Summons for Grand Jury Service

You have been summoned for potential service as a federal grand juror.

Grand Jurors serve an eighteen (18) month term unless extended by court order.

Please review the Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors by clicking here

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Grand Jury Service differ from regular Jury Service?

While a "regular" jury, often referred to as a petit jury, listens to the evidence offered by the prosecution and the defense (if it chooses to offer any) during a criminal trial and returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty, a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. A grand jury determines only whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If selected as a grand juror, that will be your charge.

How did you get my name and why was I summoned?

Every two years, prospective grand and petit juror names are randomly drawn from two sources:

  1. general election voter registration lists, and
  2. the records of holders of drivers’ licenses and identification cards.

Those lists are then combined to create the Master Jury Wheel. A random selection of names from our Master Jury Wheel are then drawn and mailed the qualification questionnaire for consideration of future federal jury service. Citizen residents within the Eastern District of Washington, who are deemed qualified to serve as jurors based upon their answers to the questionnaire, are then randomly summoned over the course of a two-year period.

Our Court's Jury Plan establishes how we select grand and petit juries at random from a fair cross-section of the community in the district wherein the court convenes.

Why am I being summoned out of my county?

Jurors who serve in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington, are selected pursuant to the Court’s Jury Plan. Under Our Court's Jury Plan, it is our policy that all litigants in this Court, entitled to trial by jury, shall have the right to grand and petit juries selected at random from a fair cross-section of the community. This Court has jurisdiction over twenty counties, including: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima. All citizens resident within the Eastern District of Washington shall have the opportunity to be considered for service on grand and petit juries and shall have the obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose.

How do I request a postponement or an excuse?

If you would like to postpone your service to a different term, you may do so by making your request in writing. Postponement requests must be made within ten (10) days of receipt of your summons. Please contact the Jury Office at 866-249-5932 with additional postponement questions.

Important Information re: Excuse Requests

The right of citizens to a jury trial is guaranteed by the federal constitution and service as a juror, when called, is a fundamental duty of citizenship. Accordingly, the Court is required to carefully scrutinize any request to be excused from jury service.

If you believe you should be excused from jury service because jury service would cause undue hardship or extreme inconvenience or because your service would have a negative impact on the public, please make your request in writing. Your letter must be sent within ten (10) days of receipt of your summons. You must provide your excuse letter along with your completed juror questionnaire in the return postage paid envelope provided with your summons:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CLERKS OFFICE
PO BOX 1493
SPOKANE WA 99210

 

Once you have been instructed to report for jury service, you may not be excused unless there is an emergency or extenuating circumstance.

What will I be paid?

Juror Checks are mailed within one week of service.

  • If you are not selected, one week from the date of selection proceedings.
  • If you are selected, one week from the conclusion of the grand jury session.

Spokane Division

  • $40.00 attendance fee including for travel day.
  • $149.00 per night for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay at a hotel. We will need a copy of your hotel receipt.
  • $61.00 partial per diem for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay with friends or relatives.
  • Mileage and $8.00 flat fee for those who pay to park in a lot/facility. Jurors are responsible for any parking violation tickets issued. Public parking lots/facilities are available. DO NOT park at a meter as selection and grand jury sessions take several hours.

Yakima Division

  • $40.00 attendance fee including for travel day.
  • In Yakima $129.00 per night for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay at a hotel. We will need a copy of your hotel receipt.
  • $46.00 partial per diem for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay with friends or relatives.
  • Mileage

Where should I park?

Spokane:

If you pay to park IN A LOT/FACILITY, you will be reimbursed a flat fee of $8.00. You may park in any lot you choose. However, the closest lot is Riverpark Square Parking Garage which is one block north of the courthouse on Main Street. Before 8:30 a.m., only the Spokane Falls Blvd. entrance is open.

Click here for additional parking options.

Yakima:

The nearest parking lot is directly across Third Street from the Courthouse, and it belongs to the City of Yakima. Parking is FREE and limited to 4 hours. Jurors who are selected and impaneled will be provided a parking pass for the duration of the grand jury session.

Click here for additional parking options.

I live a great distance from the court, can I stay the night?

If you live more than 60 miles one-way from the courthouse, you are entitled to travel the day before reporting if your reporting time is in the morning.

Spokane Per Diem and Hotels:

  • $149.00 per night for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay at a hotel. We will need a copy of your hotel receipt.
  • $61.00 partial per diem for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay with friends or relatives.
  • Click here for a link to Spokane Hotels.

Yakima Per Diem:

  • $129.00 per night for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay at a hotel. We will need a copy of your hotel receipt.
  • $46.00 partial per diem for jurors who reside 60 miles or more from the courthouse and stay with friends or relatives.
  • Click here for a link to Yakima Hotels.

What if I fail to appear for jury service?

Title 28, United States Code, Section 1866(g) provides, “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 3 days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.”

Is there a dress code?

While no formal dress code exists, jurors are requested to dress in a manner respectful to the litigants and the Court. The courtrooms are generally very cool, so you may want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

What can I expect to happen when I report for selection?

When you arrive, you will first be checked in by the jury staff. A brief orientation will be provided, followed by the viewing of an informational video. Afterward, you will proceed to the courtroom for jury selection. Jury selection typically lasts one to three hours. If you are selected, your grand jury session will generally begin on the day you report. If you live farther than commuting distance, please travel on the assumption you may be required to stay two or three days.

Does the law protect my employment?

Under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1875:

a) No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of the employee’s jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.

b) An employer who violates the provisions of this section:

  • Shall be liable for damages for any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an employee by reason of the violation.
  • May be enjoined from further violations and ordered to provide other appropriate relief, including but not limited to the reinstatement of any employee discharged by reason of jury service.
  • Shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation, and may be ordered to perform community service.

Are juror fees reportable income?

The IRS considers juror attendance fees to be Other Income and must be reported. At the end of each year a 1099 MISC form will be mailed to all jurors who earn $600 or more in attendance fees in the calendar year. This applies only to the "attendance fee" and not for reimbursement for travel expenses (mileage, tolls, etc.).