Serving on Jury Duty for the US District Court for the District of Columbia

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren PM

Dear PoPville,

I’ve been summoned for two weeks of Petit Jury Service for the US District Court for the District of Columbia. This is different than the one day jury duty at the DC Court.

What was your experience serving on jury duty for the District Court in DC? I have to call each night (or check the web) after 5pm to find out if I have to go the next day. I’m wondering how likely it is that I’ll have to go on any given day, and how long I have to stay each day (reporting time is 8AM, which is going to create some childcare hassles in my household). I’d also just love to hear what anyone else’s experience was like, so I know a little more what to expect.

We’ve spoken a bit about different types of jury duty here, here and here.

28 Comment

  • Had it about 2 years ago. Never had to actually report. In fact when I called the first day (or checked online, can’t recall) and was told they had already met their jury quota for the full two week period.

    I was suspicious of that, so I checked every day anyway, but the message never changed.

    • ah

      That was my experience as well a year or so ago, although I don’t recall receiving a message regarding no further need to call in.

  • I had this in July 2011 for a three week time period – only ended up having to go in twice and didn’t get called for a jury either time (though I sat through the selection process once). Of course, it was summer, so they may have been keeping the docket light.

    • Just an anecdote from the selection process – it was moving pretty quickly until the judge asked if anyone in the pool was “a lawyer, worked at a law firm, or related to a lawyer.” Being DC, about 90% of the group stood up….

  • I did this in May. I was called to report on the second day of my two weeks of service. I can say that the waiting room was nicer and the orientation videos of better quality than you get at DC Superior Court!

    I was selected for a jury, and it was much like serving on a DC Superior Court jury. The judge did provide us with coffee and danishes in the morning, though, which was a nice touch. Also, the cafeteria in that building is pretty good, with nice views of the Capitol!

    The trial lasted four days and after it concluded the jury office told us we didn’t need to call in for the rest of the two weeks of our jury service.

    • (I should also note that the DC Superior and US District courts keep separate juror lists, so jury duty on one won’t get you out of jury duty on another. I was on a DC Superior jury in August.)

  • I got called for this, and was selected for a pool. They asked lots of questions, and eliminated me. Too bad, because it was a cool case. However, even getting into the pool “counted” as serving for the purposes of not getting called again.

  • If it’s a case against a mob boss just act crazy and keep asking where’s the catering. They’ll likely dismiss you so you won’t have to buy a bullet proof car for the rest of your life. P.S. Never tweet anything about being on Jury Duty, Judges will smack you for doing so, and it helps the mob to find out who you are during cases for witness tampering… Plus side – There’s not much mob action in DC yet.

  • Like clockwork, I get called for this type of jury duty every two years. Once got selected for a really boring trial that lasted 10 days. It’s a hell of a lot better than that grand jury crap that lasts for months.

  • Spent over 4 months on a federal jury in 2011/2012. Four days a week, every week. Mind-numbing repetition that resulted in a grand total of 0 convictions in a case with 6 defendants.

    FWIW, the other jurors were pretty nice and it was interesting to hear stories from the senior citizens on the jury who have lived here their whole lives.

  • Better off that I am.. I was just summoned for 18 months of grand jury service at District Court. Ugh!

    • saf

      18 MONTHS? That’s gotta be a typo, right?

      • Not a typo! I’ve been serving since March, two days a week (though the summer was slow and we didn’t have to report on every single Tues/Thurs). But, my last day of service is Nov 23, 2013. Yes, that’s right, I’m not done with jury duty till Thanksgiving… Next year!

  • I did this a year ago. I had to report my 2nd day and ended up being selected for a jury that lasted for the entire period of my term (except for Fridays when the judge was not in session. I was suprised I was selected, since I am a securities lawyer and the case was about bank fraud. There were actually 2 guys who worked for the DOJ on the jury, too. The coffee and danishes in the morning were nice. The cafeteria was decent. And I was impressed by how thoughtful and interesting the other members of the jury were.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I am so jealous. I NEVER get jury duty and I WANT to do it. You hear that DC? I want jury duty, sign me up already! I’ve lived here 6 years, how long does a girl have to wait?

  • I was called for this service in August. I was on vacation for the second week of service, so they excused me for that, but I still had to check/report for the first week. I was called in two out of the five days that week and both days I went through jury selection. My impending vacation got me excused from both trials. One trial was expected to last 4 days, the other a couple weeks. For the first selection, they started around 9:30am and I was dismissed around 3:00pm, but jury selection still wasn’t done at that point. For the other, they started around 9am and I was dismissed at noon, but once again jury selection wasn’t done. If you’re called in, I wouldn’t count on being able to leave before 5pm and sometimes they will hold jurors longer than that to finish selection.

  • I’ve gotten that summons three times, and none of the times was I ever selected to even come in.

  • Thanks for posting the question, and thanks for all of your responses! I am comforted to know that there is a really good chance I won’t get called in every day.

  • WOW, EmmaLeigh–I became a resident of DC in October, and was called EXACTLTY 6 months from the day I got my driver’s license/registerd to vote.

  • My DC jury duty service went something like this: wake up, dress comfortably and sort of sloppily, go into court with book, sit in a room til 11am. Get called in for selection, tell them i work at a law firm, get told by the judge to say hello to xyz people, watch the crackhead shaking and rocking back and forth in the juror pool. Go to hooters for lunch, watch a dude fall and split his head open on the sidewalk. wait with him for the paramedics and almost miss my scheduled return time. Rush back to jury selection, get dismissed by the skin of my teeth, sit there jealous that the rocking, shaking crackhead got pulled onto the jury. Go home and drink and smile about missing a full day of work. the end.

  • 18 months?!? I thought grand jury duty was only supposed to last 5-6 weeks. That’s already a lot of interruption in your life, but a year an a half?!?

  • I was called the monday after labor day of this year. I was called in on the second week of my two week report day. The trial went a week and day. There were perks. A breakfast was provided every morning. Lunch was then provided during deliberation.

  • thebear

    I get called in for DC Superior Court jury duty every 2 years like clockwork. Never get picked for a jury, though. BTW, it’s 1 day or 1 trial…if you don’t get picked, it’s just that day and you’re gone until they summon you again. (Exception: If you get called in for voir dire late in the day and they don’t finish, you will have to return the next day for them to complete.)

    I’ve never been called down for District Court. I wonder why?

  • I just served 3 weeks on a murder trial for Superior Court. Mine was different, had to be there every day, but it was 10 to 4:45 if that is helpful. They seem to have pretty strict rules about how long everyone there can work.

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