How to Get Out of Jury Duty

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While it is a citizen’s duty in many countries to serve on a jury on occasion, there are some ways to avoid such duty if it would be a true hardship. Failure to respond to a summons for jury duty is not a good idea: you could face up to two years in prison or a large fine. If you have a legitimate reason to avoid jury duty, you should go through the legal process of requesting an excuse. Court summonses are issued at random, so there is nothing you can do to avoid being summoned. Simply being called does not guarantee that you will serve on a jury. This wikiHow will teach you how to avoid the experience while still performing your civic duty.

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Getting Out of Jury Duty

1. Demonstrate financial hardship. In many states, you can demonstrate that serving on a jury would place a significant financial burden on you. Use this excuse only if you truly believe you would be unable to function if you were forced to miss work for one or more days. Bring proof of employment and/or wages, a full financial statement, and the previous year’s tax return with you when you first report for jury duty. You will have only lost one day of your time if you can persuade the judge that you cannot afford to miss work.

  • Financial need exemptions are extremely rare, even if you are facing serious challenges. Don’t expect the court to take financial need into account.
  • Don’t exaggerate your financial situation. Perjury is the act of lying in court. It’s a crime. You could also face charges of obstructing justice.

2. Request a date change. Almost all jury selection processes at the federal, state, and local levels are computerized. If your name is on the list, an automated notice of jury duty is sent to your registered address. When you receive it, indicate on the jury form that you require special accommodations and will be unable to attend on the requested date. Include a justification.

  • For example, you could say you’re sick, going out of town, studying for the bar, or considering joining the military. Any reasonable excuse will likely delay your next jury summons by at least a year.
  • Consider using your children as an excuse if you have young children. You’d have to persuade the court that you can’t afford day care or a babysitter.

3. Request a December date. If you can get a date change, ask for December, when trials are more likely to be delayed or moved. You may never be called in, but you are still performing your civic duty.

4. Ask them to move the date forward, not back. This means you will serve your jury duty earlier than expected. The lawyers have most likely already formed jury lists for future dates, and there’s a chance they won’t be able to accommodate you. When your date is changed, they must move you to the bottom of the list. You might not even be called to serve on a jury.

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5. Use your student status to your advantage. Full-time students are often excused from jury duty in many states. Even if you live in a state that does not allow students to be excused (for example, California), you still have options.

  • Request that your jury duty be rescheduled for your next vacation period (winter, spring, summer).
  • Even if you have exceeded the one-year postponement limit, the call center can authorize this. They will tell you that this is your final postponement.
  • Missed student work can usually be made up, but not missed lessons and lectures. Students enrolled in online classes may even be exempt in some states.

6. If you live in California, consider using a risky loophole. Trials in California typically last ten to twenty days. Take advantage of this. Lawyers screen potential jurors for each trial. During the process, the judge will inquire whether anyone has a compelling reason not to serve on a jury. Most excuses will be rejected. Some, however, such as medical emergencies, will result in your dismissal.

  • Inform the judge if you have a medical procedure scheduled within the next two weeks. You may be excused from jury duty if you reschedule.
  • You will be considered to have fulfilled your duty under some state laws. When you return to reschedule your jury duty, you will be given a piece of paper certifying that you have finished it.
  • Be completely honest. If you are caught lying about your circumstances, you could face up to 20 days in jail.

Getting Yourself Dismissed From a Jury

1. Explain that you are unable to maintain objectivity. There are specific things you can say during jury questioning to try to get a criminal case dismissed. Keep in mind that making such claims is illegal if you do not truly believe them. You will be asked if you could just set your beliefs aside for each of these excuses. Even if you believe you are qualified, the trial attorneys may not want you on the jury.

  • If the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt appears hazy, this could work in your favor. How much skepticism is reasonable? Are you supposed to be 99.9% certain? 99.99 percent of the time? You might decide that you would never vote to convict someone unless there was absolutely no doubt about their guilt. If you tell the prosecutor, the prosecutor may want to dismiss you.
  • Maybe you think the vast majority of people arrested for crimes are guilty. After all, the prosecutor would not file charges unless he was certain. So, at this point in the proceedings, the defendant is almost certainly guilty. Even so, you could argue that you will simply pretend the defendant is innocent until the trial is over. If you tell the judge, the defense attorney may decide to dismiss you.
  • Another argument is that police officers are better witnesses than the average citizen. They’ve been trained to be more perceptive than most people. They have extensive experience with crime and testifying. In addition, if they are hired as police officers, they must have a high moral standard. This will irritate the defense team.
  • Consider this: defendants rarely testify in their own defense. How can a person judge a case if they have not heard from the accused? If he or she can’t even look the jury in the eyes and declare their innocence, he or she appears to be guilty.
  • You might not be a confrontational person. If you’re in the minority, you may succumb to the majority fairly easily. An attorney may dismiss you if you present yourself in this manner.
  • Consider the following argument if it applies to you: “I was the victim of a crime.” They never apprehended him. That irritates me. “The system is broken.” Hearing this may irritate the defense.
  • My friend or family member works as a cop, prosecutor, or defense attorney. We discuss many of his cases. That guy has strong feelings. This may irritate one side or the other. ” My son is about the same age as the defendant. My son has been in a bit of trouble.” This may irritate the prosecution.
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2. Act obstinate. A criminal conviction necessitates a very high standard. The prosecution’s case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Before even hearing the case, go into jury duty acting as if you know everything. The more obstinate you appear, the better.

