How to Get Out of Jury Duty in Massachusetts

The best way to not get chosen to be on a jury

Remember the fact that your preliminary jury responsibility summons is just for attending jury choice day, not the jury service itself. For those who can’t get out of attending jury choice, listed below are some concepts to ensure no lawyer desires you of their courtroom.


Be overly enthusiastic

Strive somewhat reverse psychology and act such as you actually need to be on this jury. Attorneys usually keep away from people who appear overly keen, since that kind of juror might doubtlessly have an agenda in thoughts earlier than even listening to the case.

Have your thoughts made up

For those who in truth have a stance that pertains to the case, make it clear. As an illustration, when you’ve been wronged by an insurance coverage firm prior to now, then you definitely shouldn’t be part of a case that offers with insurance coverage.

Be an “professional” of some variety

Attorneys need to have the ability to mildew jurors’ minds. For those who’re in a position to convey that you simply’re already an professional on some problem associated to the case, likelihood is that you simply’ll be dismissed.

Point out veto rights

For those who get chosen for jury responsibility, that is your final shot. The presiding decide asks you to swear that you’ll attain a verdict on the case based mostly on the deserves of the information introduced to you in court docket by the prosecution and protection groups. You may refuse to swear to this dedication. Inform the decide about your respectable veto rights as a juror, which signifies that it’s the jury’s proper to discover a verdict as they see match. This is named “jury nullification,” and whereas it’s completely authorized, it’s a ache to the prosecution and the court docket.



How Are Individuals Chosen for Jury Obligation?

Some folks suppose that they’re simply plain unfortunate after they get the jury summons within the mail.

In a means, that’s partly true. Potential jurors are randomly chosen from the pool.

Because of this some folks can get jury responsibility twice in a brief time frame, whereas others might not be known as for over a decade, and even in any respect. The choice system is totally random.

Sadly, for some, it signifies that they are going to be known as for civil circumstances or a felony case on the worst attainable time. The one restriction is that you simply can not obtain a jury summons twice inside a 12-month span.

As you see, there isn’t a rhyme or cause for when you might get a jury summons. The method is designed to be as random as attainable.

4. Plead hardship

Say it might be difficult for you to serve on a lo
Say it is likely to be tough so that you can serve on an extended trial. | 3drenderings/iStock/Getty Photos

Utilizing the hardship excuse is a effective line to stroll — for many, hardship signifies that being known as to serve on a multi-day or multi-week trial can be not possible from a monetary standpoint. Personal employers don’t usually pay for missed days of labor that you simply accrue whereas serving on a jury and the stipend you obtain from the court docket may be very minimal.

In case you have 10 youngsters at house and no babysitter or if you’re the only monetary supplier for your loved ones and might’t afford to overlook work, then this excuse is truthful. However when you’re a retiree who believes it might be a “hardship” to overlook your afternoon cleaning soap operas, neglect it.

Subsequent: Be vocal about your bias.

How Lengthy Can You Count on to Serve on a Jury?

It utterly is determined by the kind of case which you might be assigned. You may obtain civil or felony jury responsibility.

Simply because your task is civil doesn’t imply that it is going to be for a shorter time frame. Jurors usually serve weeks on a posh civil case when there’s a high-stakes trial.

There are some jury circumstances that could possibly be achieved in a really quick time frame, whilst little as a day.

The defendant might even change their plea to responsible in some unspecified time in the future throughout the proceedings.

However, some felony trials can final weeks or months.

You could even finish of sequestered and away from your loved ones, relying on whether or not the decide believes that you’ll want to be lower off from the skin works with a purpose to render an neutral verdict in a trial.

Working Collectively: Choose and Jury

The decide determines the suitable regulation that ought to be utilized to the case and the jury finds the information within the case based mostly on what’s introduced to them throughout the proceedings.

On the finish of a trial, the decide instructs the jury on the relevant regulation. Whereas the jury should obey the decide’s directions as to the regulation, the jury alone is accountable for figuring out the information of the case.

The Choice Course of

Juror Choice

Receiving a summons for jury responsibility doesn’t imply that you’ll truly serve on a jury. Nevertheless, if you’re certified to serve and you don’t ask to be excused or exempted, it is possible for you to to take part within the jury choice course of which can take solely a day or a fraction of a day to finish. The method begins as teams of potential jurors, normally numbering fifty to sixty in district courts, are assembled in a courtroom with the decide, the legal professionals, and normally the events of a selected case. Attorneys then conduct what known as voir dire (which implies to talk the reality), which permits the legal professionals and the decide to have the chance to ask every potential juror a collection of questions. Whereas the legal professionals are conscious of your solutions to the questionnaire that you simply crammed out earlier, the legal professionals and the decide should still ask you among the similar questions and a few extra questions to make sure that you’re certainly certified to serve, and that you’re certainly in a position to carry out your civic responsibility in a good and neutral method. After questioning the possible jurors, the legal professionals and the events they characterize shall be given the chance to make any challenges for trigger and peremptory challenges to particular person potential jurors (see definitions). In any case challenges are utilized, a jury with one to 4 alternates is impaneled to listen to the proof within the case.

Juror Oath

In some unspecified time in the future throughout the jury choice course of, potential jurors are given an oath by which they swear or affirm to inform the reality when answering questions on their {qualifications} as jurors.

Size of Obligation

The size of jury service will fluctuate significantly for summoned jurors. Whereas the jury choice course of might require your attendance for a day or a fraction of a day, jury responsibility usually lasts about one week. Nevertheless, the bulk, normally greater than two-thirds, of all summoned jurors are NOT truly chosen for service, due to this fact, their responsibility ends after a short while with the completion of the jury choice course of. For these jurors who’re chosen to serve in a jury panel, the decide and the attorneys might be able to estimate how lengthy that exact trial will final.


Sadly, potential jurors who seem and take part within the jury choice course of will spend a substantial amount of time ready. Though the courts make each effort to keep away from delays, they often will happen. If a delay happens when you are current for jury service, please attempt to be affected person with the court docket workers. Relaxation assured that there’s normally a legitimate cause for any delays and the decide is conscious that you’re ready. Additionally, attempt to preserve an open thoughts about your jury service and keep in mind that you’re taking part in a vital position in our justice system.

Jury Pool to Jury Field

Being summoned for jury service doesn’t assure that an individual will truly serve on a jury. When a jury is required for a trial, the group of certified jurors is taken to the courtroom the place the trial will happen. The decide and the attorneys then ask the potential jurors questions to find out their suitability to serve on the jury, a course of known as voir dire. The aim of voir dire is to exclude from the jury individuals who might not have the ability to determine the case pretty. Members of the panel who know any particular person concerned within the case, who’ve details about the case, or who might have robust prejudices concerning the folks or points concerned within the case, usually shall be excused by the decide. The attorneys additionally might exclude a sure variety of jurors with out giving a cause.

9. Voice your robust opinions about law enforcement officials

Any bias might get you off a jury. | Chip Somodevi
Any bias would possibly get you off a jury. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Photos

Whether or not you like them or hate them, admitting any sort of bias towards law enforcement will make sure you gained’t get picked for jury responsibility. It’s unwise to lie within the courtroom — however when you’re extraordinarily pro- or anti-police, be sure you make that identified throughout the jury choice.

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