I am often asked how to avoid jury duty. The following is useful information for those notified to appear for jury duty. However, in nearly forty years of practicing law I have never heard of anyone being punished for failing to respond to a jury summons for state or local courts. Our system of justice is unique in the world and much of its integrity and effectiveness depends on having responsible citizens serve on juries. Most counties will allow you to postpone your jury service at least one time.
For some jurors, jury duty is a legitimate hardship. If you are called to serve on a jury panel, listen for the judge to inform the panel of the expected length of the trial. At that point, if you believe that the length of the trial poses a substantial and severe financial hardship, raise your hand and inform the judge of your situation. In many cases, there are enough jurors to make it possible to excuse those individuals with legitimate and severe financial hardships. It depends on the judge.
The vast majority of judges are extremely sympathetic to legitimate hardship claims. Judges know that some jurors have valid hardships, while other jurors are willing to say just about anything to get out of jury duty. You should always bring proof of the airline tickets and doctor appointments. Bring your jury summons and the completed juror information card that you received in the mail if you completed the juror information card online then there is no need to bring it.
Wear comfortable but appropriate clothing and take a jacket or sweater since some courtrooms can get cold. In some of the larger counties, there is free Internet in the central jury room.
It is also a good idea to bring work or reading material, as there will be a fair amount of waiting time. You are permitted to bring your cell phone in state court not federal court and you will be allowed to use it when court is not in session be sure to turn your phone off — do not set it to vibrate or any other setting — while court is in session.
Finally, bring your common sense, a good attitude, and most of all, your patience! It is extremely rare for a jury to be sequestered this means being kept overnight at a hotel. This happens when the jury is hearing a very high-profile case, but again, it is extremely rare. Tell the bailiff or any member of the court staff and they will bring it to the attention of the judge. In most cases, judges will do everything possible to help. Once jurors have been chosen to serve on a jury, many judges will give them a phone number for the court in case an emergency arises for any of the jurors.
The first protection you have is that an employer is prohibited by law from firing or taking any adverse employment action against an employee who is performing his or her civic jury duty. However, the law does not require an employer to continue paying the employee while the employee is serving on a jury.
The next protection relates to the jury selection process. Judges and lawyers do not want to embarrass a juror. Therefore, if you feel that an answer to any question is private, let the judge or lawyer know that you would prefer to discuss the matter privately.
The information in this article is presented for the benefit of clients and readers by The Hubbard Law Firm, Kingwood Drive, SuiteKingwood, Texas as an edited version of an article appearing in the April issue of the Texas Bar Journal.
If you have any questions please call us at or contact us at www. As a lawyer, I appreciate the time and inconvenience you may feel by those who choose to serve. Your email address will not be published.What, exactly, makes an ideal juror?
What are lawyers on both sides of a case looking for in a lineup of random people? The answer, of course, depends on the case itself. Instead, using a mixture of intense questioning, keen observation, and stereotyping, they get to eliminate people they think would hurt their case.
What we try to do is think of what backgrounds, life experiences, cognitive styles, opinions, and values jurors might have that would make them less receptive to our case. Here are a few things lawyers take into consideration when trying to figure you out.
Attorneys pay close attention to any relationships that might color your opinions. Da trial consultant and forensic psychologist. This is all very important, because research shows that when juries deliberate, they spend 50 percent of their time talking about their own personal experiences as a way of judging the case.
The plaintiff attorney or prosecutor will generally look for people more inclined to trust authority. Your public activity on various social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are fair game. Have you been sharing or commenting on any relevant news articles?
Did you recently write an opinionated Letter To The Editor? Do you belong to a particular group on Facebook?
All of that could show a sign of bias. If you come into jury duty with an air of positivity, you increase your chances of staying on as a juror. Leaders, contrarians, and independent thinkers can be pivotal in a verdict. These people have the potential to rally the rest of the group behind a unanimous decision, which is great for the plaintiff or the prosecutor.
Attorneys will look for leadership positions in your history, and take note of how assertive you are during the questioning process. This even includes your shoes. No pointy tips. The heels will be low, because open people want to be able to move around easily.
