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First Day - What to Expect?

Being summoned for jury duty can be intimidating.  Here is a preview of the first day:

  • You should plan to arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes before your reporting time.  The courthouse opens at 7:30 am.  A common mistake is going to the state courthouse, not the federal courthouse.  Be sure to check the address on your summons rather than relying on where you think the courthouse might be.
  • Please review the enclosed documentation included with your 'Notice to Appear' letter for parking instructions.
  • You cannot bring a cell phone or electronic device into the courthouse.  You will be asked to take your electronic device(s) back to your car if you bring one with you.
  • You should dress in courtroom-appropriate attire, akin to business or church attire.  You should bring a sweater or jacket because the courthouses can get very cold.  You should bring something to read during downtime.  Once the trial starts, certain reading material may be off-limits (the presiding judge will give you instructions on what you can and cannot read).  There are vending machines in the courthouses but no cafeterias.  There are refrigerators to store your own food, if you are selected as a juror.
  • Once you arrive, you will pass through a security checkpoint.  Have your identification and summons ready for review.  From the checkpoint, you will be directed to the jury assembly room.
  • In the jury assembly room, you will be greeted by a staff member and you will have an opportunity to ask questions after a brief orientation.
  • From the jury assembly room, you will be escorted to a courtroom to participate in jury selection.  Depending on the case, jury selection can last one to three hours.  At the end, you will either be excused from service or selected to serve on the jury.

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
How can I get proof of service to give to my employer?

During the check-in process you will have an opportunity to obtain an attendance certificate for your employer.  If you are selected as a juror, you will have an opportunity to request a certificate which will be provided at the end of the trial.

 

 

Jury-Employer and Employment Protection Jury FAQ
Is my employer obligated to pay me during jury service?

Prior to reporting, please check with your employer regarding their jury duty policy.  Such policies are entirely discretionary with employers; employers are not specifically obligated to continue juror's regular pay during jury service.

 

 

Jury-Employer and Employment Protection Jury FAQ
What if my employer does not want me to serve on a jury?

In accordance with Title 28, U.S.C. § 1875, "no employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service... in any court of the United States."  If the employer violates this law, he/she may be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation and shall be liable for damages for any loss of wages or other benefits suffered by an employee.  Jury service is a citizen's obligation, and the employer has to provide the employee with the time to serve.

 

 

Jury-Employer and Employment Protection Jury FAQ
Will I be paid for jury service?

Yes.  Jurors receive $50 per day for jury service.  If applicable, you will also be reimbursed for mileage and per diem.

 

 

Jury-Jury Fees & Expenses Jury FAQ
Can I bring a family member or friend with me?

Yes, it is acceptable to be accompanied by a family member or friend.  They may sit in the back of the courtroom during jury selection, however, they should not sit among the other prospective jurors.  Please remember to follow the judge's instructions about not discussing the court proceedings with family members or friends during breaks.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
How long is the typical jury day and will there be breaks?

A normal jury day will begin between 8:00 and 9:00 am and will end at either 2:30 or 5:00 pm.  Once the jury is in deliberation, the times may vary.

Yes, there will be breaks during the trial.  Depending on the trial judge, the trial schedule will run from 9:00 - 5:00 with 2-15 minute breaks and an hour lunch or the trial will run from 8:30 to 2:30 with 2-20 minute breaks and no lunch.

Occasionally, a trial will extend past 5:00 pm in order, for example, to complete a line of testimony.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
How long will the trial last?

The length of each trial depends on the complexity of the case.  Generally, trials last between three and four days.  The judge will inform prospective jurors during jury selection as to the anticipated length of trial.  If you have a serious conflict with serving during the dates of trial, it is imperative that you inform the judge during jury selection.  The trial may begin immediately after jury selection, so please plan accordingly.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
Can I bring my children with me?

Please do not bring children to the courthouse.  Childcare is not provided.

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
What if I do not have transportation?

You are responsible for providing your own transportation to the courthouse.  If you cannot drive yourself, you should arrange to take a bus or alternate transportation.  You may call the jury office to inquire about carpool arrangements.  Jurors reporting to Cedar Rapids should call (319) 286-2314.  Jurors reporting to Sioux City should call (712) 233-3936.  If arrangements cannot be made, you may submit a written request to be excused for the court's review.

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
Where should I park?

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
How do I get to the courthouse?

Cedar Rapids Courthouse Driving Directions

Sioux City Courthouse Driving Directions

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
Are electronic devices (cell phones) allowed in the courthouse?

No, cellphones and similar electronic devices are not allowed in the courthouse.  You will not be allowed to enter the building if you bring one with you and will be asked to take it back to your vehicle.

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
Why must I call or check online the night before my scheduled appearance?

