What to expect on the day of your jury service

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8. I am a student. What about school?

Students are not exempt from jury duty. You may request a postponement of your service to the next school break. We strongly recommend that you consult your school calendar before postponing your service.

Contact

Phone Juror helpline (toll-free in Massachusetts) (800) 843-5879 (THE-JURY) Monday-Friday 9 am – 4:30 pm Delinquent jurors (877) 966-7469 From outside Massachusetts (617) 338-6409 Address Street Address 560 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02118 Directions  Mailing Address 560 Harrison Ave., Suite 600 Boston, MA 02118 Directions 

How to apply

Select the ‘Apply online’ button. Enter your Juror number. Enter your date of birth. Select ‘Log in’. Select ‘I need to be excused from Jury Duty’. Complete all fields and upload your supporting documents. Submit your application.

Eligibility

In terms of the Jury Amendment Act 2010, you may have ‘good cause’ to be excused if: jury service would cause undue hardship or serious inconvenience to you or your family you have a disability that makes you unsuitable or incapable of effectively serving as a juror, without reasonable accommodation there is a conflict of interest or some other knowledge, acquaintance, or friendship that you have, which may result in your being perceived as lacking impartiality as a juror you have a permanent mental or physical impairment that makes you incapable of doing jury service, or that would injure your health if you were to do jury service. The sheriff may also consider excusing you in other circumstances, including if you: are a sole trader or contractor have care of school aged children and are unable to make other care arrangements are in an advanced stage of pregnancy and/or are having medical difficulties during your pregnancy have a medical condition which would make Jury service onerous are an emergency service operational employee are enrolled in education and need to attend lectures or exams, or you’re living outside your jury district to undertake your studies have a mental or physical impairment are absent from New South Wales have transport difficulties, such as unsuitable or unavailable public transport are unable to read and understand English.

Questions Answers

Question: Can a person get out of jury duty if they are the primary caregiver for their disabled parents?

Answer: Yes! I have seen that same excuse used many times with success in the past. This is especially true if you are able to articulate why only you can provide the level of care necessary for your disabled parents.

For example, you may be the only reasonable person to provide this care if there is special training that you have had on how to care for their specific condition, how to administer medications, or any other special knowledge you have that cannot be easily taken over by someone else.

Consider all the reasons why it might be detrimental to the care of your parents if someone else, who was not familiar with their specialized care requirements, took over while you were serving on the jury. Articulate this to the judge and you have a very high likelihood of being excused.

Just be prepared for when the judge asks you, "Who is caring for them now while you are in court today?" and the follow up question of "Why can't they care for your parents while you are serving as a juror?"

Question: Can I be excused from serving jury duty if my ex-boyfriend works for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)?

Answer: You can be, it's really up to the judge. This will likely heavily depend on what your relationship is like currently, if he discusses the cases, he works on with you, and how that has affects you.

As an example: if you made the case that the two of you have a long history together, you are still friends who talk almost daily, he often tells you all the details of the cases he works, you often experience a high level of anxiety about his safety on the job, and this has caused you a high level of sympathy for those in law enforcement, then you very well may be excused. This is especially true if you feel like you can't be impartial with your judgment of the accused due to your history with your former boyfriend.

You will still need to go to court on the first day and explain this to the judge in open court. Make sure you aren't shy about explaining your situation in detail. The better you do explaining your situation, the better the judge and lawyers can decide if you should be excused or not.

Question: Is it legal to only be paid $13 a day for jury duty (the judge said that's all we'd get) while not being excused? I'm a single working mom and can't afford to miss work.

Answer: Is it legal? Yes, it is. Is it right? That's a different question.

Here's the deal, if the judge told you this then that is your answer. He or she will not excuse you because you are a single working mom and can't afford to miss work.

Now, if you inform the judge that you respect that answer and fully understand the court's decision but you don't believe you would be able to focus on the case due to the stress you'll be feeling from the financial burden being there will cause your family, you may get a different answer.

Here's the thing, if you inform a judge that you will not be able to focus on the evidence being presented or make a sound decision based only on the evidence due to your mental state, they'd be risking a mistrial by keeping you on the jury.

Even if the judge still insisted that you stay, I'm sure the attorneys would be very eager to eliminate you during the juror selection process.

Question: Is not having transportation to and from court a valid reason to get out of jury duty?

Answer: I have never seen this excuse work in the courts. I'm not saying that it can't, but you'd probably need to have a very convincing reason as to why you wouldn't be able to get to court.

If you attempt to use this reason for not being able to serve on a jury, be ready for follow up questions from the judge such as:

– Why are you unable to use a friend, family member, public transportation, a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or some other means to get to court?

– How did you get to court today (if you make this excuse in person to the judge)?

If you have a disability in some way that would prevent you from getting to court by any of the means mentioned above, you may have some success. If this is the case, call the court before your scheduled appearance date and see if you can be excused without making an in-person appearance.

Question: Am I eligible to serve on a jury if I have received a deferred sentence in the past?