No stilettos. Sandals, sports and walking shoes are more likely to fit this person's style than compact, tight dress shoes. But the Golden Globe winner is a pretty private person who prefers to let his work speak for itself. But when it came time for him to choose a stage name, he opted to shorten his name to Oscar Isaac as a way to be considered for more roles. This ultimately led people to think he was Jewish, however, including director Barry Sonnenfeld—who passed on Isaac for a role because he wanted a Cuban actor.
Isaac is half Cuban. Isaac was a bit of a rebel growing up, admittedly even getting expelled from a private school in seventh grade. The reason? Me and my friend jumped over and found all these exotic animals—guard emus and the craziest tiny little beavers. We just started petting them all. Why wouldn't you? But the guy complained. While he may have acted out in his youth, Isaac took his acting career very seriously.While jury duty is a civic requirement for all eligible citizens in Californiathere are a number of excuses that can be used to legally get out of being required to report for jury selection or jury duty, or receive a deferral.
California has a list of specific excuses that can be used to be exempt from reporting for jury duty, including excuses for military, elected official, age, police, medical worker, firefighter and disability.
You can also be excused if you don't meet the basic eligibility requirements for jury duty in CA. Generally, if you qualify for one of the statutory excuses, you can respond to your jury duty summons letter with an excuse note containing proof of your excuse, and you will not have to report for jury selection. California has a statutory exemption that allows individuals over a certain age to request exemption from jury duty.
A juror over the age of 70, may be excused from duty due to physical or mental reasons. Postponement may be available for health problems, pre-existing personal commitments that cannot be rescheduled, or scheduled paid vacation. Request for postponement may be filed on the Response Form usually back of summons by mail or submitted online. Online submission only valid for postponement of up to 90 days.
Procedure varies by county. In California, your employer is not allowed to penalize you for missing work for jury duty. Therefore, simply having a job isn't in itself enough to be excused from jury duty.
However, some courts may excuse you if serving on a jury and missing work would cause undue hardship to either yourself or your employer.
If you do not qualify for any of the California statutory exemptions listed above but seriously think that attending jury selection would cause you undue hardship, you can always submit a jury duty excuse letter with your response to the summons, and ask to be excused. It will be at the discretion of the court that summoned you whether to accept or deny your excuse.
Keep in mind that your initial jury duty summons is only for attending jury selection daywhere it will be decided if you are to actually serve on a jury during the "Voir Dire" process. If you can't get out of attending jury selection, there are many ways to raise the odds that you will be excused after jury selection without being selected to serve on a jury.
We value your feedback! Do you have a comment or correction concerning this page?
Let us know in a single click. We read every comment! Toggle navigation JuryDuty Excused Not Excused. Situation Jury Duty Military Elected Official Student Breastfeeding Mother Police Medical Worker Firefighter Disablity While jury duty is a civic requirement for all eligible citizens in Californiathere are a number of excuses that can be used to legally get out of being required to report for jury selection or jury duty, or receive a deferral.
Most counties require medical note from physician for deferral or postponement. Students in California can reschedule their jury duty to the next school break.
In the state of California, breastfeeding mothers may postpone jury duty for up to a year. Hardship excuses may be granted for: having no reasonable transportation excessive travel to attend extreme financial burden undue risk to physical property mental or physical impairment for those over 70 no alternate care for another Postponement may be available for health problems, pre-existing personal commitments that cannot be rescheduled, or scheduled paid vacation.
Submitting A Jury Duty Excuse Letter If you do not qualify for any of the California statutory exemptions listed above but seriously think that attending jury selection would cause you undue hardship, you can always submit a jury duty excuse letter with your response to the summons, and ask to be excused. Remember - A Jury Selection Summons Doesn't Mean You'll Be On A Jury Keep in mind that your initial jury duty summons is only for attending jury selection daywhere it will be decided if you are to actually serve on a jury during the "Voir Dire" process.
Goto Top.Skip to main navigation. Jury service is one of the most important civic duties you can perform. The protection of rights and liberties in federal courts largely is achieved through the teamwork of a judge and jury.
