I got called for jury duty

This is a first for me. I’m not opposed to serving on a jury, as I see it as a civic duty, and a serious responsibility. I respect the justice system, and if I’m required to make this contribution to it, I’m willing to do so.

But my job is such that if I’m gone for any length of time, the work just goes undone. I’m responsible every month for completing all the assignments for my route, and we don’t have guys who fill in for vacations or sick days or jury duty. I have to make them up somehow.

And even if someone else did do my services for me, I wouldn’t be paid for them.

So jury duty is something I respect and take seriously, but it still sucks.

That sucks, indeed, Dave. Maybe you’ll be lucky and not get picked. I did get picked, but the morning of the trial, just as I was getting good and interested in the procedings, the judge called a mistrial because the defendant had a mental/emotional breakdown of some sort and wasn’t competent to participate in his own defense at the time…so I got to go back to work.

Been there, Dave. I got called several times when I had my own company.

I’ve pondered before what happens if you get stuck on the jury of one of these massive civil suits where the trial lasts for months. Ack!

Only thing to do is suck it in and show up. Good luck, pal!

[Homer Simpson]

The trick is to say that you’re prejudiced against all races.

[/Homer Simpson]

But seriously, just because you got called up for it, it doesn’t mean you’ll be choosen. They pick the juries out of a pool, and if you have a valid reason, you’ll most likely be dismissed.

Well Dave, having just been through jury duty on October 8th (it wasn’t so bad, btw–there’s a post somewhere here in MPSIMS about it too), I can share a few things with you:

If you get picked for a civil case, they don’t need a 12 person jury, only 6. Er, at least, they only need 6 in the county I live in, in Maryland, that is. Our pool was 18. During the “voir dire,” the judge asks questions, and also tries to determine if anyone has a good reason for not being on the jury (conflict of interest, medical reasons, etc.). Then, the plaintiff and defense select the jurors. If you’re not selected, I think you can leave then, but am not sure, since I was selected. Fortunately, the case was a quick one, and we had rendered a verdict before noon, believe it or not. According to the courts, I shouldn’t have to do jury duty for another three years. LOL We’ll see about that! Oh and last week I got a thank you letter from the judge, which really surprised me. Yeah, I enjoyed doing my civic duty. I don’t want to have to do it again, though, at least not until I have to. :stuck_out_tongue:

Go in there and be prejudiced against whatever the Defendant is (white, black, Native American, drunk driver, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, etc.). Tell 'em you can’t stand “those people” and you couldn’t be fair if chosen for jury duty.

Actually, it would be easier to just tell the truth and explain your job situation to them. The court people are well aware of such economic issues, and often willing to make arrangements for people who tell them that up front. (If it’s true! They also hear a lot of fake excuses. They DO check your story out!)

Also lawyers are aware that someone worried about the income they are losing and the work that is piling up for them is not likely to be the most attentive & careful juror, and so might be more likely to ask that you be excused from the jury.

Finally, telling them (under oath) a bunch of lies about being prejudiced against all kinds of people is risky. Judges deal with jury selection nearly every day, and get pretty good at picking out people who are lying. And that is contempt of court, and it too can get you time off work without pay, but 10 days in jail will be a lot less fun than 10 days on jury duty!

How is a judge gonna prove that you’re NOT prejudiced?

First, all kidding aside, I wouldn’t go in there and lie about being prejudiced about certain people. Unless one of the attorneys thought I would give undue credence to certain testimony over others (which caused my father to be dismissed – he said he’d take a cop’s testimony over another person’s because cops are trained in observation, whereas your average joe isn’t), I wouldn’t be influenced by a person’s race or religion or age. (I’ve always liked the idea of telling them that I’m in favor of the death penalty for parking violations, though.)

Depending on the length of the trial, I wouldn’t be losing that much income or catch-up time in my job, either. I do four weeks’ worth of work in three when I take my vacation, so losing one or two days might not matter, especially at the beginning of the month. Also, while my income is an important contribution to my household’s coffers, it’s not the primary source of income. My wife makes a good deal more than I do, and she’s salaried, not commission.