The court's schedule may change at the last minute because a trial may settle or be rescheduled.  To insure the court utilizes your time properly, we ask that you call the Automated Jury Information System (AJIS) at (319) 286-2302 for Cedar Rapids or (712) 233-8912 for Sioux City after 4:30 pm the evening before your scheduled appearance.  If your appearance is canceled, you may receive another written notice of a future appearance date during your term of service.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I cannot respond to the jury questionnaire/summons within 5 days?

The court understands if you are out of town or have other circumstances that may slow your response time.  We ask you to return the questionnaire/summons at the soonest date possible.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I do not have a return addressed envelope?

You may return it to the court by addressing it to:

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa

111 Seventh Avenue SE, Box 12

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401

or

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa

320 Sixth Street, Room 301

Sioux City, Iowa 51101

 

 

 

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
How many federal judicial districts are there?

There are 94 federal judicial districts.  Iowa has two federal judicial districts: the Northern District of Iowa and the Southern District of Iowa.  See 28 U.S.C. § 95.  The 94 federal judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a court of appeals.  The Northern District of Iowa is included in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The number of federal judgeships authorized for each federal district is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 133.  The Northern District of Iowa has two judgeships.  The number of judgeships authorized for each circuit is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 44.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has 11 judgeships.  

 

 

Court-Federal Courts Courthouse FAQ
What are the requirements for becoming a federal judge?

The Constitution sets forth no specific requirements for federal judges. However, members of Congress, who typically recommend potential nominees, and the Department of Justice, which reviews nominees' qualifications, have developed their own informal criteria.

 

Court-Judges Courthouse FAQ
Who appoints federal judges?

Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as stated in the Constitution. The names of potential nominees are often recommended by senators or sometimes members of the House who are of the President's political party. The Senate Judiciary Committee typically conducts confirmation hearings for each nominee. Article III of the Constitution states that these judicial officers are appointed for a life term. The federal Judiciary, the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts play no role in the nomination and confirmation process.

 

Court-Judges Courthouse FAQ
When will the court reach a decision in my case?

Most cases are handled in an expeditious manner. The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 establishes standard time requirements for the timely prosecution and disposition of criminal cases in district courts. There is no similar law governing civil trial scheduling, and as a result, the scheduling of criminal cases is assigned a higher priority.  In 1990, Congress enacted legislation that directs each district court to devise and adopt a civil expense and delay reduction plan. One goal established under the legislation is for each civil case to be scheduled for trial within 18 months of filing the complaint.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Documents/Copies Filing without an attorney FAQ
How are federal judges assigned to cases?

The basic considerations in making assignments are to assure equitable distribution of caseload and avoid judge shopping. By statute, the chief judge of each district court has the responsibility to enforce the court's rules and orders on case assignments. Each court has a written plan or system for assigning cases. The majority of courts use some variation of a random drawing. One simple method is to rotate the names of available judges. At times, judges having special expertise can be assigned cases by type, such as complex criminal cases, asbestos-related cases, or prisoner cases. The benefit of this system is that it takes advantage of the expertise developed by judges in certain areas. Sometimes cases may be assigned based on geographical considerations. For example, in a large geographical area, it may be best to assign a case to a judge located at the site where the case was filed. Courts also have a system to check if there is any conflict that would make it improper for a judge to preside over a particular case.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
How do I get a summons to serve with my complaint?

If you have paid the required filing fee when you submitted your complaint, the court will issue a summons and send it to you. 

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Documents/Copies Filing without an attorney FAQ
Will the court appoint an attorney to represent me?

In a civil proceeding the court does not have to appoint counsel to represent you, and in most cases, it does not appoint counsel. However, you can ask the court to appoint counsel by filing a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. If you file a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, you must still proceed with your case by representing yourself; you cannot wait for the court to make a decision on your motion.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Legal Representation Filing without an attorney FAQ
How do I let a party know that I have filed a civil action in which the party is named?

Once your complaint is filed and you have paid the required filing fee, you will need to have a copy of the complaint delivered to each person you have named as a defendant. The way in which a copy of the complaint is delivered to the defendant(s) is called "service". The Clerk's Office can provide assistance on how to do this. If you did not pay the required filing fee, the court will review your Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and decide if you can proceed without paying the filing fee. The court will also review your complaint to determine whether a copy of the complaint should be delivered to the defendant(s). If the court decides that you do not have to pay the filing fee and determines that the complaint should be delivered to the defendant(s), the court will direct how service will be effected.  Typically, the court directs the Clerk's Office to serve the defendant(s).

 

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I add claims to my complaint after I have filed it?

It depends on several factors.  Amended and supplemental pleadings are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

 

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
What is a NEF?

