable excuse, if these or any issues affect you, it is in your best interest to write a letter to the court explaining your hardship. By doing this, the court is better able to work with you to make your jury service satisfactory to the court's needs and your own. Requests for excuse must be submitted and approved in advance. Medical excuses should have a doctor's statement attached to aid the Court in rendering a decision.

Prior to your first reporting date, you MUST always call the 800-998-9035 after 6PM to obtain the status of your excuse request.

Allowable excuse categories are as follows: (1) Persons over 70 years of age; (2) Any person having active care and custody of a child or children under 10 years of age whose health and/or safety would be jeopardized by absence of such person for jury service; or a person who is essential to the care of aged or infirm persons; (3) Persons who have served as a grand or petit juror in Federal court within the past 2 years; (4) Volunteer safety personnel - individuals serving a public agency in an official capacity, without compensation, as firefighters or members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew.