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  #1  
Old 07-19-2007, 06:53 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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Should being a full time student be an excuse out of jury duty?

The title pretty much says it all.

As a college student, it seems that every week someone is missing because they have jury duty. Hell, I've been called every. single. year (if you don't get picked for a trial, you are up again right away). Now, our professors are obligated to help us make up what we missed, but certain things like entire lectures are pretty hard to catch up on.

As it stands, being a student is not an excuse out of jury duty. The most they will do for you is give you an extension and reschedule the week, but that's it.

So, should status as a full time student be a legitimate excuse to get out of jury duty?


What's funnier (anecdotally, I suppose) to me is that I've yet to have a single friend or classmate put on a jury- the attorneys seem to dismiss almost all of the either liberal or college educated folks there.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2007, 06:59 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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No, it shouldn't be. Stuff happens at real jobs that can't be made up, either.
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:02 PM
Turek Turek is offline
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I believe very few things should exempt someone from jury duty; being a full-time student isn't one of them. Sure, a student might miss that one important lecture, but employees might miss that one important meeting. It's always a sacrifice, and it's always worth it.
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:08 PM
amarinth amarinth is online now
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As compared to what? Full time workers?

From my experience, the time when I was a student would have been the easiest time for me to have been a juror. I could have done the homework at the end of the day, gotten notes from classmates, tape recorded lectures...
it would have been a disruption, but not that bad given how flexible students' schedules are.

Last edited by amarinth; 07-19-2007 at 07:08 PM..
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:29 PM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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No, definitely not...everyone has a lot going on in their lives...if students were exempt, you'd have to exempt full-time workers & full-time parents, too, which wouldn't leave very many people.
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:33 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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I think if you're too young to drink, you're too young to be a juror. 'Cause if I was on a jury, I would need to drink.
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:38 PM
Delly Delly is offline
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Its a legitimate excuse here in Ireland. I used it last year when I was called up.
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:41 PM
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I'm in the middle of going through a selection process, and I'm pretty sure the judge considered being an active student a justifiable excuse. This trial is going to be 2 months long, which might have something to do with it. There were quite a few students on my last jury, but that was during winter break, and the trial was relatively short.

Employers are expected to work around someone being away. In NJ, full time mothers were excused. But there are plenty of classes, like labs, which can't be tape recorded, and I suspect the policy was set before notes were on a website.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2007, 07:54 PM
drachillix drachillix is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiosaBellissima
So, should status as a full time student be a legitimate excuse to get out of jury duty?
Since you are in CA, you should be able to ask for a deferral for summertime, spring break, xmas vacation, etc. I know I can.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2007, 08:07 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Look -- you can usually ask for a deferral no matter what the job. Once I was called for jury duty during the busiest time of the year for us. I called the Commissioner of Jurors, and they rescheduled a couple of months later.

Try calling. They usually don't mind if you postpone it; it only is an issue if you try to avoid it.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2007, 08:27 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Employers have a duty and an obligation, to themselves even if to no-one else, to cover for absence. Whether it's sickness, maternity or jury duty. There's not a direct parallel with students, because the primary function of a student isn't to fulfull a role in an organisation, but to actually be a student for themselves. You don't go to that meeting to better yourself, you do it to do well for your company. Anything else is a bonus.

FWIW, in the UK, self-employed people mostly can make a case for exemption, and the logic is similar. They're not one part of a larger organisation, they're an individual directly earning their own living. There's an immense difference.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2007, 09:09 PM
nevermore nevermore is offline
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It is here in Texas. I got called on for it one year and one of the maybe three excuses you could use was being a full-time student. Thank god, too; I would've missed a final.

Should it be? I donno. Personally I think it's very important to have educated people around, and I think the right to a fair trial is very important as well. It's a tough call, but I think it's my state's small way of encouraging higher education... "we don't fuck with you while you're getting smart."
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2007, 09:23 PM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I would say full-time student status should not be an excuse by itself, but obligations as a student, even part-time, should be considered if they are sufficient. For example, students should be able to defer if they have exams scheduled that can't be easily made up. Or if a grad student has a thesis or dissertation defense scheduled, that should probably be considered. Also, professors should respect a student who fulfills jury duty obligations and accommodate the student in making up work.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2007, 11:08 PM
DoctorJ DoctorJ is offline
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I got picked when I was a student, and they deferred me to the summertime. Unfortunately, I was also taking summer classes. The judge said that she couldn't completely excuse me, but she blocked the dates I had exams and said that if a trial came up that would last more than a few days, she'd keep me out of it. I ended up on the jury for a one-day trial and I was called but not picked for another.