Answer: Although every state is slightly different, if you have any felony convictions then you are likely disqualified. There are also certain misdemeanors that will disqualify you in some states, but those are somewhat rare.

If you received a deferred sentence while you finish probation or parole and have since completed probation or parole, then you will likely not be disqualified. However, if you are currently on probation, then in most states you will be disqualified from service until after probation is complete.

Call the court and explain the situation. You may be excused without having to come in at all. Your situation sounds like one that, in most states, may allow you to be disqualified by a clerk over the phone and not have to see the judge.

Question: I booked a non-refundable vacation, can I be excused from jury service for this reason?

Answer: Possibly, although it is unlikely. I have seen some judges allow this. However, most will not. Instead, you may want to ask the judge for a one-time postponement on your jury service as a compromise. He or she will be much more likely to allow for a postponement for this reason than to just excuse you completely.

The vast majority of "vacation" excuses I have seen in court have been denied. I think the reason for this is that many people will book a vacation as soon as they find out they have jury duty in an attempt to get out of it.

You would have the best chance of making this excuse work if you make the following clear to the judge during your chance to explain your situation (depending on what applies to your specific situation):

1 – Tell the judge the exact date that you booked the vacation and the exact date that you received your summons to court in the mail (hopefully you booked your vacation before you received your summons). Have proof with you if possible.

2 – Explain the cost you incurred on vacation and what aspects of the vacation are non-refundable. If others are relying on your presence, explain that as well.

3 – Explain the financial difficulty it will cause for your family if the money you saved up for this vacation were to go to waste.

Even with all these things prepared to explain to the judge, your chances are still relatively low on getting completely excused. That is why I suggest you ask for a postponement instead.

Question: Can I be excused from jury duty if my husband served time in federal prison?

Answer: The answer to this question is technically no; this doesn't disqualify you. This is because it is something that happened to your husband, and not you.

However, if your husband's experience has (for example):

1. Influenced you in some way to where you don't think you could be impartial.

Or

2. Made it so you would be unable to make any decision that could send another human to prison.

… then it could be a reason for dismissal from jury service.

Since this excuse isn't one of the "check box" excuses that will automatically disqualify you, you'll still have to go to court and explain the situation to the judge.

Question: How do I get into the court building with a pacemaker?

Answer: You should be fine getting into the building with a pacemaker. Just make sure you notify security on your way in and they will accommodate you accordingly. It is very common for people with pacemakers to serve on a jury and there will be a procedure in place for this.

They will likely run you through a manual (hand held) metal detector taking note of the area where your pacemaker is.

Question: I watch my minor grandchildren, can I be excused from court for this reason?

Answer: A judge could choose to excuse you for any reason that they find compelling enough. However, watching children that are not your own will probably be seen as a hardship for their parents, and not for you. Therefore, I would guess that most judges will likely not excuse you for that reason.

However, the judge's job is to take all the facts of your situation into consideration. So if there are further factors that make you situation an extreme hardship, make sure you speak up and let the judge know when you are given the opportunity.

You may have to raise your hand when they ask for any hardships the jury service may cause on any of the jurors, and you may have to speak in front of everyone. Just remember that they hear these explanations by potential jurors all day long and your excuse or reason won't seem petty to the court. You will be taken seriously, and even if the judge denies your request to be excused, it will be done respectfully. Remember, speak up!

Question: Can I get off of jury duty if I am a full time college student?

Answer: Yes! This is a very common exemption from serving on a jury. The only catch here is that it is not an "automatic disqualifier." What that means is you will most likely not be able to be excused by calling into the courts or by writing a letter since the judge will be the only one who can excuse you for this reason. This will have to be done on the first day of jury service. However, this can vary by state.

This means you will need to speak up! So don't be shy and make sure that the court knows you are a full time college student. It is important to go further than that though and make sure you explain how missing classes can very easily cause you to fail those classes, which would be detrimental to your education (if that's in fact the case in your situation).

If you take your time and fully explain the situation, you are likely to be quickly excused. Just remember that you will still need to go on the first day of service and explain it straight to the judge.

Question: My husband works in the news media. Could this cause a problem if he's called for jury duty?

Answer: It may, but only if he has been involved in the reporting or investigation of the case that he is being called to jury duty for.

Lawyers and judges alike do not want anyone to serve on a jury if they have any strong preconceived opinions about the case. These strong opinions may come from what they have heard from others or seen in the media. Ideally, they would like people who have never heard of the case that is being argued in court.

Another issue is if he has any special knowledge about the case, or it's evidence, beyond what will be discussed and argued about in court. Judges and lawyers want to decide everything each juror knows about a case. They do not like a juror who has extensive knowledge about a case beyond what is brought up in the court proceedings. If your husband knows certain information about the case that he was privy to because of his position in the news media, then this may disqualify him as well.

He will still need to go to court on the first day of jury service, but make sure he discusses his roll in the media or any experience he has with the case.

If he does not know any information about the case being argued, then he will likely not be disqualified for just the fact that he works in the news media.

© 2017 Kate Daily

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