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Locked: Ways to get out of jury duty?

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Dec 13, 2002
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Day 2 report - they were all civil trials again:
  • Told to be there at 8:30am - again it took another 45 mins to get sign-ins done. Noticed today (must have missed it yesterday) that people were getting paid cash for travel expenses if they came from a long way away. Found out that court doesn't even start until 9:30am - so had almost an hour of book-reading time!
  • Judge was late/delayed ... it was 9:50 before he entered.
    First order of business - one of the panels they picked yesterday had to be re-picked, which is "highly unusual". Apparently, one of the chosen jurors was one of the 108 who had requested to be excused (and one of the 88 denied!) - as he had a mid-term exam on Wednesday that for whatever reason, his Prof wouldn't allow him to take earlier/later. As we'd already been dismissed for the day when he brought this up in the juror's back room, their trial was delayed until a replacement could be picked today.

    What was weird to most of us in the jury pool was that once a # had been drawn for the 6th seat, both sides of counsel got to continue their Challenges, casting off *anyone* already on the panel. Most of us thought that it made sense to only Challenge the replacement juror. One juror found himself back in the pool, perhaps relieved that he was off the hook, for now.
  • 2, maybe 3 more jury panels were picked - all of the other cases were settled out-of-court either yesterday afternoon or this morning. This meant we could go home early again. Bad news: have to return again tomorrow (Thursday).
- What was interesting to see was that:
  • - some people had their #'s drawn (completely randomly) 2, even 3 times so far. The judge even joked "you should buy a lottery ticket on the way home!" :cheesygri
    .. maybe half the people, including myself, have not had my # called once.
    .. and the rest obviously have had their # called, but were Challenged and sent back to the pool. Most seem to be relieved.
  • - Educators (teachers, principals) do not seem to be popular potential jurors. Time after time, an educator's # was picked, only for them to be Challenged immediately. At one point, a teacher was replaced with... a principal.. and replaced with another teacher... who was replaced by a cleaning lady. They kept the cleaning lady! **HOWEVER**, on one panel, the final Challenge caused a hairstylist to be tossed, and by chance a teacher's # was selected. By default (no more Challenges left), the teacher is now serving.
  • - people who listed themselves as "Unemployed" or "self-employed" do not seem popular - almost always tossed immediately.
  • - Insurance adjusters are *definitely* not popular. When a # was picked and their name and occupation read out for the court, upon hearing "insurance adjuster" everyone laughed - even the judge. Before she even got to the jury box, the Defence Counsel stood up and said "Send her back!"
  • - (confirming what was mentioned by other posters) - a nurse, a mental health practitioner, and a medical student were all Challenged immediately after being seated in the jury panel.
  • - at least 2 people who had requested to be excused due to important (reasonable-sounding to me) business-related matters ended up serving. One was a CEO and one was a Buyer who had trips to NY and Europe scheduled over the next 2 weeks.
  • - It definitely seems that occupation is the deciding factor whether you are a likely candidate to be Challenged - not race, sex, or age. One panel that was picked ended up being all male, another had 50% Asians, and at least 1 panel had 4 grey-haired people on it, while another had 3 early 20-ish people on it
  • - Again, the best way out if you really wanted out - is to stand when a doctor's name is listed as a witness and say "I was a patient of his" - and if they press for details (they don't) and your story comes unravelled, you can always say "oh, that's obviously not the same doctor then. Thank you" :razz:
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Thanks for the update, I hope they continue. I think it's interesting learning about the jury selection process.
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Day 3:

My number was called!

(I probably shoulda bought a lottery ticket on the way home, but a teacher who had had her # pulled for the **4th time** had already said she was going to - I figure if any of us are going to win, it's her!)
  • Interestingly, the Defence Counsel lawyer for the trial on which I was picked seemed to be unprepared and/or unfamiliar with the jury selection process. First of all, amazingly, he did not even bring a list of potential witnesses with him (see Day-1 notes to remind yourself of the relevance) and was saved by the Plaintiff's Counsel who kindly retrieved his list from their boxes of files out in the hallway, no doubt saving him from a serious scolding.
    .
  • My number was called, and I calmly walked to the front of the court and over to the juror's box, and took my seat - all eyes were on me, I supposed - but when I looked around the judge was looking down, Counsel was looking at paperwork, and most of the jury pool was yawning, looking at the ceiling, or had their heads down! Oh well, "my" moment was quickly over anyhow - as the next potential juror was called. After the 6th and final seat on our potential panel was called, I had a feeling that I was one of 3 jurors least likely to be Challenged. There was the '4-timing' teacher, there was the principal(2nd time up), and there was a mental-health specialist (she received much laughter when her occupation was read out, so consider her gone!).

    When it came time for Challenges, Defence Counsel was asked to make a Challenge, if any - and despite the situation that I've just described, he stood up and said "I am satisfied", and then sat back down! :-0
    His co-counsel leaned over and I saw him whisper something to him -- something I can only imagine must have been "Hello? Are you crazy?"!

    The Plaintiff's counsel Challenged the school principal. Defence then used their 2nd Challenge to cast off the '4-timing' teacher. Their replacements were also apparently "Just not roit for our band... I mean - jury"!) Before long, they were down to their 4th and final Challenges - and by chance, there was a teacher among us. Defence decided to cast off someone else.. and of course, who should replace him .. but another teacher, of course! The Plaintiff's Counsel used their final Challenge to immediately replace him, leaving the 1 teacher among us. So - our panel was final - and looking down the line I noticed that we were (by chance) all male, and all relatively young (under 35, I believe).
    .
  • We were sworn-in, advised that this particular trial did not yet have a start date/time and therefore we were "On Call". We were then whisked off through the 'mysterious back door' to a juror's room down a hallway, and a CSO (Court Services Officer) explained briefly what would happen next and that we needed to fill out some basic paperwork. We were told that our trial may start tomorrow, may start on Monday, may start Thursday 2 weeks from now - it would be impossible to know in advance when, but we would be called and told when we are needed. We MAY even get a call the *same day* as we are needed. None of us were too happy about this as it basically means we have to put our lives on hold and be ready to drop everything at a moment's notice.

