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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the ADR processes?
The three processes available through the court are: mediation, early neutral evaluation (ENE) and arbitration.
I am unfamiliar with the technology available to me in the courtroom. How can I receive training?
The U.S. District Court invites counsel to call chambers prior to court proceedings and to visit the courtroom they will be practicing in prior to the courtroom proceeding. We encourage you to bring your laptop, documents, or any other evidence you plan to present with your case. We also encourage those who have not previously attended to attend one of the Courtroom Technology Training Seminars.
What is the per diem and mileage rate for a witness?
§ 320.40 Fact Witnesses and Depositions
§ 320.40.10 Fees and Expenses of Fact Witnesses
(a) Generally speaking, fees and expenses of fact witnesses for defendants proceeding under the CJA are paid by the DOJ. See: Fed. R. Crim. P., Rule 17(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1825 (link is external).
(b) Section 1825 of 28 U.S.C. specifically provides for the payment of witness fees by the DOJ in all federal criminal proceedings, and in proceedings for a writ of habeas corpus or in proceedings under section 2255 of that title upon certification of a federal public defender or assistant federal public defender, or clerk of court upon the affidavit of other counsel appointed under the CJA.
(c) If advance witness travel funds are required, the court should issue the subpoena order, so stating, to authorize the travel advance by the marshal. These expenses will not be paid from CJA funds.
Why do I have to provide information about my race and gender?
Race and gender are not factors in determining eligibility to serve as a juror. Federal law requires a prospective juror to indicate his/her race. This information is required solely to avoid discrimination in juror selection and has absolutely no bearing on qualifications for jury service. By answering this question, you help the federal court ensure that discrimination cannot occur during the juror selection process.
What is Mediation?
Mediation refers to a process in which an impartial neutral, selected by the parties, facilitates negotiations between the parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Will Court personnel assist me with getting my presentation working with the system?
Yes. We will assist you if arrangements are made BEFORE your court date to test your equipment or practice with our equipment. Court personal will not fix or modify your laptop or personal equipment to work with our system. We suggest that you bring computer support for any technology for which you are unfamiliar.
How many copies of a pleading do I need to file?
Only the original copy.
How long does a juror serve?
Jurors for the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania are "on call" to appear for possible selection. Jurors can be instructed to appear up to two times or serve on one trial, whichever comes first. All jurors are excused as served at the end of the on-call period OR at the end of a trial if selected.
Erie Division: thirty days - generally call for a recorded message once a week after 5:00 pm
Pittsburgh Division: two weeks - call for a recorded message on Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays after 4:00 pm
Johnstown Division: thirty days - generally call for a recorded message once or twice a week after 6:00 pm
What is Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)?
Early Neutral Evaluation refers to a process in which an impartial attorney, selected by the parties and with subject matter expertise, provides a non-binding evaluation of the case and is available to assist the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
What if a piece of equipment fails during trial or isn’t available when I come to trial?
We make every effort to keep the equipment functional in the courtrooms. However, at times courtrooms experience disputations. If this occurs during a proceeding, we will do everything possible to resolve the problem quickly. We encourage you to arrive before trial starts to insure that all equipment is functional. However, trial will not be postponed for technology reasons. Be prepared, if necessary, to present without the equipment.