The jury duty summons. You roll your eyes, you let out a sigh, you wonder why it is that it comes at the worst possible time. Again.
If you’ve never received a jury summons much less served, you could find the experience to be enlightening. Alternately, it might be tedious, as you spend a day sitting and waiting, and eventually being sent home.
If you have received a jury duty summons more times than you can count, the annoyance factor ratchets up exponentially – especially if you’re overloaded with deadlines, kids, and family expectations.
Hello? Mid-summer? Those plans for a few days off?
How Many Times Can You Be Summoned for Jury Duty?
When I add up the number of times I’ve loaded work into a carry bag, and then hauled myself to the county courthouse, let’s just say… it’s too many… All in all, I’d rather be shoe-shopping!
Yes, one of those times I served, and the experience was fascinating.
But once was enough. Really! And what’s up with the fact that I get called about every 18 months and friends (in my neighborhood)… once, twice or never?
Poking around to see how many times you can be called for jury duty, I found a variety of methods used (by county and state). Some jurisdictions preclude serving frequently (for example, more often than every six years) and others seem to have no such restrictions of this type at all.
So why me and not my neighbor?
Though drivers license databases and voter registrations are used, if there is a rhyme or reason, I can’t tell.
Getting Out of Jury Duty
In case you’re wondering, there are numerous ways people attempt to get out of showing up for jury duty, and to make themselves less likely to be selected. And no, don’t appear in a wacky hat or crazy clothes. How disrespectful (and counterproductive) is that!
WikiHow has a list of reasons, some of which I wouldn’t have thought of, while Slate’s “Runaway Juror” article is of interest in addressing the “science” of jury selection, the importance of group dynamics if you are on a jury, and yes, suggestions so you aren’t selected.
The article recommends: “Be verbal… Be subtle… Be biased.”
No can do.
Naturally, there are legitimate reasons to be exempt or excused to do with (documented) health issues, demonstrable financial hardship, and clear conflicts of interest as well as scheduling conflicts that allow for requesting a change of service.
Moreover, 70+ along with a variety of parenting and student exemptions may exist (full-time stay at home parent to child(ren) under age six, full-time student, permanent physical or mental disability, etc.).
People Waiting, People Watching
I remember seeing the 1957 film, 12 Angry Men as a kid. It’s a taut drama revolving around jury deliberations, and my own experience serving was a (very) micro version of what occurred in the film. Those who are argumentative will argue, those who have their minds made up will insist on their position, those who are natural leaders and communicators will persuade, effectively.
And everyone takes the process extremely seriously, as well they should.
If you aren’t chosen, you may still be spending your day on a hard chair in a hot room, potentially returning the following morning, and sitting again for six or eight hours.
I say: Make the most of it!
So like the inimitable Carrie Bradshaw who once tried to bow out of jury duty – it didn’t work – I seem to recall she enjoyed the people-watching. A man nearby opened his brief case and wrapped his hands around a coconut, and also, a pineapple.
Does that only happen in (fictionalized) New York? But wait, if I lived in New York, I wouldn’t be called every 18 months. Maybe when I have to show up, I should skip the laptop and carry an avocado, or an eggplant, or a honeydew melon…
You May Also Enjoy