NEF is an acronym for Notice of Electronic Filing.  An NEF contains:

  • Case Number
  • Case Title
  • Date and time the document was filed
  • The docket number of the document that was filed
  • The docket text for that filing
  • A list of parties who were served electronically

You will receive a copy of a NEF with each filing you send or bring to the court.  Each time the court files a document in your case you will receive a copy of that court-filed document and a NEF. 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can someone from the Clerk's Office tell me before I file my case whether or not the court will grant me permission to proceed without paying the filing fee?

No, a judge must review your Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and determine whether you are able to file the filing fee.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
How many copies of a document do I need to file?

Only the original signed document must be submitted to the Clerk's Office.  If you wish to receive a copy back, you must include a copy with your original filing.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
How long does a defendant have to serve a pleading that responds to a plaintiff's complaint?

The time to serve a responsive pleading is governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
What is a certificate of service?

Each document that you file with the court must contain your signature and a certificate of service. A certificate of service indicates to the court that you have delivered a copy of the document to the other parties. The certificate of service states the name and address of the attorney or party served with the document, the manner of service, and the date of service.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Documents/Copies Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can personnel from the Clerk's Office answer legal questions?

No, personnel from the Clerk's Office are not permitted to give legal advice. Nobody can:

  • Explain the meaning of rules;
  • Answer questions as to whether this is the proper court in which to file your complaint;
  • Comment on your case;
  • Recommend how you should proceed;
  • Predict a decision a judicial officer might make;
  • Answer questions to how much time you have to file a complaint; and
  • Interpret an order of the court.

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Legal Representation Filing without an attorney FAQ
Where can I find legal materials such as case law and the Federal and Local Rules?

You may find legal materials at local law libraries and public libraries. You can find links to the Federal Rules and Local Rules on the home page.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Legal Representation Filing without an attorney FAQ
Why has a magistrate judge been assigned to my case?

Magistrate judges are judicial officers appointed by the court to assist in the work of the court. They can also decide civil cases when both parties agree to have the case heard by a magistrate judge instead of a district judge. A form that gives the parties the option to have their case heard by a magistrate judge is provided by the Clerk's Office.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Court Proceedings Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file a criminal case against someone?

No, you may not file a criminal case against anyone. The United State's Attorney's office is responsibile for filing federal criminal cases. Allegations of criminal behavior should be brought to the attention of the local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or another law enforcement agency.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I get a copy of the court's Local Rules?

Yes,  the Local Rules are available here:

Local Rules

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Documents/Copies Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file electronically?

Unless you are an attorney, you may not file using the court's CM/ECF system. Your documents should be submitted via U.S. mail or delivered in person to the Clerk's Office. 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
What type of civil action can be filed in the Northern District of Iowa?

A federal district court can only hear certain types of cases. Generally, only civil cases that involve diversity of citizenship (parties in the case live in different states and the amount in controversy is greater than $75,000), a federal question (lawsuits that have been authorized by Congress), or have the United States as a party can be filed in the Northern District of Iowa. 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file a case on my own behalf?

Yes, a case is commenced by filing a complaint and paying the required filing fee. You should refer to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this court's Local Rules for information about the proper form of your complaint. The court requires a Civil Cover Sheet to be submitted with your complaint.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file a case on my own behalf? Common FAQ
How long will it take the court to determine if I can proceed without paying the filing fee?

Usually between 30 and 60 days.  The court will notify you in a written order after it decides whether your Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis should be granted or denied.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Financial Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I pay the required filing fee in installments?

No, the entire filing fee must be paid or you must file an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Financial Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file a case without paying the required filing fee?

It is possible that the filing fee may be waived for your matter. You must submit to the court an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis that discloses your income and other financial information. 

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
Can I file a case on my own behalf without an attorney?

Yes, filing a case on your own without an attorney is referred to as filing "Pro Se".  You should be aware that if you proceed pro se, you will be required to follow the same rules as an attorney.

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
How do I get copies of documents in my case?
Copies can be requested by contacting the Clerk's Office at:
Cedar Rapids:  (319) 286-2300
Sioux City:  (712) 233-3900
 
A written request may be sent to:
 
U.S. District Court
Northern District of Iowa
111 7th Avenue SE, Box 12
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
 
or
 
U.S. District Court
Northern District of Iowa
320 6th Street
Room 310
Sioux City, Iowa 51101
 
Please provide the case name, case number and the docket number of the documents you are requesting.  There is a fee of $ .50 cents per page, per document. The Clerk's Office will inform you of the total cost for the copies. Once payment is received by the Clerk's Office, the copies will be forwarded to you.

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Documents/Copies Filing without an attorney FAQ
How can I check on the status of my case if I do not have an attorney?
You may contact the Clerk's Office at:
 
Cedar Rapids: (319) 286-2300
Sioux City: (712) 233-3900

You should have your case number ready to provide. If you do not have your case number, the case can be identified by the name of a party in the case. 