Each district court summons eligible citizens within the local area. You must contact your local district court website to fill out a Juror Qualifications Questionnaire online or contact your local district court for questions about jury service. The Jury Selection and Service Act establishes the process for selecting jurors and outlines qualifications a person must meet to serve on a federal jury. The national eJuror Program gives potential jurors the option of responding to their jury qualification questionnaire or summons online through the website of the local court that summoned citizens to jury duty.
Members of the public are not contacted initially by email or phone for jury service. Prospective jurors first receive an official court mailing— never a phone call or email— which may direct them to an online questionnaire. Please do not provide this type of information to anyone claiming to be associated with the federal courts.
Learn more. Main content Jury Service Jury service is one of the most important civic duties you can perform.Learn something new every day More Info Trial by jury is one of the most important aspects of the legal system in the United States.
In the United States, any person who is accused of a felony is guaranteed the right, according to the United States Constitution, to have a trial before a jury. In addition, civil trials can often be before a jury, as allowed by the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. With the large number of jury trials going on at any one time in every state, calling citizens to fulfill their civil duty as jurors is an important part of the judicial system.
Although it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a citizen in the United States typically receives a jury summons via mail. There are always certain exceptions; however, failure to respond to a jury summons without meeting one of the exceptions can result in jail-time, a fine, a warrant for arrest, or other penalties. Once the jury summons is received, the citizen must appear on court at their request date and time. At that time, they will be assigned a trial.
As part of the trial process, called voir direthe attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant can ask potential jurors questions as a group and on an individual basis. Dismissed jurors return home and their day at court is finished; selected jurors continue on through the trial process. In some states and counties, a citizen who receives a jury summons can postpone the date that they must appear at court.
In some jurisdictions, the date is pushed back by a few weeks and in other jurisdictions the date can be postponed by a year. Postponing a jury summons date is perfect for those citizens with newborn children, a planned vacation, or other valid conflicts. The United States is not the only country that has trials by jury; however, it does account for the majority of jury trials.
In some other countries, such as India and Germany, the use of the jury has been abolished. In Australia and the United Kingdom, the jurors are used and are summoned by a postal jury summons; but, they are accepted without allowing the attorneys to participate in the question and answer period or voir dire.
Juror Summons Law and Legal Definition
In a few countries, such as Belgium, Canada, and Russia, juries are summoned, but they are reserved for the most violent crimes, crimes where the penalty is at least five years in prison, or crimes where the penalty is death. Each country has its own legal system, many have endured severe changes through the centuries, and nearly all are attempting to find the system that works best for their citizens.
SubwayI always thought that serving on a jury would be fun. My friend received a jury duty summons and was picked to be on the jury. The case pertained to a wrongful termination case in which the plaintiff was stating that he was let go for discriminatory reasons. My friend told me that most of the jury had very accomplished and successful people.If you're trying to get out of jury duty at the federal or state levels, your best chance of doing so is by never registering to vote or canceling your current voter registration.
As important as the right to vote is, many Americans opt out of voting to avoid being called for jury duty. However, keeping your name off the voter rolls does not guarantee you won't be randomly chosen for jury duty.
So that means you could be called for federal jury duty in some federal court districts if you've got a driver's license. Nonetheless, voter rolls remain the primary source of prospective jurors. And as long as they remain so, your best chance of avoiding jury duty at the state or federal is to stay off the list of voters in your county and federal court district.
Or to get a job as a professional police officer or firefighter, or even run for elected office in your town or state.
Simply complaining about having to work won't cut it. Potential jurors are chosen for federal court from "a jury pool generated by random selection of citizens' names from lists of registered voters," the federal court system explains.
It also may use lists of registered drivers. Voter records - either voter registration lists or lists of actual voters - are the required source of names for federal court juries," according to the federal court system. According to the Federal Judicial Center: "Congress requires that each district court develop a plan for selecting jurors.
Generally, the selection process begins when the clerk of court randomly draws names from the list of registered voters in the judicial district, and sometimes from other sources, such as the list of licensed drivers. Only in Ohio and Wyoming do state courts use only the list of registered voters to build jury pools, not drivers lists or tax rolls. That means you can avoid jury duty in county and state court by simply staying out of the voting booth.