Around here jurors tend to get called in more days that not; I guess it's because we have a high ratio of criminal proceedings to qualified jurors. They ended up letting me out last year because it would have essentially shut down our practice for the duration, meaning my staff would have been out of work and our patients wouldn't get seen. I felt bad about it, but there wasn't a good way around it.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2007, 11:23 PM
Incubus Incubus is offline
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That's odd, I live in CA and got a notice for Jury duty twice in college. I filled out a part of the form that said I was a student and didn't hear from them.

I got another notice a year out of college, but my number was not picked. Guess I lucked out.

My mom gets called every single year (whatever the minimum amount of time required before they can call you again). She's served on Juries several of those times.

Are employers required to compensate you for the time you miss work? I work part-time, and don't get vacation/sick leave. If I have to be gone a week to serve on a jury that's a week's pay I'm not earning which, in my currently precarious position could affect whether I pay my bills/rent on time. Could a tenant get evicted if they were unable to pay rent because Jury duty sucked up all their time? Seems a little harsh to me.
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  #16  
Old 07-19-2007, 11:39 PM
DoctorJ DoctorJ is offline
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Quote:
Are employers required to compensate you for the time you miss work?
Depends on the jurisdiction, obviously, but they aren't here. In fact, a lot of employers around here have policies explicitly stating that they won't compensate employees for jury duty. That way the employee can claim financial hardship and get out of it.
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  #17  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:02 AM
Hippy Hollow Hippy Hollow is offline
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No. I have been called to sit on a jury while in coursework and while I was writing a dissertation. In Massachusetts you can request to serve at a more convenient time, IIRC. Both times I was not selected (both times my group number was excused). There's nothing inherently superior about being a student than being a janitor, CEO, or in the military. It's part of being a responsible citizen.
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2007, 02:27 AM
stucco stucco is offline
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When I got called for jury duty in California, I phoned someone up and told them I was a student at a college out of state and they gave me an extension until summer. Which seemed fair since then I was just missing my uninteresting summer job (and not flying across country to do jury duty). Of course I didn't get put on a jury in the end, I never even was called out of the waiting room.
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  #19  
Old 07-20-2007, 07:51 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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I dunno.

I got called for Jury Duty the last semester of my senior year of college, at an incredibly inconvenient time. I was fighting tooth and nail to do well in a Statistics class, and I had Jury Duty the same week as an exam that could not be made up. I didn't dare try to defer because I had plans to travel this summer. I had already missed a week of STATS class because of complications from wisdom tooth surgery, and because of Jury Duty I missed the entire week of review for that exam.

I went to Jury Duty, I studied on lunch break in our special little room, and I got a B on the exam. Despite the inconvenience, I'm glad I had to go. I understand a lot better how the justice system works as a result, and I felt good for doing my civic duty. It seems to me if people have to miss work, students should have to miss school. Somebody's gotta do it.
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  #20  
Old 07-20-2007, 08:09 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippy Hollow
There's nothing inherently superior about being a student than being a janitor,
Not superior, different. If you're a janitor, and you get jury duty, your employer can hire another janitor to clean up for the week you're gone. If you're a student, you can't hire someone to take the class, write the paper or learn the material during the week you're gone.

The reality is that the vast majority of working people have the ability to take a week off for vacation (or jury duty) and the situation can be handled in the normal course of business. It's part of the deal when you set up a company to do business in this country, people get vacation, people get jury duty.

Students do not get any dispensation to take a week of vacation mid semester, they do not have any ability to arrange for the work to be done by someone else, and they're paying big bucks to attend the school.

Students should get an automatic deferral to a time when school is out, and should not be required to serve when school is in session.
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  #21  
Old 07-20-2007, 08:25 AM
Ruby Ruby is offline
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Deferral, yes.

Excused, no.

