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Locked: Ways to get out of jury duty?

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  • May 3rd, 2012 6:39 pm
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Deal Expert
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Aug 18, 2005
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Burlington-Hamilton
I heard that if you say you are planning to try to become a police officer, that would definitely get you off of jury duty.

But if it was me, I would just show up and do the job: I enjoy the freedoms and privileges the Canada provides at ALL times, not just when it's convenient, when I'm being paid or when I think it will be entertaining. Even though I'm self employed and would not be paid, I would still go to jury duty.
Banned
Apr 15, 2002
1394 posts
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I have never been summoned. And even if I was, I fear that they would be unable to contact me. I am really the invisible man in a lot of ways. My billing address (and therefore my official address) is located in another city, my home phone number is my parents phone number, and there is almost no indication of where exactly I live.
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Aug 13, 2002
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Computer500 wrote: do you just go and listen?
and do you have you have to say something?
Everyone they call is put on a panel, then you just sit around while they pick people for the actual jury (jury selection, they will ask you a couple of basic questions, like where you work, and what you do). If you don't make it on the jury, you just sit around waiting, its rather boring. If you are selected, then you listen to all the witnesses at the trial, and at the end, you have to come up with a verdict. The only people you really need to talk to a lot are the other jurors.
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Aug 19, 2005
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hightechfan wrote: As with work by law your work has to let you serve on jury duty.Most will pay you even when your own the jury.You do get pay aslo serving its not alot but it is still some.I am one that does not agree in trying to get out of jury duty its your job as a citizen.If you do make something up well that playing with fire.
Ok,
but what if you had a medical appoinment and it was every Monday/Wednesday and Friday and lasted from 8am until 2pm?
-and that you could not change your appoinments as the medical clinic/specialist has too many other people that need the same treatments?
And that you will possibly die if you do not have medical treatment?

Can they excuse you then?
just wondering about that?
I know someone in that situation.
This guy could not go to his mothers funeral 2 years ago because he could not change his life-threatening medical apts..even with 2 weeks notice...
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Dec 13, 2002
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warning: long post!

