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Qualification Questionnaire

What if I received a jury qualification postcard or 2-sided black, white & red paper questionnaire and….

  1.  I want to know if this is legitimate.
    A: You may contact any U.S. District courthouse in 1 of our 5 divisions and ask about the postcard or form you have received.
     
  2. the person it is addressed to is deceased?
    A: Please go online and enter the participant’s information on eJuror and the first question is “ Are you this person?” Answer “No”, next question “Is this person deceased?” Answer “Yes”
    If replying on paper questionnaire, please indicate in writing in the “Remarks” section that this person is deceased as of D/O/D and sign and date the form and return it in the pre-paid envelope. 
     
  3. I’ve moved?
    A:  If on-line fill out your questionnaire with your new address and contact information, if it is out of state please select “Absent County”.  If by paper, please indicate in the “Remarks” section that you have a new address and what it is.  You still need to answer all the questions and submit the completed form back to the Court.
     
  4. the addressee doesn’t live here anymore? 
    A:  You can return the mail as un-deliverable or forward the mail to the addressee if that is information that you have.
     
  5. I am a convicted felon or have pending charges?
    A: You must answer all questions and submit your form. Questions 5-7 will specifically ask you about any current or prior criminal history. You may provide more information in the remarks section.
     
  6. I wish to be excused, but my situation is not listed under Question #14?
    A:  The only categories for excusal/disqualification at this time are listed under question 14.  If you do not meet the requirements for any of those categories, you may not be disqualified at this time.  You may however request an excuse from the Court if you are summoned for on-call service in the future.
     
  7. I received more than one, each with a different participant number?
    A: Pick one and follow the instructions and completely fill out all questions and submit to the court, then contact the Jury Administrator and report the duplicate participant number.
     
  8. I don’t own a computer/have wi-fi or internet service/don’t want to respond online?
    A: You may visit one of our four courthouses that are open to the public (Billings, Great Falls, Butte and Missoula) to complete the questionnaire online.  Otherwise, a paper questionnaire will be mailed to you upon your non-response.  Please wait 2-3 weeks for the 2nd mailing to arrive and then using a pencil fill in the circles on the questionnaire, answer all questions and mail back to the court.
     
  9. the return address is Billings, Montana.  Do I have to serve in Billings?
    A: No.  The Jury Administration is in our Billings office and all mailings come from and are returned and processed there.
     
  10. I qualify to be excused pursuant to question 14, do I still have to fill out the form?
    A: Yes, we cannot process a form unless it is completely and accurately filled out (unless the juror is deceased (see question #1))
     
  11. I accidentally used a pen instead of a pencil, what do I do?
    A: It’s fine, just make sure it is completely and accurately filled out, signed and dated and mail it back.
     
  12. I am a snowbird and not in Montana year-round?
    A.
    The court does not require this information at this stage.  If you are randomly selected to serve on a jury pool, the court will send you a summons 5-6 weeks prior to your potential service date.   If you receive a summons while you are away, contact the court and we will defer your service to a time you are back in Montana. If you return from being a snowbird or from a vacation and find an expired summons, please contact the court and we can defer your service with no consequences for the late response.
     
  13. My login criteria doesn't match the Court’s records.
    A. Make sure that the top of the login page states “District of Montana” next to the court seal. If you are on the correct website and continue to have issues, please contact the court at 406-247-7003.  Please note, Google Chrome does not work with eJuror, please try another browser.
     
  14. I have added text to the felony or medical question and  the system will not accept my answer.
    A. eJuror does not recognize certain characters. To enter dates use dashes instead of slashes (i.e. mm-dd-yyyy). The % character is not recognized either.  Please spell out the percentage when describing medical hardships such as hearing loss percentage.
     

Jury Selection

Can I request an excuse?

Judges grant deferrals or excuses for vacations, illness, or extreme hardships. Work related excuses, self employment or otherwise, do not constitute extreme hardships. Lack of auto transportation is not grounds for an excuse, except in areas where bus transportation does not exist. If you feel you must request a deferral or excuse from jury duty, please follow the instructions in your Summons.