You may also contact the Clerk's Office in writing at:

U.S. District Court
Northern District of Iowa
111 7th Avenue SE, Box 12
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
or
U.S. District Court
Northern District of Iowa
320 6th Street
Room 301
Sioux City, Iowa 51101

 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Filing Filing without an attorney FAQ
How do I get a refund if my credit card is charged twice for a filing?

If it has been determined that a duplicate payment was made through pay.gov, a Clerk's Office cashier will notify counsel. Counsel will request a refund in writing to the Clerk of Court on firm letterhead.  This request should include:

1.  A summary of why you are requesting the refund;
2.  Name on the credit card used;
3.  Type of credit card;
4.  Last 4 digits of the credit card number;
5.  The receipt number and date paid;
6.  The case number; and 
7.  The dollar amount

The letter can be emailed to:  ecfmail@iand.uscourts.gov

or mailed to:

U.S. District Courthouse
Clerk's Office
111 7th Avenue SE, Box 12
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401-2101
 
or faxed to:

(319) 286-2301

Once approval is granted by the Clerk of Court, a cashier will process a refund through pay.gov. A staff note will be docketed in the particular case once a refund has been issued.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What if the jury mail is addressed to a person who is:

No longer living at this address?

If you can provide an updated/current address, please write the new address and return it to the court.  If you do not know the person or do not have a forwarding address, please write "Return to Sender" and return it to the court.

 

Deceased?

Please write "Deceased" on the envelope and return it to the court.

 

Is a student or in the military?

If the person is a student (in or out of state) and still has a permanent address in the Northern District of Iowa, they are still qualified to serve.  The student or military member may complete the questionnaire/summons online, or a parent/guardian may complete the form on their behalf, sign and date the document and return it to the court.

 

 

No longer lives in the Northern District of Iowa?

Please provide the updated/current address on the envelope and return it to the court.  We will remove the name from our list of potential jurors.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I have a scheduled appointment or vacation?

Upon receiving a Summons for Jury Service, you will be instructed to inform the court of any dates you will be unavailable during your term of service.  The court will honor any reasonable request.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I am over 70 years of age?

Upon request, you may be excused from jury service if you are over 70 years of age and do not wish to serve.  No additional documentation is required.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from serving?

You may be excused from jury service for a medical condition if you submit a current statement from your doctor indicating you are unable to serve as a juror.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What happens if I don't report for jury duty?

Any juror who fails to report for jury duty may be served by the U.S. Marshal's Service with an Order to Show Cause.  Jurors who fail to show adequate cause for their absence from jury duty can be held in contempt of court under the Jury Selection Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1966(g).  Penalties range from a fine of $100 to three days in jail or both.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What if I am called for grand jury?

The grand jury is different from the trial jury (also known as the petit jury).  The terms and purposes of service are different.  Citizens called for grand jury duty should contact the jury administrator at (319) 286-2314 with specific questions.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
Who is exempt from jury service?

1. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States who are on active duty.

2. Members of any governmental police or fire department (not including volunteer or non-governmental departments).

3. Elected public officials of the federal, state and local government, who are actively engaged in the full-time performance of public duties; or persons directly appointed by an elected official.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
Will I be called again for jury service?

If you appear for jury service and are not selected, the chance of being called again during your term of service is possible and you may be called to appear more than once.  The court makes every effort to minimize numerous appearances and tries to utilize your time properly.  Once your term of service is over or you have served on a trial, you will not be called for federal jury service for 2 years.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
How many people are selected for jury service?

The number of jurors selected depends on the type of case.  For a civil trial, six to eight jurors may be selected.  For a criminal trial, twelve to fourteen jurors may be selected.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
What happens during the jury selection process?

Once you are seated in the courtroom, the judge will inform you about the case and introduce the lawyers and others involved.  You will also take an oath in which you will promise to answer all questions truthfully.  After you are sworn in, you will begin a questioning process called voir dire, which means "to speak the truth".  During voir dire, the judge and counsel will ask the potential jurors questions to determine if anyone has prior knowledge of the case, if anyone knows the parties, if any potential jurors have a personal interest in the case or have any feelings that may make it hard as a juror to be impartial.  Though some of the questions may seem personal, please answer them completely and honestly.  Questions can be answered privately by requesting that your answer be provided at side-bar.

Remember: questions are not asked to be embarrassing and are intended to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences which may prevent anyone from making an impartial decision.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
How long does jury selection take?

Generally, if prospective jurors report prior to 9:00 am, jury selection is completed by noon.  The completion of jury selection may vary depending on the complexity of the case.

 

 

Jury-First Day - What to Expect Jury FAQ
Why should I serve as a juror?

Anyone who is involved in a civil dispute or accused of a crime has a consitutional right to have a jury decide their case.  As a juror, you fulfill a civic obligation and help make important decisions affecting people's lives and issues that concern your community.  Jurors who have previously served have expressed how interesting and important their experience was and their willingness to serve again in the future.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What are the qualifications to serve as a federal juror?