I just got back from the courthouse where I spent the morning as part of a jury pool, so this is fresh in my memory. Here's what happened (this was my first time):
  • 1) Went to the floor that the Summons document specified at the specified time (8:30am). Approximately 200 of us had received notices to attend, so it was pretty crowded and the lineup was 3 or 4 wide for the length of the building (it took at least 45 minutes to get everyone signed in)! At one end of the hallway was a table with 2 clerks, signing people in. They take your Summons, record the #, and hand it back to you and tell you to take a seat. No ID was requested! (That's ridiculous!).
  • 2) Sat and waited for the 100 people in line behind me to be processed.
    It's true what others have said - BRING A BOOK! as there's lots of sitting and doing nothing.
  • 3) Maybe 45 minutes later, we are told to go (1/2 of us, anyhow) into the courtroom to watch a 15min video that would explain our purpose and how being a juror is something that is generally treated initially with scorn, but in fact is something that is very rewarding and eye-opening. Video shows lots of (bad) actors.. talking.. really.. slowly.. and.. clearly.. about.. what.. a.. great.. experience.. they.. had.. when.. they.. served.. on.. a.. jury.
  • 4) Exit courtroom and read book while the other 1/2 watched the same video.
  • 5) Everyone now called back into courtroom. So crowded, the fire marshal would have had a fit! About 50 had to stand. Judge comes in. All rise! Lawyers are late... but that's okay - time is money! (though not for us). Judge explains the process that is about to transpire and that though most *civil trials* (they were picking for today) only last a couple of days, these ones may take 2-3 WEEKS. He then explained again how being a juror is part of the democratic process and how we will have to make sacrifices and exceptions to our normal daily routine, should we be picked (and while we're waiting to be picked, too - for that matter). We then started the 'exclusion' process.
    • - First, anyone who is not a Cdn citizen was asked to come forward and speak up so that they may be excluded.
    • - Then, anyone who has a problem with the English language - both understanding & communicating, as a jury will have to discuss their verdict with each other.
    • - Next, anyone who has 'health issues'. (no doctor's note required, but it's probably good to have and help your cause)
    • - Finally, anyone with any 'other significant & exceptional circumstance that may preclude them from participating on a jury panel'.
    This whole exclusion process was quite eye-opening, and shocking - despite having read the various posts here on RFD about getting off jury duty. Language issues - 3 people came forward:
    • - 1st guy(Eastern-Europe/Russian male) - "I no speak-e English gooood", he said. Judge says "You're employed, sir?". Guy: "Yes, I own contracting company". Judge frowns, and says "How long have you been in Canada, sir?". Guy: "40 years". FORTY YEARS AND THE GUY EITHER CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH, OR IS STUPID ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT A JUDGE WILL BELIEVE THAT HE CAN'T! :mad:
    • - 2nd person(Middle-Eastern female): "My English is not so good". Judge: "You're employed?". She: "I wash hair. I shampoo". Judge: "How long have you lived in Canada?". She: "20 years". :mad:
    • - 3rd person (Asian male): ----> in Canada 10 years; job: "CSR". Judge: "CSR?" Him: "Customer Service Rep". What kind of Canadian (Quebec excluded) CSR cannot speak English well enough to function in society after living here for 10 years?? :mad:
    When the judge asked for the 'other' people to come forward , immediately about 50 got in line. Some were reasonable requests...
    - "I'm a student and while I would look forward to participating on a jury, 2 or 3 weeks is unfortunately going to be detrimental to my marks", "I'm self-employed and have no other employees, but have clients who require my services in order to operate - 2 or 3 weeks would hurt not only my own business, but others too", etc.
    .. and some were just downright pathetic. And some caused the judge to scold us/them because "I no speak-e English" and health issues such as "I suffer from anxiety" was over and done with 20 minutes ago!
    - One woman's husband was a CEO of some huge company and she was set to accompany him on a trip to Europe in a couple of weeks time. Did she work for the company? No. :mad:
    - One woman was going on vacation in January. *yes, 4 months from now*, as if that had anything to do with what we'd been told. :mad:
    - One woman said she "served as a juror before and still has nightmares". Hmm... really. At one point, the judge even interrupted the proceedings and reminded us that he'd said 'exceptional' circumstances and that some hardships, even financial ones were to be expected. Even so, the line just kept getting longer. The more excuses were given, the more people thought "Ah.. I could use that one too!". :mad:

    Oh, and one guy said "I work for the Attorney General, so I think me serving on a Jury would be a conflict of interest". The judge said "I don't think so!". :lol:

