Juror Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a petit jury?
A petit jury, also known as a trial jury, hears evidence during a civil or criminal trial and returns a verdict. It is generally composed of 6 to 12 citizens.
2. What is a grand jury?
A grand jury decides whether probable cause exists that a crime was committed, not whether a particular party is guilty or innocent. It is generally composed of 23 citizens.
3. What is the length of service for a juror?
Petit jurors are on call for approximately one month, but they will probably not be needed every day during that month.
Grand jurors serve for 18 months, convening one time each month.
4. What does "on call" mean?
"On call" means that prospective jurors will not be asked to report to the courthouse unless their names are randomly selected to serve on a jury. But jurors are expected to be available throughout the term of their service and to report when the court calls them.
5. Why is jury service required?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in certain cases. The jury must represent a cross-section of the community in order to prevent discrimination. For this reason, citizens will only be excused from serving on a jury for a few reasons.
6. How are citizens selected for service?
A computer randomly selects potential jurors based on the Nebraska driver's license, state identification card holders, and voter registration lists. Due to the random computerized selection process, some citizens' names may be selected several times, while other citizens' names may never be selected.
7. How do you determine where jurors will serve?
Grand jurors from throughout Nebraska report to the federal courthouse in Omaha. Petit jurors report to the federal courthouse in Omaha, Lincoln, or North Platte, depending on their county of permanent residence.
Jurors who reside in the following counties serve in Omaha:
Antelope Cuming Holt Sarpy Boone Dakota Knox Stanton Boyd Dixon Madison Thurston Burt Dodge Nance Washington Cedar Douglas Pierce Wayne Colfax Greeley Platte Wheeler
Jurors who reside in the following counties serve in Lincoln:
Adams Hamilton Merrick Richardson Butler Harlan Nemaha Saline Cass Howard Nuckolls Saunders Clay Jefferson Otoe Seward Fillmore Johnson Pawnee Thayer Franklin Kearney Phelps Webster Gage Lancaster Polk York Hall
Jurors who reside in the following counties serve in North Platte:
Arthur Dawes Hayes Morrill Banner Dawson Hitchcock Perkins Blaine Deuel Hooker Red Willow Box Butte Dundy Keith Rock Brown Frontier Keya Paha Scotts Bluff Buffalo Furnas Kimball Sheridan Chase Garden Lincoln Sherman Cherry Garfield Logan Sioux Cheyenne Gosper Loup Thomas Custer Grant McPherson Valley
8. Am I qualified to serve as a juror?
Every person is qualified unless he or she:
- Is not a citizen of the U.S.;
- Is under 18 years old;
- Has not lived in Nebraska for one year;
- Cannot read, write, and understand the English language well enough to fill out the juror qualification questionnaire;
- Cannot speak English;
- Is mentally or physically unable to serve on a jury; or
- Has pending felony charges or has been convicted of a felony and civil rights have not been restored.
9. What if I have a disability or need special accommodations?
The court will make every effort to accommodate jurors with disabilities or special needs. Please include your needs on the juror qualification questionnaire or notify the court in writing by e-mail, fax, or U.S. Mail. Be sure to include your telephone number because the jury clerk may need to discuss accommodations with you. You may request to be excused if you are disabled and jury service would be an undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.
10. Can my employer fire me for serving as a juror?
Federal statute 28 U.S.C. § 1875 states that, "[n]o employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States." An employer who violates the law may be subject to criminal and civil penalties. But this job protection does not include the loss of vacation time or other employment-related benefits. In addition, there is no federal statute requiring your employer to continue to pay you while you serve as a juror.