    If we have to come in, we all get paid a small travel stipend, unless we live in the same town as the court, in which case you get jack-squat. After 10 days, we will be paid $40/day for attending - which goes up to $100 after *50 days*. Gulp.. can you imagine? :lol:
    .
  • One of the jurors on our panel had a week-long business trip planned for *this* Saturday, so he was not happy. He requested to be excused, explaining that he'd already purchased airline tickets. However, after relaying this to the Justice, he was denied. Not surprising really - the leaflet that we'd received in the mail a couple of months ago said that trials can last 2-3 weeks so *don't* plan anything important during this time-frame.

    He asked the CSO what would happen if he didn't show up - and she informed him that a bench warrant would be drawn up and that he would have to come home and most likely spend a night in jail before facing the judge and being fined. And he would still have to serve. It would also mean that the trial would be put on hold until he showed up - wasting everyone's time. The 5 of us glared at him and conveyed the message "We're not getting paid - don't you even dare think about it!" :razz:
    .
  • Finally, almost 3 hours after being picked, we were free to go.
    We are crossing our fingers that when the phone rings, they'll say "Good news, the matter was settled out of court!" But none of us are going to be holding our breath..
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By the way, in talking with the other 5 jurors on my panel, 4 of them had received Summons in the past - and had been excused as recently as this past July.

Therefore, re: the topic of this thread: "Ways to get out of jury duty?" - if you are excused, you are only postponing it. It is only once you have gone through the entire selection process and either been picked, or not been picked that you are 'free' from duty for the next 3 years.

Also of note, the juror who was complaining about his trip and non-refundable airline tickets was told that had he proved that he had booked the flight prior to the Summons notice being sent out, upon receiving it he could have called the phone# on the notice, spoken to someone and then submitted a photocopy of the ticket purchase, and he likely would have been excused and had his duty rescheduled.

So: moral of the story: if you wish to be excused from serving in a jury pool, it is much better to phone ahead as soon as you get your notice rather than wait and tell your excuse to the judge on the day of.
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Oct 14, 2001
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Thanks RenegadeX for the updates.

I think jury duty would be fun, even if it's a bit boring . . .

I probably would've been a lawyer if it wasn't for all the writing you need to do in university . . .

Keep us posted if you can!
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Mar 27, 2005
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Say you know someone involved in the case, you're home free
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So students get excused and then when they're not students anymore, they get recalled?
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Anessa wrote: So students get excused and then when they're not students anymore, they get recalled?
Not exactly - you could get recalled 2 or 3 months from now. There were plenty of students in the jury pool even today who had requested to be excused on Day-1 - so it seems that "I am a student and can't afford to miss 3 weeks of class" is NOT always going to fly. And the student who was picked and then excused had to have a letter from his Prof sent in. Had he done so in advance (ie: during the first week of school or even last week), he would have saved EVERYONE a lot of time and hassle, including himself.
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tinlunlau wrote: :(

i never been called for jury duty.
any way to volunteer for jury duty?
It may vary by Province (some US States permit it), but I don't think it's possible in Canada. In Ontario at least, potential jurors' names are drawn randomly from MPAC - the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation - who every 3 years do Municipal Enumeration. The enumeration list is also primarily used as a voter's list and by school boards to calculate the # of school-age children in the area.
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Jury Duty Update??
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just say you have a criminal record. people with criminal records are excluded from this. also people who dont speak/understand english are excluded.
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call the judge a hairy horowitz!!!!

nx2k wrote: Are there any?
i got summoned for jury duty this month.
Company will acknowledge it and pay for the day off but i really don't want to go.
it's at 830 am, which is when work starts, if im gonna be up that early, i rather go to work.
it's on a wednesday too, so it's not like if i get outta there early, i get an early start to the weekend.
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Kerlo wrote: Jury Duty Update??
update: 1 week has gone by with no phone call. I guess that one juror could have gone on his trip to the States and been home in time after all. It'll be interesting to see if he went!

I'm hoping this gets over ASAP - though it could still be 2 weeks before we're called and then the trial 'might last 3 weeks' - knowing my luck, it will be on both counts!

What's really annoying is that as long as we are 'on call' we have to hold off business meetings, conferences, trips, etc, personal matters such as booking dentist or doctors appointments, car service appointments, as well as other miscellaneous leisure activities - and basically have to look at the weeks ahead with a "assume that I won't be able to make it" attitude -- yet it's my understanding that we don't get paid until we actually have to show up. I say the clock should start ticking the moment our #s were picked.
aznspddmn wrote:just say you have a criminal record. people with criminal records are excluded from this. also people who dont speak/understand english are excluded.
Both of these issues are dealt with in the Jury Questionnaire that arrives in the mail long before you receive the Summons letter. And I think that's why the Judge was not very lenient in hearing people's 'language issue' excuses on the day-of.
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Oct 8, 2003
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Very interesting thread... just read it all. Good luck with the trial. That seems like a real inconvenience. I don't think that is very fair at all. They make it seem like you are the criminal.
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