Serving on a jury is a duty of being a member of our civilized society and not to be taken lightly. Our justice system may not be perfect, but it's the best system in the world.
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  #22  
Old 07-20-2007, 09:00 AM
burundi burundi is offline
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Heck, no, although I could see giving a deferral until summer or winter break.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cheesesteak
If you're a janitor, and you get jury duty, your employer can hire another janitor to clean up for the week you're gone.
This works for some jobs, but not all. I work for a large organization, but I'm one of only two people in an office that does fairly specialized work. If I'm out of the office, we don't hire a temp for that period, since the temp wouldn't have a clue what to do.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ruby
Serving on a jury is a duty of being a member of our civilized society and not to be taken lightly.
Absolutely. Jury duty may be inconvenient, but it's the price we all pay for being able to have a jury of our peers.
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  #23  
Old 07-20-2007, 09:04 AM
asterion asterion is online now
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I got a jury duty notice one when I was still in high school. (I was 18 for basically all of my senior year.) I sent it back with a statement to that effect and never heard back. Not even a deferral. Haven't gotten one since.
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  #24  
Old 07-20-2007, 09:38 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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In Harris County (Houston) you can defer jury duty online. I've done it when the timing was inconvenient, work-wise.

Mostly, I just show up at the courthouse, then go home when they've got the jury panels for the day. I've only been selected once--for a civil case that lasted one day. Another time, I got put in a jury panel--but the guy made a deal while we were waiting outside the courtroom.

Surely, the smart college kids can spare a day or two.
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  #25  
Old 07-20-2007, 09:56 AM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delly
Its a legitimate excuse here in Ireland. I used it last year when I was called up.
My co-worker was excused from jury duty, twice, because of exams (Canada).
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  #26  
Old 07-20-2007, 10:44 AM
Paranoid Randroid Paranoid Randroid is offline
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I was called for jury duty this past year, but I was a full-time student with almost a full-time job without a car in a very mass transit-unfriendly place.

So I told 'em. It was deferred until this July, which is almost over -- and they haven't tried to reach me again. I suppose it's just as well, since I'm closing on my house on the third of August and moving six hours away.

Should I have been given this deferment? As far as I'm concerned, yeah; losing my part-time (technically temporary) employment would have meant less money for food, mortgage, electricity. Missing enough lectures in my course of study would have meant terrible confusion for the rest of the semester, at best.

I don't feel terribly bad about it.

Edit: I should note that the amount they were going to pay left a sour taste in my mouth, adding to my inability to feel bad for missing it. It wouldn't have covered bus fare and lunch. Literally.

Last edited by Paranoid Randroid; 07-20-2007 at 10:47 AM..
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  #27  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:09 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix
Since you are in CA, you should be able to ask for a deferral for summertime, spring break, xmas vacation, etc. I know I can.
You can, but let me warn you: the system is woefully unprepared for someone who goes to school in one part of the state and lives in another part of the state while on break. I had to write several letters and make many phone calls, sometimes to people who threatened me with criminal charges, because they couldn't seem to understand that it just wasn't feasible for me to drive 500 miles across the state in the middle of spring break to serve my jury duty.

I did finally "serve" back home, while on break. They sat me on a jury for a trial that was supposed to last 4 months. I got excused, and that was it. I get the summons every year, but I've not yet had to actually go in again.
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  #28  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:30 PM
Small British Shop Owner Small British Shop Owner is offline
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Only a student could possibly think that students work hard!

Absolutely no excuse at all.

But I agree with the post about drinking age, but then again that's not so much of a problem here (although twenty one is starting to come in drips and drabs here, very stupid - the more you treat teenagers like teenagers, the more they will be teenagers and things will be worse for everyone else. We've had twenty four year old prime ministers in the past FFS... Sometimes I think we should stop education between 14 and 16 and put everyone in a job for a couple of years, then aged 16 they can decide what they want to do, will be a much better system. I'll start a great debates thread about this in the next week or so. My, this has turned into a bit of a rant, sorry!)
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  #29  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:33 PM
Small British Shop Owner Small British Shop Owner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
stuff
Were you a British Leyland shop steward?

I agree with you, FWIW, but the way that this was put....
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  #30  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:35 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Small British Shop Owner
Only a student could possibly think that students work hard!


My full intention was to actually stay out of this thread a bit and just read folk's opinions on the question, but I have to say something about this gem.

Did you go to college? Did you have to work full time while doing so? Sure, in a year or two I'll be a full fledged grown up, working full time and paying my bills, but as of right now, I work tons (30 hours a week during school, 45 while school is out), pay my bills, AND go to school full time.

Maybe you didn't work hard while in school (if you went), but I assure you that for some of us it's not uncommon to not be able to sleep more than 5 hours a night, due to working our butts of to get by. I assure you that balancing everything I have to do is just as hard as owning a mini-market that's attached to my home.
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  #31  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:50 PM
Hippy Hollow Hippy Hollow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak
Students do not get any dispensation to take a week of vacation mid semester, they do not have any ability to arrange for the work to be done by someone else, and they're paying big bucks to attend the school.