Who is qualified to serve as a juror?

A person is deemed qualified to serve as a juror UNLESS the person:

  1. is not a United States citizen;
  2. is not 18 years of age or older;
  3. has not resided in the Northern District of Iowa for the past year;
  4. is unable to read, write, speak or understand the English language;
  5. is incapable, because of mental or physical infirmity, to render satisfactory jury service; or
  6. has a charge pending for the commission of, or has been convicted in a state or federal court of record of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and whose civil rights have not been restored.

Who is exempt from jury service?

  1. Members in the Armed Forces of the United States who are on active duty;
  2. Members of any governmental police or fire department (not including volunteer or non-governmental departments); or
  3. Elected public officials of the federal, state or local government, who are actively engaged in the full-time performance of public duties; or persons directly appointed by an elected official.

Who may be excused from jury service?

Upon written request, individuals may be excused for the following reasons:

  1. Over age 70;
  2. Persons who have served as a federal juror within the last 2 years; or
  3. A person who serves without compensation as a volunteer firefighter or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for a federal, state or local government agency.

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
Do I need to register in the court's CM/ECF system if I was previously registered for another case in the district?

No, your CM/ECF account may be used in all of your cases in this district.  Only one account is necessary.

If you forgot your login and/or password, please contact the Clerk's Office in Cedar Rapids at (319) 286-2300 or in Sioux City at (712) 233-3900.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
Does the court redact filings containing personal information or identifiers?

No, it is the filer's responsibility to redact personal or private information in a filing. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What do I put in the client code section of the login screen?

The client code section of the login screen is optional. Information in this section is not used by the court. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What happens if I do not pay the annual admission fee?

If you do not pay the required annual admission fee for the Northern District of Iowa, you will be suspended until payment is received.

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
Do I need to name all of the attachments to a document?

Yes, all documents should have a descriptive name. You may either chose a name from the drop down menu or manually type in the name of the document in the open text box provided. It is NOT necessary to chose an item from the drop down menu and put text in the open text box. 

To avoid duplicative text, please be sure to read your text before completing the transaction. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What do I do if my document is too large for the court's CM/ECF system?

A document may be broken down into sections.  For example, the main document may consist of the first 50 pages, the first attachment may consist of the next 50 pages and subsequent attachments may consist of a similar number of pages until the entire document is included in the entry.  Each section should be labeled correctly.  For example, the main document could be named Brief, the first attachment could be named Brief Part 2 and the second attachment could be named Brief Part 3.  Please remember that not all documents scan the same.  You may be able to scan 150 pages and stay within the 15 mb limit.  Whereas, if a document includes graphs and pictures, you may only be able to scan 60 pages and stay within the 15 mb limit.  To make sure you are within the 15 mb limit, you should check the size of your scanned documents prior to docketing.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What is the size limit of each document that I can file in court's CM/ECF system?

Each document must be 15 mbs or less.

Scan (or print to pdf) each document separately and save it on your system.

Go back to that directory and right click on the document.

Click properties. The screen will show you the size of your document. If the document is within the 15 mb limit, you may attach it to your entry.

If the document is larger than the 15 mb limit, you will need to break the document down into separate documents before attaching them in your entry.

 

 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
Can an attorney who has not appeared in a case file a document for another attorney that has appeared in the case?

No, unless the attorney who has not appeared files a Notice of Appearance in the case. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
If I am admitted in the Northern District of Iowa, do I need to be admitted separately in the Southern District of Iowa to practice in both districts?

Yes. The Northern District of Iowa and Southern District of Iowa have separate admission processes and CM/ECF systems.

To practice in the Northern District of Iowa and Southern District of Iowa, an attorney must be admitted in both districts and register in each district's CM/ECF system. 

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
Does bankruptcy court require separate admission?

Yes, for additional information on bankruptcy court admission requirements, please visit: http://www.ianb.uscourts.gov or call (319) 286-2200.

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
Does the notary who signs my petition for admission need to be from Iowa?

No, the notary can be from any state. 

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
Who may approve my petition for admission?

A Federal Judge (including a Federal District Court Judge, Federal Magistrate Judge, or Federal Bankruptcy Judge), a Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, a Judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals, or a Judge of the District Court of Iowa may approve an attorney application.  An application cannot be approved by a State Associate District Judge or State Magistrate Judge.

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
How do I get a copy of my plea agreement?

If you are unable to come to either the Cedar Rapids courthouse or the Sioux City courthouse, you must submit a written request to the Clerk's Office.  Upon receipt of your written request, the Clerk's Office will send you a letter that informs you how much a copy of your plea agreement will cost.  After the Clerk's Office receives payment in the exact amount, a copy of your plea agreement will be mailed to you.

