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Jury duty in district court

I'm up for jury duty in February in the district court in Alexandria.  (Yay - I've never been called before to any court.)  Anyone know what kind of jury cases the district court typically hears?  

DH was recently called up in Arlington, and it's interesting to compare the two courts.  Arlington has little lockers for phones and other prohibited electronics, so you can at least carry them with you to the court, and allows Kindles or other electronics that aren't really communication devices.  The district court bans anything electronic and doesn't seem to have lockers available...but it looks like they reimburse for parking costs (woot!) along with paying the per diem. 

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Re: Jury duty in district court

  • District courts hear both civil and criminal cases, just like state courts, although there are certain requirements to get into federal court. I don't know anything about how they jury selection works though. It should be interesting!

    Sucks about the lack of electronic devices though. I guess you have to bring a book.
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  • You can go to federal court for a variety of reasons, usually because the parties are located in completely different states, or because the type of law violated is federal, or because the suit is worth more than $75,000.

    That's really cool that you got called- I would love to have jury duty!

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  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get through security.

    The length of time you are required to serve may also differ from state court.  For example, if you are called for a grand jury can can be expected to serve for up to 18 months (usually 1 to 3 days per month).  Petit jurors (which actually hear trials) serve for up to 2 weeks unless they are selected for a trial that lasts longer.

    If you're not familiar - criminal grand juries differ from petit jurors (trial).  Grand juries hear evidence and determine whether there is enough evidence to bring an indictment (i.e., charge the person) instead of determing actual guilt or innocence.

    The court's website has a lot of helpful info.  http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/jury/jury-service.htm#howlong

    ETA: The ban on electronics went into place during the Moussaoui terrorist trial.  They get a lot more high profile cases that Arlington and several with national security implications, thus the electroncis ban.  But most federal courts will ban cell phones with cameras.  I once had a security guard tell me to leave my new $400 phone in the bushes, which apparently a lot of people were doing.

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  • The electronics ban is annoying and is stricter than any other federal court that I've ever been to.  It's been that way for many years.  They used to have lockers, but got rid of them before 2005.  The Westin and the little cafe next door will hold your phone if you take the metro, but if you're driving, just leave it in your case.

    It's a great court, though.  I know a lot about it for reasons I can't share on a public message board.  Does your summons say whether you're being called for a civil or criminal trial?   I would LOVE to sit on a federal jury.  And in Alexandria it will likely to be very interesting.  The judges run a tight ship and are not likely to waste your time.    

  • imagealliapistor:

    Leave yourself plenty of time to get through security.

    The length of time you are required to serve may also differ from state court.  For example, if you are called for a grand jury can can be expected to serve for up to 18 months (usually 1 to 3 days per month).  Petit jurors (which actually hear trials) serve for up to 2 weeks unless they are selected for a trial that lasts longer.

    If you're not familiar - criminal grand juries differ from petit jurors (trial).  Grand juries hear evidence and determine whether there is enough evidence to bring an indictment (i.e., charge the person) instead of determing actual guilt or innocence.

    The court's website has a lot of helpful info.  http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/jury/jury-service.htm#howlong

    ETA: The ban on electronics went into place during the Moussaoui terrorist trial.  They get a lot more high profile cases that Arlington and several with national security implications, thus the electroncis ban.  But most federal courts will ban cell phones with cameras.  I once had a security guard tell me to leave my new $400 phone in the bushes, which apparently a lot of people were doing.

    Thanks for the link - I'll check it out later.  It's just a petit jurors summons, so at least it's not going to be my life for all of 2012!  I knew the district court would get more high profile cases than Arlington, but the Moussaoui case makes sense why they would be so extra strict.  Once they put a practice into place, it never goes away.  (I often visit an independent federal agency still that won't let you bring an envelope into the building even unsealed because you might be carrying Anthrax.)

    imageimageimage
  • It was years ago, but I sat on a jury trial at the district court in Alexandria.  It was for a visitor who was accused of bringing pot into Lorton.  That shows you how long ago it was.
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  • I recieved notification and had to call a # most every night for 6 weeks but was never actually selected for jury duty. I was hoping I'd get to sit on the Petit jury but was never selected.

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