No Jury Service

I didn’t want to hijack the other jury service thread with this question. I’ve voted in every election since I’ve registered in the 1990s. However, my father, my mother and sister might vote maybe when there’s a gubernatorial or presidental election. California gets its jury pool from the voters roll and DMV records. Yet, I’ve only been called to jury service once in the 90’s (and immediately excused by the clerk for financial reasons at the check-in within 5 mins) while they have been called repeatedly. My sister has been summoned 5 times in the past 8 years and served twice, my mother was removed the list due to health reasons for the 3 times, that I’m aware of, she was summoned while my father was excused five times, that I’m aware of, for financial reasons. Supposedly, the jury selection is random, but what can explain this discrepancy?

Random chance.

Have your parents and/or sister moved more often than you? If they registered to vote at their new address and forgot to cancel the old one they might get called for service by multiple counties.

My MIL gets called up all the damn time- like every single year for the last 6 or 7. Could it be her age? She is Medicare-eligible and maybe they think it’s more likely that she’ll appear…

I have only been called three times in my life, and once it was after I had left the state in question! Ironically, I am the only person in my family who actually wants to serve. My husband also never gets called, but because he can’t be automatically excluded, if they ever do come calling he’ll have to show up and wait all day before being excused- he is a former DA and most attorneys don’t want him on their jury.

In the eight years that I lived in San Diego County, I was never called.

In the nineteen years that I have lived in Santa Barbara County, I’ve been called several times but only served on one jury. It really is random chance. The person who gives the little speech in the jury room when we first all assemble always addresses that. “I know that some of you seem to get called every year while your spouse/friends/co-workers have never been called but it’s all done randomly by a computer…”

We’ve lived in Arizona for 14 years, and I’ve never been called. My wife did get a summons a couple of years ago, but as AZ has a law that people over 70 don’t have to serve, she filled out the form and will never be called again. It is ironic, as I don’t mind going if I get a summons, but never have.

I did read somewhere once that governments are wary of people who volunteer to serve as they may be weirdos or “send 'em all to jail” types.

When I just was called for jury service a couple months ago (didn’t get on the jury), the jury coordinator gave a speech to everybody who was there. The answer was actually given in the first reply to your question: Random chance.

I am going to jury service tomorrow (having rescheduled from late January due to job needs), and this has earlier led me to marveling about how frequently I have received jury service notices, and yet other people I know say they have never gotten such a notice.

I don’t mind being called at all, mind you. I’m just astounded by how often it’s happened.

I seem to get the notices every two to three years, roughly. (Don’t ask me for specifics; my memory for dates is miserable.)

As a side note, I’ve only been placed on a single jury, and that was during the one and only time (during the mid 1980s) I had federal jury service. Every time I’ve gone to the county courthouse and been questioned for a jury I seem to be the first or one of the first members of the panel to get removed from the panel by one of the attorneys.

I lived here in Schenectady at the same address for at least a decade before I was summoned to jury duty. Now I seem to get a summons every five years or so. They do have a rule that if you’re called and dismissed, they can’t call your for a set time period.

If you show up, even if you aren’t seated, you are excused from showing up again for 18 months (CA). They might send you another summons within that time period, but you just fill in your date of prior service and that’s it.

That varies by county. It’s 12 months here.

I have my summons right here, and it sez regarding this:

  • If you were a sworn trial or alternate juror within the past 3 years, you can request to be excused.
  • If you were a prospective juror for at least one day within the last 12 months, you can request to be excused.

That’s how it is in your county.

I just pulled mine out of the drawer. In Santa Barbara County is says as one of the requests for deferral:

“I request that I be excused for service because I served on a trial jury or was summoned and appeared for jury service in any state or federal court within the last 12 months.”

There is the “official” way and the “real” way. I recall an article in the Chicago Tribune, where they found that if you neglect to answer your jury notice in Cook County a few times, they simply remove your name from the list.

What happens then is the people that have already served on a jury will probably be called again. Thus how it actually works out is that people willing to serve will be called more often.

It’s very costly and time consuming for the county to call people who don’t want to serve and will simply be dismissed by either prosecuting or defending attorney. If you think about it, those people still cost the county money, they don’t give anything back as the county will have to get more jurors that are acceptable to both lawyers and it backlogs the cases.

Alameda County is the same way.

To a certain extent the answer is random chance. I lived in NJ for 15 years, voted in every election, and never got called. I was in California for about 5 before I got my first summons. However, after that it is no longer random. When I actually served, the judge said that people on juries get called pretty much every year, since we have proven to be reliable. That has seemed to be the case for me.

And the jury coordinator specifically told us that ignoring the jury notice will definitely not get you excused here – you’ll still get called in.

Good God, David B, as I live and breathe! Welcome back! It is nice to see someone from the good old days floating around here again. :slight_smile:

Jury commissioners have become much more active in rounding up jurors according to the way things are supposed to be, not the way things kind of devolved into over time many places. It is amazing what variations random chance manage to put into the pattern of being called or not. Often, it will have something to do with the size of your county.

I’ve been called three times in the last 44 years, and appeared each time. I’m perfectly willing to serve, and find it quite interesting and enjoyable. My wife, who HATES it, gets called about once every two years. Finally she has developed a hearing problem so her doctor writes an excuse letter each time, but the summons keep coming.

BTW the first time I was called, got on the jury for two dandy cases. Assault with an axe, and a stabbing on 1st Ave in Seattle. Found both the defendants guilty, too. And came out of the experience with a much higher regard for the court system than I had when I went in.

I’ve been registered to vote since I was 18 – 15 years now – and have never gotten a jury summons! I would be very interested to be on a jury and am dismayed that I have never been called. I live in a fairly small county too, so it’s always been very curious to me as to why I have never been called. I know it’s supposed to be random choice, but I am skeptical.

I just finished my first jury duty at age 51 - a 12-count 1st-degree murder case (if you’re in Minnesota you’ll know which case I’m talking about).

It was fascinating, but I’m wondering if I get called up again, will I be excused since this was a long and highly publicized case?

I’ve been registered to vote since 1984 and have never been summonsed for jury service. Ever. Feh. I’d love to serve, but have never had the opportunity. My wife has been summonsed twice, but both times were just after she’d given birth, and she was excused.