jury duty rant

I respect the jury system. I believe we all must do our part to ensure we all have access to a fair jury of our peers.

In fact, I have served on a jury twice. The first time was a deadly dull civil case with days-long testimony from various bank loan officers. Both sides were scum-bags. The whole case lasted almost a month. The second time was a fascinating case of accused insurance fraud. That trial lasted about 2 weeks. The insurance comapny was just trying to get out of paying a legitimate claim.

In both cases I willingly put my life on hold for a few weeks to try to decide the case fairly.

So today I got a jury summons. I am now a stay at home mom to 3 pre-school aged children (and I’m pregnant with a 4th). There is no other child care.

So I look under the ‘Excuses’ section of the summons, figuring there must be a way to get out of this. The ONLY acceptable excuses are: you’re not a US citizen, you are under 18, you are a convicted felon, you don’t understnd English, or you suffer from some terrible physical or mental illness.

I’m sure if I go and plead to a judge I could be excused. But that involves getting someone to look after the children. Then I have to haul my morning-sick and sleepy first trimester self downtown to park in some overpriced lot. The summons carefully explains you aren’t allowed to wear shorts (it’s 103 degees today). Then, if past experience is any indicator, I would wait, go into this other room and wait, get divided up and wait, then wait some more. Finally I spend 30 seconds talking to a judge and be dismissed home.

There’s gotta be a better way.


Ya know - I bet if you went down there with the 3 kids in tow you’d get out a heck of a lot faster. Just a thought.

FWIW - I think it would be cool to do jury duty, but I’ve never been called. Oh well. I’m sure my time will come soon enough.

You’re right there has to be a way. I would call the courthouse or whatever and ask. I know one of my friends got a jury summons while she was 600 miles away from home at college and was able to get out of it.

You might try wearing shorts.

Good idea Some Guy but the jury duty handbook says,

“Because jurors are officers of the court, we request that you dress appropriately. Shorts,miniskirts, t-shirts …and other informal attire are not considered appropriate in the courtroom setting. If you appear wearing these or other items deemed unsuitable for attending court, you may be required to return home at your own expense to change to more suitable attire…
When you come to jury service… dress appropriately for the
weather, because you may be sent to a different courthouse.”

Dress appropratly for the 103 degree weather, but don’t wear shorts or t-shirts. Or else you have to go home and change and come back.


Autz, fill out the jury reply form and put in there all your reasons you can’t attend. I did that once when I was pregnant (yeah RIGHT like a pregnant woman is going to be able to sit for hours of testimony without having to go pee!!).

Once after I’d had my son and was nursing, and once when he was a bit older but I had no automobile and lived 20 miles from the town in which the summons was issued.

All three times they excused me in writing without question. I hope that helps. If all else fails just answer the voir dire with prejudicial answers, that’ll get you axed quickly.

autz, I feel your pain - I see that you’re here in the Entrance to Hell, same as me. Trust me, folks, you have no idea how bass-ackwards Tucson can be when it comes to things like Jury Duty, parking garages…hell, even getting the 1-way street thing right is a challenge for our City Fathers/Mothers. Guys, this is a city that gets great monsoon-season floods several times a year and STILL doesn’t have a proper drainage/run-off system!

Believe me, they WON’T allow you to wear shorts, or a tank top, or “flip-flop” sandals - they send you home to change & make you come back! Watched this happen to a woman in '90 when we had our record-making 117 degree summer. And trying to park downtown…fuggedaboutit. It’s nuts, I tell you, NUTS!

Congrats on the pending arrival, autz, and keep your chin up - maybe you’ll get a kindly judge (yeah, right) who’ll take pity on you and let you go.

Bit drastic, but go commit a felony and beat jury duty that way.
Of course, then you’ll end up on the other side of the jury.

Hey Autz, this might be different stateside, but arnt you allowd so many passes on jury duty? Maybe three times? Im not sur ef its different in the states, but as far as i know i think you can, and anyway if your not, the kids thing should be reason enough to get out of there. Good luck with it.

Hey Autz, this might be different stateside, but arnt you allowd so many passes on jury duty? Maybe three times? Im not sure if its different in the states, but as far as I know I think you can, and anyway if your not entitled to skip, the kids thing should be reason enough to get out of there. Good luck with it.

Aww Crap, cant belive it submitted the ones with the typos, sorry about that :rolleyes:

Here in NJ, among the valid reasons to be excused from jury duty is having the primary responsibility for the care of a minor child. Used it myself.

Does it have to be a “terrible” illness? Could you send a doctor’s note saying that it would be dangerous for you since you are PG? Arizona must be very strict!

Yeah, I got jury duty a couple of months ago, and there were quite a few ways to get out of it in TX, including if you were a student currently attending classes, over a certain age, or the primary caregiver for a child or other person unable to take care of themselves, without a way of getting temporary care. I find it hard to believe they don’t have such a provision.

I got a postponement once for six months, for a very broken and post-surgical leg which I had to keep elevated at all times, and which obviously kept me from driving my stick-shift car. They didn’t ask for a doctor’s note or anything; I just told them I’d just gotten out of the hospital, and they postponed me 6 months, no questions asked.

I bet they’d be sympathetic to your situation. It can’t hurt to try.

I recently got summoned to appear for jury selection on the day that I was flying out of town to attend a wedding. In order to show up to be dismissed I would’ve given up a non-refundable air ticket and missed the wedding. I called the number on the summons and was told to write a letter to the judge. I was dismissed.
Call ASAP to allow time for the bureaucracy, and if you send a letter, send it “signature required” (it costs about 50 cents).

IANA lawyer, jury duty employee, etc.

Now, I know you’re in Pima County and it’s a different county, and you could well be in a court besides Superior Court, but looking at jury duty information for Maricopa County Superior Court, it says that a juror may be excused if “Must provide actual and necessary care for another and alternate arrangements are not feasible.”

I would love to be called for Jury Duty. I look forward to it.

If the Judge doesn’t let you off the hook go into voir dire, raise your hand and ask “Are we allowed to use the death penalty for this case?” Do it even if it’s a bank suing someone over bad checks. You’ll be struck immediately :slight_smile:

Taking the kids with you is a good idea, too.

Spare a thought for the apocryphal rascal who scrawled this graffiti in the mens’ toilet of the pub opposite the Court he was due for trial in later that day :

“Help! I’m being tried by twelve people too stupid to get out of jury service!”

Probably not a good idea – someone tried this a few years ago (I’ve since lost the cite) and got in a heap of trouble – fines, threats of jail time, etc.