A copy of your plea agreement may be requested in person from the Clerk's Office.  You must provide a photo I.D.  Immediate payment is required.  You may pay with cash, check or money order.  The Clerk's Office is unable to make change if you decide to pay with cash; you must have the exact amount for a copy of your plea agreement.

 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
How do I get a balance on my restitution?

Your criminal restitution balance can be obtained from the Monetary Penalty Unit (MPU) in the Cedar Rapids United States Attorney's Office at (319) 363-6333.

 

 

Court-Financial Courthouse FAQ
What is the significance of the numbers and letters in my case number?

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
Can I access cases in other federal judicial districts from the courthouses in the Northern District of Iowa?

No, you need to visit a public terminal that corresponds with the federal judicial district where the case was filed or obtain a PACER account from PACER.gov

 

 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
What is the Criminal Justice Act?

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees an accused the right to representation by counsel in serious criminal prosecutions. Enacted in 1964, the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) establishes a comprehensive system for appointing and compensating legal representation for accused persons who are financially unable to retain counsel in federal criminal proceedings.

Link to: Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Guidelines

To find out who is on Iowa Northern's CJA Panel, please contact the CJA Panel Administrator:
 
Cedar Rapids (319) 286-2300
Sioux City (712) 233-3900
 
 
 
Court-Federal Courts Courthouse FAQ
How are federal judges assigned to cases?

The basic considerations in making assignments are to assure equitable distribution of caseload and avoid judge shopping. By statute, the chief judge of each district court has the responsibility to enforce the court's rules and orders on case assignments. Each court has a written plan or system for assigning cases. The majority of courts use some variation of a random drawing. One simple method is to rotate the names of available judges. At times, judges having special expertise can be assigned cases by type, such as complex criminal cases, asbestos-related cases, or prisoner cases. The benefit of this system is that it takes advantage of the expertise developed by judges in certain areas. Sometimes cases may be assigned based on geographical considerations. For example, in a large geographical area it may be best to assign a case to a judge located at the site where the case was filed. Courts also have a system to check if there is any conflict that would make it improper for a judge to preside over a particular case. 

 

 

Court-Judges Courthouse FAQ
Can I speak to a federal judge?

Generally speaking, all communication with a federal judge should be in writing.  Ex parte communications are permitted only when legally and ethically appropriate.

 

 

Court-Judges Courthouse FAQ
May I obtain surety in lieu of paying bond?

Bonds requiring the posting of personal or real property, other than cash, will be accepted for a surety bond only upon order of the court.  The court will specify the personal or real property required to be posted by the party.  

The surety company must be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Link to: List of Certified Companies.

 

 

Court-Financial Courthouse FAQ
Can I obtain another Certificate of Naturalization?

If you need a Certificate of Naturalization, you may request a replacement by filing form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. You may request Form N-565 by calling the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Forms Line (800) 870-3676 or download via link.

Link to: N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
Can I make criminal debt payments online or over the phone?

Currently, the court does not accept payments online or over the telephone.

 

 

Court-Financial Courthouse FAQ
How do I get a certified copy of a document?

You may request a certified copy of a document from the Clerk's Office. There is a fee of $11.00 for the certification of each document, as well as a copy fee of $.50 cents per page. The Clerk's Office must receive full payment before a certified copy of a document is provided.  

 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
Can I obtain a copy of a sealed document?

If you are not a party, the Clerk's Office does not have the authority to provide a copy of a sealed document to you. 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
How should checks or money orders be made payable?

Any negotiable instrument presented to the court should be made payable to:  Clerk, U.S. District Court.

Link to: Fee Schedule

 

 

Court-Financial Courthouse FAQ
How can I find an attorney?
The Clerk's Office cannot provide you with the name of an attorney.  Attorneys/firms frequently maintain websites that indicate federal and/or state practice areas.  You may search for an attorney through the Iowa State Bar Association's 'Find-A-Lawyer Service' at: https://www.iowafindalawyer.com/.
In Iowa, there are limited resources and programs available to provide free legal assistance:
 
 
Iowa Legal Aid
Toll-free Phone: (800) 532-1275

 

University of Iowa Clinical Law Program
380 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1113
email: law-legal-clinic@uiowa.edu
Phone: (319) 335-9030
Toll-free Phone: (866) 251-5491

 

Drake University Legal Clinic
2400 University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Phone: (515) 271-3851
 
 

 

 

Filing Without an Attorney-Legal Representation Filing without an attorney FAQ
What case records are available at the courthouses in the Northern District of Iowa?

In Cedar Rapids and Sioux City, there is a public terminal available in the Clerk's Office.  You may look up cases that are on our electronic system. Sealed documents in a case are not available.  Cases prior to 2004 may not be on the court's electronic system. There may be cases that are partially available in electronic format. Cases not available in electronic format may be archived at the National Records Center. Please note that, in 2008, the Cedar Rapids courthouse was flooded and records were destroyed.  The Clerk's Office no longer has documentation available for those cases (Flood Files).