    In all, 108 people out of approx 200 requested to be excused. I believe 20 were in fact excused.
    .
  • 6. After a short 10-minute recess, we reconvened, and it was now time to pick a jury panel for each of the trials that were on the books. Here's how this works:
    • - Judge reads the case name, the defendant's name(s) and the plaintiff's name(s). He then asks if anyone has any past or present relationship or dealings with anyone mentioned. You raise your hand and when it is your turn you give your # and state your situation, or ask "Is that the Mr. Doe that lives on Water Street?", or whatever. If it is, then you are 'excluded from this particular jury panel' and asked to sit down (until pickings for the next case).
    • A list of potential witnesses for both sides is read. Again, if you know any of them, speak up. It may be a doctor, a surgeon, a policeman, whatever that you or your family knows. Again, you will be excused.
    • After this, #s are drawn from a raffle/lottery tombola. If your # is picked, they call your #, name and occupation. You get up (bring any personal items with you) and sit in the jury panel (6 seats). When the seats are filled, the judge asks the Defence Counsel if they have any 'Challenges' to any of the jurors. ex: "#3" - no reason is given why they do not like you. (Ah, what a great democratic and *prejudicial* legal system we have!). "#3, you are excused from this jury". And off you go to your seat in the 'pool', until the next case. Another # is drawn to replace you. Sometimes, no sooner has that person sat down than the opposition Counsel decides they don't like the look of them and they are challenged and sent back! This goes back and forth until both sides "are satisfied" - though each side only has 4 Challenges. If they don't like the replacement that is called on their final Challenge - tough!
    • The chosen jurors are then sworn in (on a religious book of your choosing, or as a verbal oath), and then they are whisked away out the back door and off to another courtroom. They are now jurors, and their trial *may* start right away, may be scheduled for the following day, or the jurors may be "on call" - pending the conclusion of other cases so that any lawyers/judges involved are available.
    Today, in our courtroom, I believe 7 civil trials had been in need of jurors. This would have been a very long day. However, 5 of the 7 had settled out of court and so no trial was required, and therefore, no juror was required. So the good news is that we got to go home 'early'. The bad news is that we have to do it again tomorrow! (and maybe Thursday too). :-0
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Mar 15, 2005
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Pickering
when summoned, my bf told them something along the lines of "i'm so excited to be here, i can put to use all that i learned in my psychology & the law class" and he was exempted because of what he learned in that course about the jury, etc.
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Aug 13, 2002
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RenegadeX wrote: No ID was requested! (That's ridiculous!)
They're looking for random jurors, I don't think its that critical to check that you are who you say you are. What benefit does someone get from pretending to be you?
RenegadeX wrote: Guy: "Yes, I own contracting company". Judge frowns, and says "How long have you been in Canada, sir?". Guy: "40 years". FORTY YEARS AND THE GUY EITHER CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH, OR IS STUPID ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT A JUDGE WILL BELIEVE THAT HE CAN'T! :mad:
[*]- 2nd person(Middle-Eastern female): "My English is not so good". Judge: "You're employed?". She: "I wash hair. I shampoo". Judge: "How long have you lived in Canada?". She: "20 years". :mad:
[*]- 3rd person (Asian male): ----> in Canada 10 years; job: "CSR". Judge: "CSR?" Him: "Customer Service Rep". What kind of Canadian (Quebec excluded) CSR cannot speak English well enough to function in society after living here for 10 years?? :mad: [/list]
As ridiculous as it sounds, there are a lot of people like that. The first two, they just need enough basic English to get by, many of them just don't want to bother learning English, not to say that I agree with that. As for the CSR, you're assuming he's a CSR for English speaking clients, which I doubt is the case.
RenegadeX wrote: .. and some were just downright pathetic.
When I went, we had one guy say that he falls asleep, I almost burst out laughing.

Also, mine was a criminal case (which they get 12 jurors for). The jury selection is also slightly different than what you discribed.
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Dec 13, 2002
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Nyte wrote: They're looking for random jurors, I don't think its that critical to check that you are who you say you are. What benefit does someone get from pretending to be you?
Well let's see:
1) If you don't attend court when you are summoned as a potential juror, you get cops showing up on your doorstep, and they'll drag you to court to be charged with contempt of court, fined & perhaps have to spend a night in jail. (at least 1 guy whose # was called today was not present - the judge immediately ordered he be found, arrested and brought in to face him).
2) If for whatever reason YOU need to get out of going - you could hand your paper to a friend, family member, or bum off the street (I'll pay you $20 to go, half now, half when you show me a confirmation of attendance letter) and have them take your place, thereby covering your ass and saving you a fine/jail time.

And .. I'm pretty sure having someone stand in for you and claim that they are you is fraudulent impersonation..
Nyte wrote: As for the CSR, you're assuming he's a CSR for English speaking clients, which I doubt is the case.
Perhaps I was - and maybe he only deals with Cantonese customers all day - but even so, he had incredibly poor English for someone who'd been here 10 years. As for the few who stood and said "me no speak-e English" long-after the opportunity for language related excuses had been offered, http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGlish/citizen/howto-e.html says that in order to become a Canadian Citizen, "You must know English or French". If it were up to me, I'd revoke citizenships if people can't even understand a simple instruction like that.
Nyte wrote: In that case, I hope there's some criminal cases today!
Newbie
Feb 4, 2006
27 posts
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If you have a medical appointment they will excuse you for that day. If you work in a field that's deemed an essential service you can get out of it. Doctors and most medical professionals easily get out of it.
Banned
Oct 3, 2006
1710 posts
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Drysnot wrote: If you have a medical appointment they will excuse you for that day. If you work in a field that's deemed an essential service you can get out of it. Doctors and most medical professionals easily get out of it.
Not anymore.
Deal Guru
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Nov 30, 2003
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Just do it, and get your 3-year exemption. Some days they'll let you off an hour or two early as well.
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