Most people have gone to their mailbox after work to find a square shaped Notice from the court advising that they must appear for jury duty in either a civil or criminal case. Many people sigh at the sight of this Notice and the dread of having to miss time away from friends, family, work or school. But jury duty is an important civic duty and essential in a free democratic society.
Being Excused from Jury Duty
If you work for yourself as a sole-proprietor and will lose necessary income that you need to subsist, you may be able to be excused from jury duty. However, you must still attend and advise of this hardship. Bringing proof with you is a good idea.
If you have young children that you are responsible for and there is no one else to look after them, you may receive an exemption, but again, you must still attend and advise of this.
You are Selected for a Pool of Jurors, Hear the Skeleton Facts of the Case & it is Not a Good Fit For You
You attend jury duty and sit in a room with sixty or so other people and the lawyers tell you a little bit about the case. Let’s say for example you are told that the plaintiff is suing a landlord after the plaintiff fell in front of the landlord’s building due to an improperly maintained sidewalk. This strikes you as a case that may not be a good fit for you because your parents own a rental property in town and have been sued before for a trip-and-fall case. You may ask the lawyers to speak with them privately and explain. If the lawyers agree, they may allow you off of the case, but you will report back to your original report location and be put into another pool.
The Potential Length of the Case is Too Long for You
You’re sitting in the room after being chosen for the jury pool and you are told by the lawyers that this case will likely take three to four weeks. However, this is something that you cannot commit to because you have a scheduled surgery in 5 days from now. Speak to the lawyers privately, and they may agree to let you off the case, but again, you will likely be sent to your same report location to be sent to another pool of jurors.
The Importance of Jury Duty
Although it may seem burdensome, jury duty is a very important duty that all United States citizens have and fulfilling that duty is necessary in a democratic society such as ours.