You may contact the Clerk's Office to see if the file you are seeking is available electronically, is located at the National Records Center, or has been designated a Flood File.  You may also request information from the National Records Center.

 

 

Court-Cases/Documents/Copies Courthouse FAQ
What can I do if my login and password do not work?

If you are unable to log into the CM/ECF system you may contact the Clerk's Office or complete the  CM/ECF Online Password Reset Form.

Cedar Rapids Clerk's Office: (319) 286-2300

Sioux City Clerk's Office: (712) 233-3900

 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
Why do I lose access to the CM/ECF system after connecting?

The most common reason is your internet connection.  Other possibilities include: scheduled maintenance of the CM/ECF system, server issues, and being timed-out.  Please call the Clerk’s Office to inquire about the status of the CM/ECF system if you are experiencing issues.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
How do I get documents filed when there is an outage that affects the CM/ECF system and I have a deadline to meet?

Jurisdictional Filing Deadline:

Some deadlines in the Federal Rules of Civil, Criminal, and Appellate Procedure are jurisdictional and cannot be extended. (See, e.g., Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(2)). It is the filer’s responsibility to ensure, by whatever means necessary, that a document is filed timely to comply with jurisdictional deadlines. A technical failure, including a failure of the CM/ECF system, will not excuse the filer from compliance with a jurisdictional deadline.

 

Non-jurisdictional Filing Deadline:

If a filer is unable to meet a nonjurisdictional filing deadline because of a technical failure, the filer must file the document using the earliest available electronic or non-electronic means. The filing of the document will be accepted by the court as timely unless the presiding judge determines that the untimely filing of the document should not be excused.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
Who do I contact if I am having trouble logging into PACER?

PACER is affiliated with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  The Clerk's Office is unable to assist you if you experience issues when logging into PACER.  Please contact the PACER Service Center: call (800) 676-6856 or e-mail: pacer@psc.uscourts.gov.

 

 

Attorney-PACER Attorney FAQ
Where do I send a document if I am requesting permission from the court to file it under seal?

After you have filed your motion to seal, you should email your docment to: ecfmail@iand.uscourts.gov. Upon receipt of the document, the Clerk's Office will forward the document to the appropriate judge for review.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What can I do if the CM/ECF system is down?

If you have a document that needs to be filed, you may contact the Clerk's Office for further instructions.

If you are located in or near Cedar Rapids or Sioux City, you may take the document to the courthouse for filing. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
How do I seek admission Pro Hac Vice?

Local Rule 83(d)(3) and (4)

To be admitted Pro Hac Vice, a lawyer must:

  1. Have local counsel;
  2. File a Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice and attach a Certificate of Good Standing to such motion;
  3. Pay the $100 Pro Hac Vice fee; and
  4. Register with the Northern District of Iowa's CM/ECF system.

 

 

 

 

Attorney-Admission Attorney FAQ
How do I register for the CM/ECF system?

If you are an attorney in good standing/have been admitted pro hac vice, complete the CM/ECF Online Registration Form.

When a login and password are assigned to you, you will receive an email with the information from the Clerk's Office.

It is not necessary to register each time you appear in a case.  It is not necessary to re-register if you have changed firms or locations. You can update the information on your account to reflect the necessary changes.

Do not re-register if you have forgotten your login and/or password. Please contact the Clerk's Office at (319) 286-2300 to request information regarding your login and/or password.

You may also complete and submit the CM/ECF Online Password Reset Form.

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
Can anyone register with the court's CM/ECF system?

Only attorneys can register and use the CM/ECF system.

The exception:  If a non-attorney individual motions the court for permission to use the CM/ECF filing system, and a judge grants that motion, the Clerk's Office would provide a login and password to that individual. When the case is completed, that access would be revoked.

Common FAQ
How do I file a proposed order?

All proposed documents should be emailed to: ecfmail@iand.uscourts.gov.

You should provide the court with a pdf version of the document and a Word version, if applicable.

The Clerk's Office will forward the document to the appropriate chambers for review. 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
How do I get my name removed from a case I am no longer an active participant in?

A motion to withdraw should be filed in the case.

 

 

Attorney-ECF Registration/Account Attorney FAQ
How do I update my CM/ECF account information, i.e. address, email?
  • Log in to your CM/ECF account.
  • Go to Utilities on the blue toolbar.
  • Click on 'Maintain Your Account'.
  • You can update your firm, address and telephone number on the first screen that appears.
  • Click on the 'Email Information' tab at the bottom to update your email or add an email address. When you have finished updating the email information, click 'Return to Personal Information Screen' (***do not click the back button***).
  • To change your login/password, click on the 'More User Information' button. After you have updated your login/password, click 'Return to Account Screen' (***do not click the back button***).
  • After you have finished with your changes, click the 'Submit' at the bottom of the screen.
  • A new screen will appear, you must click the second 'Submit' button at the top. If you do not click the second 'Submit' button, your changes will not take affect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-FilingFAQ
What if the weather is bad?