The other thing is, asking for a postponement isn’t a good idea, either. My business (Pest Control) is seasonal, and the season is winding down in New York in November. So things are slow. If I ask for a postponement, I’m liable to be called again in the spring, which would really screw things up. I’m just hoping I don’t get picked.

Go get 'em, DAVEW0071. We need more intelligent people on juries. Go in there with enthusiasm! Do some good for society!

I had to go to jury duty last Spring. I’d gotten notices three times before, but never had to go.
Here in Baltimore, we get a jury duty notice with a selection number on it, and we have to call in the day before and see if our number is selected. The three previous times, my number wasn’t selected, but this past Spring, it was.

It wasn’t too bad. We ended up just sitting in the jury room all morning. We never even went into the courtroom. The cases were all settled or dismissed, and we were all sent home at noon. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I wanted to see what happened inside the courtroom.

I basically sat and read for three hours and got paid $15 for doing nothing.
I was reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods and kept giggling out loud, so I probably wouldn’t have been picked anyway. I’m sure everyone thought I was nuts.

I got my summons for the week of November 17th. Actually, it’s my follow up summons. I was originally assigned to the September 15th pool, but my company (all 4 of us!) was scheduled to move our office that week so the government deferred me for 60 days. It’s not the first time I’ve been called (3rd actually) but it’s the first time at this comapny and I don’t know how they handle jury duty time. Guess I’d better be finding out!

I’ve never been called, and I don’t know why.

I vote in all the elections, I have lived in my house for years, and I have never been called on. My wife - twice. Go figure.


Dave, the odds are against you actually being empanelled. You might lose a day or two sitting around the jury pool, and maybe even going through the selection process, but you might have 1 chance in 4 or 5 of having to sit.

Go, and be up front and honest about your situation. The last thing any side wants is a jurist who has other stuff on his mind.

I got out of federal grand jury duty this fall by simply answering on the questionnaire that I was unemployed (at the time) and actively job hunting. The odd part was that I wasn’t asking to be excused, just for some understanding of my situation by the court.

The judge doesn’t need to prove anything. He’s the judge, not the prosecutor. The judge just needs to believe that you’re F’ing with him in his courtroom to make an example of you.

You’re going to be sworn in before being asked asked questions to determine whether you have a bias or other disqualifying characteristic. In short, SnoopyFan’s advice – that you commit perjury – is terrible, terrible advice.

In my experience, potential jurors will be asked a lot of questions to determine bias, and then they will all be asked whether anyone has any other reason they can’t serve as a juror on this case. My advice is to be honest. Don’t be scared to speak up. You may not be disqualified for that reason, but I’ve been in courtrooms where the judge made perfectly clear to the attorneys that this or that person will still not be serving on the panel.

Lots of ideas and links, including some quite entertaining ones, here

Two people I worked with got called for jury duty the same day in the same court.

When the judge found out they knew each other, he dismissed both of them.

Not sure this helps.

Ok, probably doesn’t

Why are people so interested in not serving? It’s part of the responsibility of being a citizen. DAVEW0071, it is your boss’s responsibility to have your work covered.

qts, it doesn’t quite work that way in my line of work. In pest control, it doesn’t pay to have a “floater” who just fills in the gaps if someone is sick or on vacation, or called for jury duty. And pulling another technician of his regular route to fill in on another route just doesn’t make sense.

In a pinch, another technician might pick up a couple of stops, and managers, will do the same, but it’s not something that’s done over the long haul.

Besides, I said in my OP that I wasn’t opposed to serving, I was only acknowledging that it was a bit of a pickle for me.

no worries dave, if you get picked. most cases don’t last longer than a few days. unless you remember a big murder case, or a really complicated robbery in your area in the last year or two, there won’t be a chance of being sequestered. most judges hate even mentioning it. court hours tend to be shorter that the average 9-5. you may even be able to reshedule around the court times.

9 times out of 10 you don’t get picked to sit the jury. there are quite a few factors that will get you knocked off. knowing someone who is involved in the trial, sometimes even knowing or having a lawyer in your family is enough to toss you.

it is really a facinating thing seeing how the courts work. enjoy your time there.