I am the potential juror on this summons. I am not the potential juror on this summons.?
Everywhere else? You're likely to end up in a jury pool at some point in your life if you drive a car or pay taxes. There are lots of people who believe drawing prospective jurors from voter-registration lists is wrong because is discourages people from entering the political process.
Some academics argue that the connection between voter registration and jury duty represents an unconstitutional poll tax. A research study by Alexander Preller of Columbia University found that 41 states primarily use voter registration to build prospective jury panels—five others primarily use Department of Motor Vehicle Records, and four others do not have mandatory lists at all.
However, jury services should not be allowed to parasitically burden other civil rights," Preller wrote. Such an argument claims the current mechanism for choosing jurors forces many Americans to abandon their most precious civil right to carry out a civic obligation.
But other experts believe the wider and more racially and economically diverse the jury pool, the fairer the justice system is. There are some people who will never have to report for federal jury duty, regardless of whether they are registered to vote or not. The federal Jury Act, which requires the random selection of citizens' names from voters lists, states that members of the military serving in active duty, police officers, professional and volunteer firefighters and "public officers" such as elected officials at the local, state and federal levels do not have to report for jury duty.
Some courts also exempt the elderly and people who have served on a jury in the previous two years. If you've got another reason you think jury duty represents an "undue hardship or extreme inconvenience," the courts might consider granting you a temporary deferral, but these are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Preller, Alexander E. Share Flipboard Email. Issues The U. Legal System U. Foreign Policy U. Liberal Politics U. Tom Murse. Updated February 17, So if you're not registered to vote, you're safe from jury duty, right?
The other people who don't have to serve on a jury are:. Non-citizens who have lived in their judicial district less than a year. People who cannot speak English or read, write or understand English "with a degree of proficiency necessary to fill out a qualification form.By far, the easiest way to complete your questionnaire is at our secure Juror Website. See your Questionnaire or Summons for login information. It only takes a few minutes to complete and submit the questionnaire.
You are required to complete and submit the Questionnaire within 10 days of receiving the form through the U. Virginia law requires that we randomly done electronically select a number of citizens 35, to receive the Questionnaire which then allows the court to either qualify or disqualify residents for service based upon your answers to the questions in the form.
The Questionnaire is not a summons to appear. It is a tool to qualify residents for potential service in the upcoming court year. Your answers to the questions on the form determine your qualification status. The easiest way to comply with the law is to complete and submit the form online at the secure Juror Website. This is the preferred method of receipt by the court. If you are no longer a resident of Arlington County or the City of Falls Church you do not qualify to serve jury duty with the Arlington Circuit Court.
Please visit the Juror Websitecomplete the questionnaire, and submit it. Do not call the office seeking a disqualification. Follow the above instructions.
I live in the City of Falls Church. Why do I have to serve with the Arlington Circuit Court? All court matters in either jurisdiction are covered under the Arlington Circuit Court. If you receive a questionnaire through the U. Mail from the Arlington Circuit Court, you are required to complete and return the form within 10 days of the day you received the form.
There are penalties for failure to comply with State law. The easiest way to complete the form is online at the secure Juror Website. Please email your request to the Jury Coordinator for the Candidate ID which is specific to you so you can submit the form online. You can also request that a new form be mailed to you, although the easiest, most convenient way is to complete the form online.Your role as a juror
Please note that Circuit Court personnel will never give out any personal information. You may be asked to verify information we have on file to secure your identity, but we will not give out personal information to anyone at any time. The court year for which you qualify to serve jury duty generally begins on the first business day in January.
Once you check your status and if you are qualified to serve, you simply wait to see if you receive a summons in through the U. You may or may not have to serve. If you were qualified to serve as a juror check your qualification status at the Juror Website or call the Juror Hotline after the first week of Decemberyou need do nothing further but wait to see if you receive a summons through the U.
You do not have to check the Website everyday or month. Simply monitor your U. You can only log on using the credentials found on your Questionnaire or Summons and some information only you would know.
This is a secure site. The County is committed to protecting the information you provide to us from fraud and misuse. To do so, we employ both secure servers and encryption SSL in our communications over the Internet which means your information is scrambled as it travels across the Internet.