Students should get an automatic deferral to a time when school is out, and should not be required to serve when school is in session.
Well, that's what I said. I've been a full-time student for the past seven years. It sounds like most jurisdictions make it possible to defer one's time for duty. But students should not be exempt, no.
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  #32  
Old 07-20-2007, 12:52 PM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
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Originally Posted by DiosaBellissima
I assure you that balancing everything I have to do is just as hard as owning a mini-market that's attached to my home.
Have you done that, too?
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  #33  
Old 07-20-2007, 01:38 PM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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Diosa, you need to talk to your professors to make some sort of arrangement about lecture notes and such. Unless there's a can't-miss exam scheduled for that week, there is no excuse not to serve. I also find it hard to believe that your professors won't make some accommodations for that.

In fact, when I got called for jury duty last year, I talked to one of my professors, who agreed to let me discuss my experiences as a juror, the kind of case I sat on, and so forth. His rationale was that the overall experience and civic responsibility of sitting on a jury outweighs missing classes.

Robin
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  #34  
Old 07-20-2007, 01:41 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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I think some of you are mistaken that this is some sort of quandary that I'm presently facing. That's not the case. I've been called every year of college (and my senior year of high school) and each time I have reschedule for summer (but never been needed). I was just citing some experience in the OP, then asking a general poll.

Though I do appreciate the advice . It's all stuff I've done every time I've been called, but maybe it will help someone who doesn't really know and is in the same situation.

Last edited by DiosaBellissima; 07-20-2007 at 01:42 PM..
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  #35  
Old 07-20-2007, 01:57 PM
Jelymag Jelymag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiosaBellissima


My full intention was to actually stay out of this thread a bit and just read folk's opinions on the question, but I have to say something about this gem.

Did you go to college? Did you have to work full time while doing so? Sure, in a year or two I'll be a full fledged grown up, working full time and paying my bills, but as of right now, I work tons (30 hours a week during school, 45 while school is out), pay my bills, AND go to school full time.

Maybe you didn't work hard while in school (if you went), but I assure you that for some of us it's not uncommon to not be able to sleep more than 5 hours a night, due to working our butts of to get by. I assure you that balancing everything I have to do is just as hard as owning a mini-market that's attached to my home.
I'm with you. I worked incredibly hard in college, though most of my peers just played hard. I was working nights at a 24-hour diner and sleeping between classes. While a career and more traditional adult responsibilities aren't easy, it has definitely been less stressful than college usually was.

As far as if a fulltime student should be an excuse, I don't disagree that everyone is obligated to do their duty, whether they are a student or an employee, but I have two things I'm considering. One is that many students go to school very far from where their legal residence is. It is unfair to ask someone to travel to Wisconsin if they go to school in New York, both practically and financially. And the other thing is that while you are getting paid to be an employee, you are spending money to go to school. While many trials are only a couple of days, some are for weeks. I would be very upset to be spending money on an education that I couldn't be taking advantage of. All of that said, most students I know who were called got a deferral.
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  #36  
Old 07-20-2007, 03:25 PM
Small British Shop Owner Small British Shop Owner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiosaBellissima


My full intention was to actually stay out of this thread a bit and just read folk's opinions on the question, but I have to say something about this gem.

Did you go to college? Did you have to work full time while doing so? Sure, in a year or two I'll be a full fledged grown up, working full time and paying my bills, but as of right now, I work tons (30 hours a week during school, 45 while school is out), pay my bills, AND go to school full time.

Maybe you didn't work hard while in school (if you went), but I assure you that for some of us it's not uncommon to not be able to sleep more than 5 hours a night, due to working our butts of to get by. I assure you that balancing everything I have to do is just as hard as owning a mini-market that's attached to my home.
Forty five hours is tons*?

No, dear, it isn't. A typical day for me in the shop beings at five thirty AM, out at around the same PM, and no lunch break.

Previously I worked much longer hours. But when I was a student, I did fuck all. In fact, we weren't even allowed to work.

It felt like a lot at the time though.

*Maybe I should say "tonnes" now, what with metrication and all that.
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  #37  
Old 07-20-2007, 04:07 PM
Kalypso Kalypso is offline
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I think college students should be allowed to defer until break. I was once called and actually made it into the jury box for a weeks-long trial while taking hard upper division courses that were only offered once every two years. I explained the situation to the judge, and both attorneys simultaneously excused me.