United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa's Weather Plan for Federal Jurors

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
What happens if I am late for jury service?

It is very important that you arrive on time.  If you are unavoidably delayed, please call the jury office immediately.  Jurors reporting in Cedar Rapids should call (319) 286-2314.  Jurors reporting in Sioux City should call (712) 233-3936.  The trial cannot begin until all jurors are present.

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
What if I am sick or have an emergency and cannot report as instructed?

If an emergency occurs such as a sudden illness, accident or death in the family, please contact the jury office immediately.  Jurors reporting in Cedar Rapids should call (319) 286-2314.  Jurors reporting in Sioux City should call (712) 233-3936.  You will be asked to submit in writing a letter explaining why you were unable to appear for jury service for the court to review.  If necessary, further documentation may be required.

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
What should I do after completing the Juror Qualification Questionnaire?

There is nothing further you need to do at this time.  Every two years, the court refills its jury wheel and mails approximately 22,000 qualification questionnaires.  The mailing originates from Cedar Rapids, however, depending on the county or residence, prospective jurors will report in either Cedar Rapids or Sioux City.  The answers provided in the juror qualification questionnaire determines who is qualified to serve as a juror.  If your name is randomly drawn from our jury wheel, a Summons for Jury Service will be mailed to you.  It is not guaranteed that you will receive a summons for an upcoming appearance.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
When should I report for jury service?

When your appearance is required, you will receive a 'Notice to Appear' letter in the mail, approximately two weeks prior to your appearance date.  Upon receiving the 'Notice to Appear' letter, you may call our Automated Jury Information System (AJIS) at (319) 286-2302 for Cedar Rapids or (712) 233-8912 for Sioux City to verify your current reporting status.  You will need your nine digit participant number, which is located on your summons and in the body of your 'Notice to Appear' letter.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
How was I selected to be a juror?

Your name was randomly selected from the certified list of registered voters, driver's licenses and state issued IDs obtained by the court from the State of Iowa.  Before potential jurors are summoned for service, their names are randomly selected and a juror questionnaire is mailed.  The juror questionnaire determines whether or not you met the legal qualifications for jury service. Individuals who receive questionnaires are required to complete and return the form to the Clerk's Office within 10 days, who then screens the completed questionnaire to determing eligibility for service.  For your convenience, this questionnaire can be filled out on this website by clicking eJuror.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
Do I still have to serve if I already served or have been called to serve in the state court?

Yes.  State and federal courts operate separately from one another; so your service in one court does not satisfy your obligation to the other.  However, if you are called to appear on the same date, you must appear for federal court jury duty and notify the state court of the conflict.

 

 

Jury-Juror Qualification Jury FAQ
What should I wear and what should I bring with me when I report for jury duty?

Your responsibility as a juror is of utmost importance and your attire is indicative of that importance and the seriousness you attach to your duties.  Therefore, jurors are requested to dress in a manner that is respectful to the litigants and the court.  You may wear comfortable but appropriate business-like clothing.  Shorts, jeans, t-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts should not be worn.

A photo I.D. is required to enter the courthouse.  You may also bring books, magazines or study material.  These items must be put away during court proceedings.  ***Please note: cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices are not permitted in the courthouse.  Court security officers will screen for such equipment through the magnetometer immediately upon entering the courthouse.  Liquids are only permitted through security with a tightly sealed lid (ex. an open soda can is not allowed, however, a bottle of soda with a twist-on cap is allowed.)***

 

 

Jury-General Information Jury FAQ
Is the law library in the Cedar Rapids courthouse open to the public?

Yes, the law library is open to the public.

Policies for Non-Court Library Users

 

Court-Facility Courthouse FAQ
Where can I park?

 

              

Court-Facility Courthouse FAQ
Can I attend a hearing or trial?

Yes, as long as the proceeding is not sealed, a member of the public may attend hearings or trials.

 

 

Court-Proceedings Courthouse FAQ
Can children attend a hearing or trial?

Children may attend court proceedings, but they must remain quiet and not cause any distractions. If a child becomes too active or noisy, you and your child may be asked to leave the courtroom. 

 

Court-Proceedings Courthouse FAQ
How do I make recommendations on ways to improve services provided by the Northern District of Iowa?

You may put your recommendations in writing and mail them to either of the following addresses:

Clerk, U.S. District Court                                                                         
Northern District of Iowa                                                                        
111 7th Avenue SE, Box 12                                                                   
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 
 
Clerk, U.S. District Court
Northern District Court
320 Sixth Street, Room 301
Sioux City, IA 51101                                                                      
 
 
Court-Facility Courthouse FAQ