A federal court jury is a group of men and women who will make a legally binding decision in a federal court case. In the United States, there are two main court systems: federal and state. Some cases can be exclusively heard in federal court, while others can be heard in either federal or state court. When a case is heard in federal court, the federal court jury will listen to the evidence and apply the law to the facts of the case, determining what it believes to be true based on the evidence presented and deciding on the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
In the United States, the Constitution guarantees individuals the right to a trial by a jury of their peers before they can be convicted of a crime or sent to prison. This is mandated under due process requirements in the Bill of Rights. The right to a trial by jury is usually also appropriate in civil cases, such as tort lawsuits where someone is sued by another private individual for monetary rewards. Federal appeals courts and the United States Supreme Court do not have juries, however, as cases in such courts are decided by judges.
The federal court jury is a jury for federal cases being heard for the first time on the federal level, as opposed to those cases that are appealed. Cases heard in federal court are those arising from federal questions. In other words, if a person is accused of breaking a federal criminal law, he will be tried in federal court. If a person is suing alleging a violation of his constitutional rights, or his cause-of-action otherwise arises from a federal law such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then he may have his case heard in federal court. Cases can also be heard in federal court based on diversity jurisdiction, which means that more than $10,000 US Dollars (USD) is being disputed and that the parties having the dispute are from different states.
The federal court jury is assembled from the list of acceptable jurors within the state where the federal court is located. The jurors must not be convicted felons and must be over the age of 18 years of age. The jurors will be questioned before being appointed to the federal court jury to ensure they can be fair and impartial and to ensure they can apply the law.