Jury duty of College Student

<p>So S, about to start his senior year, got called for jury duty several months ago and postponed (he was out of the country all last year.) He had to commit to a date upon his return, so had no other choice than to choose his fall break in October, which is a week long. Obviously, should he get chosen for a case where the proceedings last longer than that week, he will be in major trouble, since he will have classes/assignments to return to.</p>

<p>Does anyone else have experience with this? How sympathetic are the attorneys & judges in terms of recognizing a college student's school commitments and taking this into account when choosing or dismissing the student from a case?</p>

<p>He need to make it clear to the judge that it would pose a severe hardship which would impair his ability to be an impartial juror. Is his school far away from your home? Having a fully paid airline ticket is often an easy way to get excused.</p>

<p>Attorneys and judges are, in my experience, very accommodating. It's entirely likely that he'll show up, get credit for doing his duty, and be dismissed.</p>

<p>S did jury duty last year. He was interviewed (voir dire) for a case and was reassured that if he were chosen that it wouldn't be any longer than a 2-3 day trial, which would've accommodated the time he'd be home. The attorneys and judge were aware that his time was limited. Fortunately for him, he was not chosen.</p>

<p>I would be very surprised if the judge didn't let him go after hearing about that sort of thing. In Virginia, we get many more prospective jurors than we actually need so it's rarely a problem when someone has a legitimate reason to postpone or cancel his jury duty.</p>

<p>My son ended up in jury duty a few days before finals. He explained to the judge that he had final exams and the judge didn't care. Fortunately, he was eliminated at the last minute.</p>

<p>If you really don't want to be on a jury, you need to make statements to judge that will get you thrown off the jury. Saying that it would be a hardship that would impair your ability to make an unbiased decision is usually enough. I was once 'in the box' and the defendant looked like a gang member (dreds, tatoos up the neck & on his hands), the murder was in an area known for drug & gang violence. I told the judge I was uncomfortable with the nature of the crime and told him I thought the guy looked like a gang member. If you really want to get out of a jury, make outrageous statements. </p>

<p>PS - I have jury duty Thursday & Friday. Had put in for vacation so I could get D1 packed for Saturday drop-off. I will not be a happy juror, however my hope is most judges & attorneys are on vacation, so nothing will happen.</p>

<p>Daughter got notice also and I think it's the dates she requested when she asked to be excused last year. It only gives her one week until she needs to leave for school and that week is filled with doctors appointments as it's the only week she's home this summer. It's the kind where you call the night before to see if you need to report and I don't know anyone who's needed to go in after calling but it's a bit chancy. I think we're going to go ahead with it but I am nervous. She might be able to be such a basket case when explaining how she needs to leave for school and see doctors before that that the attorneys and judge might not want her on their jury. Oh well, we'll see.</p>

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<p>S's school is about 100 miles from home, so the plane ticket excuse won't be of much use. Less than 2 hours by car. Sounds like he can figure out a way to avoid being chosen, if he is savvy.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Sounds like he can figure out a way to avoid being chosen, if he is savvy.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I just don't get it ... what is Wrong with you people ?? College - educated / supposedly intelligent posters here who can't figure out a way to even have to <em>appear</em> for Jury Duty ??</p>

<p>
[quote]
I just don't get it ... what is Wrong with you people ?? College - educated / supposedly intelligent posters here who can't figure out a way to even have to <em>appear</em> for Jury Duty ??

[/quote]
While the mangled prose is not easy to decipher, it appears that the poster is suggesting that "intelligent" people should be able to figure out a way to avoid performing their civic responsibilities - indeed, to avoid even having to show up?</p>

<p>Here's a novel thought: Jury duty is an honor, a privilege, and a responsibility of free citizens in a democracy, which "intelligent" people should be willing to undertake with pride. Anyone with a legitimate reason for not undertaking the duty in a given instance due to schedule conflicts with important personal commitments can pass for a future date. But comments like
[quote]
If you really want to get out of a jury, make outrageous statements.

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really cheese me off.</p>

<p>Not that anyone with that attitude should be on a jury anyway - jury duty calls for responsible adults, not immature, self-centered scammers.</p>

<p>My daughter was thrilled her jury duty summons asked for her presence during her three week Christmas break. She was even more excited to be called down to the courthouse. (First chance at jury duty, nothing better to do than hang with the family, sounds like fun!) Note: I've been on phone call in for jury duty a week every two years for the last 20 years. Have been called down to the courthouse once. </p>

<p>Unfortunately, she started having symptoms that we later found were due to an allergic reaction to an antibiotic. She ended up throwing up on the court clerk, and got excused.</p>

<p>I have been on jury duty several times, and feel that it is my responsibility as a citizen to serve on a jury when possible. Imagine if you were the defendant, and the jury was comprised only of people who couldn't figure out a way to be excused!</p>

<p>The most memorable case I've been on was the Clement Bilski case, where we found him guilty of 52 counts of aggravated sexual assault, 15 counts of sexual assault, 74 counts of producing child pornography, and one count of distributing child pornography. The victim was aged 2-6 during these crimes. (We learned after the trial that she was just one if his victims). As you can imagine, I am scarred for life after hearing the testimony, and watching several hours of disgusting video tapes that were played as evidence. But I still think being on that jury was the right thing to do. Someone had to sit on the jury, even though about 150 potential jurors (who hadn't been exceed from jury duty) were excused from this particular case because of it's nature.</p>

