Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Get Out of Jury Duty

My daughter just was selected for Jury duty and she was able to get out of it, because of the distance she would have had to travel to get to court. Sure, we all want to do our civic duty… serve our country… see to it that justice is served. However, being called to jury duty can put a serious damper on your day.

It’s important to know that the courts usually turn down requests to be excused from jury duty and I think this is a good thing.  Nevertheless, on rare occasions, you can slip by without ever sitting in on a case.

When you get your summons notice, check the date, and refer to your calendar or planner to see if you have a legitimate reason to defer jury duty. (Examples of legitimate reasons are things like you are getting married on that date, have booked a vacation, are moving out of state, or are due to have a baby.)

If your calendar is empty, think about other reasons, you may be able to defer jury duty. For example, would reporting for jury duty result in financial hardship? Maybe you are the primary caregiver to someone in your house.

Once you have your excuse, either call the clerk of the court or mail in your request (if your summons allows for it) and ask to defer jury duty. You can help your case if you can offer an alternative day you can appear as a juror.

If you are not given exemption, you will need to appear in court on the day stated on your summons and then give reasons why you should be allowed to defer jury duty.

If you are unable to get out of it, then you when you show up, your next best hope will be to get yourself excused when you are questioned as a possible juror on a case. (When a case requires a jury, a group of potential jurors are sent in to be questioned by the attorneys for both sides to see if you can be impartial).

If you are able to feel comfortable giving responses that will make you seem like you’re an undesirable juror such as appearing fanatical, prejudiced, or biased from having been involved in similar cases on a personal basis, you will get excused and your service will be over.

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