I agree with the person who mentioned that you are paying to go to college. I've seen people excused because they had nonrefundable plane tickets, how is college different form that?

Last edited by _bec_; 07-20-2007 at 04:10 PM.. Reason: adding more
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  #38  
Old 07-20-2007, 05:26 PM
Voyager Voyager is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn
Diosa, you need to talk to your professors to make some sort of arrangement about lecture notes and such. Unless there's a can't-miss exam scheduled for that week, there is no excuse not to serve. I also find it hard to believe that your professors won't make some accommodations for that.

Robin
Hard to do that for labs, or for classes where class discussion is important. But I agree with those who say students should be deferred, not excused.

I never got called in NJ, but here - well, if I were as popular with women before I got married as I seem to be with judges and lawyers, I would have had a hell of a good time.
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  #39  
Old 07-20-2007, 05:52 PM
Apollo's Towel Apollo's Towel is offline
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People get called as students and have to serve in the middle of the semester? I've never heard of that before. Absolutely had to show up to fill out the juror's eligibility form or whatever the heck that was called, but as soon as I said I was a full time grad student I was told I'd be deferred until after I graduated - more than 3 years in the future!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3
the system is woefully unprepared for someone who goes to school in one part of the state and lives in another part of the state while on break. I had to write several letters and make many phone calls, sometimes to people who threatened me with criminal charges, because they couldn't seem to understand that it just wasn't feasible for me to drive 500 miles across the state in the middle of spring break to serve my jury duty.
Do you mean, you were called for duty where you were going to school? Can I ask how that situation should even come up? I thought one was only allowed to serve in their place of legal residence, in which case your address at school shouldn't count.

Heck, a few years back I changed residences, which were not very far apart but did involve crossing county lines. Not long after I got called for jury duty in my former county of residence, and I was having a hard time coming to an agreement with a woman at the county courthouse over what would be acceptable evidence of my new address (since none of the utilities were in my name). Out of exasperation I told her fine, I'll come serve, I've never served on a jury before and I wouldn't mind... and then she got all huffy and said if I wasn't a resident any more, my serving would be illegal.
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  #40  
Old 07-20-2007, 05:54 PM
Apollo's Towel Apollo's Towel is offline
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Meant to add, I was once called for jury duty in federal court while I was out of the country for three months. My dad wrote back to tell them I was away, and I never heard from them again...
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  #41  
Old 07-20-2007, 06:53 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollo's Towel
Do you mean, you were called for duty where you were going to school? Can I ask how that situation should even come up? I thought one was only allowed to serve in their place of legal residence, in which case your address at school shouldn't count.
That was exactly the problem: I changed my legal residence to my school address when I went to school. At the time, my thinking was that I was going to be living there more than at my parents' homes and that I wanted to vote on local issues there.

A bit of advice to those heading off to college. Don't do this. It's not worth the tremendous hassle that jury duty will present.

Here's a brief summary of what happened to me. I got called for jury duty at school, called in and explained my situation. They said write a letter saying when/where I could serve. I did so. When I got home for Christmas, there was a summons waiting for me (purely by coincidence, but I didn't know that). I went, served, got dismissed, then returned to school. A month later, got another summons, spoke to a very mean woman who didn't believe me, claimed that I was lying to avoid jury duty, and threatened to have the police arrest me if I didn't show up on a particular date, wrote another letter, called a dozen more times, each time speaking to someone different who gave me new and conflicting directions, and ended up having to get the county clerk in my home county to send an official letter saying I'd served to the LA county clerk. And then I changed my legal residence back to my mother's house.
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  #42  
Old 07-20-2007, 08:43 PM
Turek Turek is offline
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Location: Inara's shuttle
Posts: 3,294
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paranoid Randroid
Edit: I should note that the amount they were going to pay left a sour taste in my mouth, adding to my inability to feel bad for missing it. It wouldn't have covered bus fare and lunch. Literally.
The American People would like to apologize for not compensating you fairly for performing your civic duty.
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  #43  
Old 07-21-2007, 10:19 AM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Small British Shop Owner
Forty five hours is tons*?

No, dear, it isn't. A typical day for me in the shop beings at five thirty AM, out at around the same PM, and no lunch break.

45 hours on top of a full course load. Significantly more than "just" 45 hours.

Dear.
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