What happens if I don't appear for jury duty?

28 U.S.C. § 1866(g) prescribes the following sanctions for noncompliance with a jury summons: the imposition of a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than three days, performance of community service, or any combination thereof.  In fairness to all jurors who do report, a failure to report will be immediately addressed by the court and additional time may also be added to your term of service.

How much will I get paid?

Attendance: $50 per day for attendance, including travel days. The attendance fee is taxable income; you should keep a record of this. Mileage and subsistence, however, are not taxable.

Travel: Mileage reimbursed at the prevailing rate. **Reimbursement for travel by any other means than private vehicle must be pre-approved.**

Lodging/Meals: Jurors who travel 50 miles or further will be paid the prevailing federal subsistence rate to cover the cost of lodging and meals.  (Refer to your summons for the prevailing rate.)  You must provide your original hotel receipt for overnight lodging.

When can I expect payment?

Please allow 4-6 weeks before you receive payment.

In the event you are called to serve during a lapse in appropriation (i.e., a government shutdown), payment of juror fees and reimbursement of expenses may be delayed.

How was I selected to serve?

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1861, all litigants "have the right to grand and petit jurors selected at random from a fair cross section of the community." This court uses a two-step process to select jurors. First, a master jury wheel is created by selecting names at random from a combined list of registered voters and licensed drivers in the District of Montana. Then, individuals whose names have been randomly drawn from the master jury wheel are sent qualification questionnaires. The Court reviews the answers of the questionnaires to determine whether individuals are qualified to serve. The names of those individuals deemed qualified are put on a second wheel, a qualified jury wheel. As prospective jurors are needed, the court randomly selects individuals from the qualified jury wheel to be summoned for jury duty. All of these selections are carried out through an electronic processing system programmed for pure randomized selection. The pure randomized process ensures that the mathematical odds of any single name being picked are substantially equal and that jurors represent a fair cross section of the community, without regard to race, gender, national origin, age or political affiliation.

Being summoned for jury service does not guarantee that an individual actually will serve on a jury. When a jury is needed for a trial, the group of qualified jurors is taken to the courtroom where the trial will take place. The judge and the attorneys then ask the potential jurors questions to determine their suitability to serve on the jury, a process called voir dire. The purpose of voir dire is to exclude from the jury people who may not be able to decide the case fairly. Members of the panel who know any person involved in the case, who have information about the case, or who may have strong prejudices about the people or issues involved in the case, typically will be excused by the judge. The attorneys also may exclude a certain number of jurors without giving a reason.

Please see US Court Jury Service for more information.

How are the divisions divided in Montana?

Below is a map of Montana showing the divisional boundaries for jurors:

 

What is a petit jury trial?

A civil petit jury is typically made up of 6 to 12 persons. In a civil case, the role of the jury is to listen to the evidence presented at a trial, to decide whether the defendant injured the plaintiff or otherwise failed to fulfill a legal duty to the plaintiff, and to determine what the compensation or penalty should be. A criminal petit jury is usually made up of 12 members. Criminal juries decide whether the defendant committed the crime as charged. The sentence usually is set by a judge. Verdicts in both civil and criminal cases must be unanimous, although the parties in a civil case may agree to a non-unanimous verdict. A jury's deliberations are conducted in private, out of sight and hearing of the judge, litigants, witnesses, and others in the courtroom. Please see Handbook for Trial Jurors for more information.

What is a grand jury?

A grand jury, which normally consists of 16 to 23 members, has a more specialized function. The United States attorney, the prosecutor in federal criminal cases, presents evidence, which the grand jury considers to determine whether there is "probable cause" to believe that an individual has committed a crime and should be put on trial. If the grand jury decides there is enough evidence, it will issue an indictment against the defendant. Grand jury proceedings are not open for public observation. Please see Handbook for Grand Jurors for more information.