<p>I am proud to be among the people who did the right thing for the victim. Someday she will realize the real nature of what was done to her, and she will know that a lot of people did what needed to be done to punish her abuser, and protect his potential future victims. She will not have to go to trial herself as an adult and testify about the things that were done to her. With all the problems she will face because of that monster, at least she will know he is behind bars. </p>

<p>When I say I was scarred for life, I mean that literally. I have had recurring nightmares for years, etc. </p>

<p>Since then, I have been called for jury duty 3 more times. Trust me when I say the last place I ever want to see again is that courthouse. The next time I was called, I had a vacation planned and paid for about 5000 miles away, and I was dismissed. The second time I did not request to be dismissed, but didn't have to go because my juror number was very high. The third time (just 2 weeks after the 2nd time, but for Federal Court) I asked to be dismissed since I am a caregiver to a quadriplegic, and couldn't be so far away for so long, and I needed to fight for that dismissal. </p>

<p>If I'm called again for jury duty in my own county, I'll serve again, as long as my health and that of my loved ones permits. </p>

<p>I understand that timing can be a big issue, especially for students. But whenever possible, I think everyone who is summoned should serve. There are countless threads on CC about volunteer opportunities. While jury duty isn't exactly volunteer, please don't ask to be excused unless you MUST. Sitting on a jury can be an extremely rewarding experience. </p>

<p>Do your part to protect victims of crime and victims of false accusations.</p>

<p>(taking a deep breath while stepping off soapbox)</p>

<p>It's not fair to judge the motives of everyone who wants to "get out" of jury duty. I'm scheduled to serve soon and will serve, but I am self-employed and do not get paid when on jury duty and it can hurt my business in terms of continuity with clients, etc. If I was a single parent and/or the only person in my family working, and if the money was more than we could afford to give up, I would be tempted to try to "get out" of jury duty. I'm not sure my anxiety over not working would make me a good juror. </p>

<p>In my state it has become very, very difficult to "get out" of jury duty. When I was younger (and worked part-time), you could get out if you did not have child care for young kids. I did not have the kind of child care arrangements that allowed me to commit from 9:00 to 5:00 and I did send in a request for excuse. Now, the state has made it so that only those with nursing infants can ask for an excuse. That's ridiculous, in my opinion. Many, many stay-at-home parents or part-time working parents do not have that kind of coverage for their kids. We don't all have a family member or trustworthy person who is available to babysit day after day (at no charge) while we do jury duty. So, as far as I'm concerned, my state has created situations where people will try to get out because it costs them too much or they don't have reasonable options. Also, in my state, virtually no one is exempt, which is fine, but I honestly think that there are a few people -- those who perform heart surgeries on infants, for example -- who can serve society better by not serving. They are few and far between, to be sure, but I think the case can occasionally be made. Imagine if you were the parent of a baby who needed life-saving surgery and your surgeon was saying, "Well, I'm on call for jury duty. We'll just have to take it day by day and if I get on a case, we can try to get someone less trained/not on your plan, or we can hope for the best."</p>

<p>I have always attended when I've been called and don't really mind. I was chosen for a jury once and it coincided with my last child's first day of kindergarten. When I was told initially by the plaintiff's attorney that I had to serve, regardless, I burst into tears and the kindly judge asked me what was wrong. I explained the situation and he asked both attorneys something like "can't we work something out like beginning that day's session at 10:00 am instead of 9 so this lady can do her important work as a parent?" The defendant's attorney was happy to comply, but the plaintiff's attorney was obnoxious. Since this all took place in front of the entire jury, he got some very ugly looks from other jurors as well as shaking of heads and sucking of teeth. They settled before opening arguments.</p>

<p>"Someone had to sit on the jury, even though about 150 potential jurors (who hadn't been exceed from jury duty) were excused from this particular case because of it's nature."</p>

<p>The one time in the last 20 years I did have to show up in person for jury duty was for some sort of child molestation case. After a day of dismissing jurors one by one the judge finally turned to the entire jury pool and asked all those with daughters younger than 15 please stand. We did and he excused all of us. I can't imagine what that guy did that would make any parent of a daughter biased, but I'm guessing something beyond awful.</p>

<p>Well my number wasn't low enough, so I'm off to Newark tomorrow morning. Guess I'm cynical, as every case I've been pulled into the jury room for is a murder with a defendant that looks like a gang member. I wouldn't mind if the process was a bit more streamlined, but our county is so inefficient that we sit around all morning, get lunch, then they call the first pool at 1pm.</p>

<p>I know this is a college forum, but each time one of these threads come up, I find myself wondering why a students "work" might be considered more important with regard to being there, then others. </p>

<p>My D has been called, goes to school 3000 miles away, got it rescheduled to two days before the end of her next vacation, and fortunately she was dismissed that day, and the next. </p>

<p>I Do get that it's a huge pain, and perhaps grades are at stake. </p>

<p>But I think there are jobs where freeing up two or three days could be as bad or worse.</p>

<p>Seems to me that OOS students are on a business trip. In Connecticut that's enough to get you excused -- if your employer is requiring you to be out of town. Or, if you have a prepaid vacation. One or the other should work for college students! </p>

<p>(We have a 1 day/1 trial system -- you do have to show for a day, but if you aren't picked you are off the hook. And you can be off the hook for either of those two reasons -- biz trip or prepaid vacation reservations.)</p>