3. Show off your intelligence. Playing smart is a more respectable alternative to the above “play stupid” strategy. Many lawyers want jurors who can be persuaded one way or the other. In their eyes, demonstrating education, intelligence, and logical reasoning may make you less desirable.

  • Many jurisdictions prohibit lawyers, judges, and police officers from serving on juries. They believe these people are too knowledgeable about the subject to serve as effective jurors.
  • Similarly, doctors are almost always exonerated in malpractice cases, bankers in embezzlement cases, and so on.
  • However, it is not unheard of for a sitting judge to serve as a juror.

4. Mention the jury’s “veto” power. If you are chosen to serve on a jury, the judge will ask you to swear that you will base your decision solely on the facts presented in court. Refuse to swear on the grounds that the jury has the right to reach its own verdict. This is known as “jury nullification.” In short, it allows a jury to return a “innocent” verdict even when the accused is clearly guilty. If the jury disagrees with the law, it has the authority to do so. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld this right, prosecutors and judges generally oppose it. If you suggest that you might use your right to veto, any prosecutor will almost certainly reject you for the jury.

  • Inquire whether the judge would have convicted Harriet Tubman of violating the federal Fugitive Slave Laws. Was her participation in the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves punishable?
  • Would the judge have convicted Rosa Parks for violating Montgomery, Alabama’s segregation laws? Was it punishable for her refusal to move to the back of the bus when the bus driver told her she had to give up her seat to a white passenger?
  • The judge may claim that he or she would have told jurors to convict these women because “the law is the law.” You should be prepared with a response:
  • “During the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, blind obedience was not accepted as a defense.” Many Nazis claimed they were simply “executing orders.”
  • Read about cases that show the effectiveness of jury nullification. State of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1, 4 (1794); United States v. Moylan, 417 F.2d 1002 (4th Cir.1969); United States v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d 1113; United States v. Wilson, 629 F.2d 439, 443 (6th Cir.1980); US v. Krzyske, 836 F. 2d 1013 – Court of Appeals, 6 (2nd Cir. 5-20-97).
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5. If you are called to a grand jury, you should question its legitimacy. Mention how “a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.” Make it clear that you oppose grand juries because they serve as a rubber stamp for the prosecutor. Show your support for the position of the Commission to Reform the Federal Grand Jury in reforming the process.

6. As a last resort, try the George Carlin technique. His advice for avoiding jury duty was to tell the judge that you would make an excellent juror because you can identify guilty people simply by looking at them.

What is the best excuse for jury duty?

Explanations for Common Effective Jury Duty
Extreme Financial Difficulties…
Status as a Full-Time Student
Surgical/Medical Reasons.
Being an Elder…
Being Overly Opinionated…
Instability of the mind/emotions.
Relationship to the Case/Conflict of Interest
Job Description

What happens if you refuse jury duty UK?

Under no circumstances should you simply fail to appear for your jury duty, as this will cause court delays. If you fail to notify the court that you will be unable to attend, you may face a fine or even more serious charges. The courts understand that jury duty can be stressful, so speak with them as they may be able to assist you.

Who is exempt from jury duty in Australia?

You may request an exemption from jury duty for any of the following reasons: your well-being If you are not excused, you will cause undue financial or other hardship to yourself or another person. your recent jury service in any Australian jurisdiction

Who is exempt from jury duty in NY?

In New York, there is a list of specific excuses that can be used to avoid reporting for jury duty, including military, elected official, student, breastfeeding, age, police, medical worker, firefighter, and disability exemptions.

Can you refuse jury duty?

Avoiding it, on the other hand, is a bad idea: you cannot simply refuse, and failing to respond to a jury summons without reasonable cause is a criminal offense. If you’ve served in the last two years or have a good reason, you may be able to defer (or possibly be excused).

What happens if I don’t go to jury duty?

What Happens If I Do Not Attend Jury Duty? You may be fined or held in contempt of court if you fail to report to jury duty without an approved exemption. This is illegal, and your personal appearance in court will become mandatory.

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