Although you may want to undertake your civic duty, being called to serve on a jury can occur at an inconvenient time in your life. Therefore, you may need to find a sure way to get excused from jury duty. There are some solid steps that you can take if you have a real need to be excused from serving on a jury at a particular time.
Contact the jury coordinator. You can do this simply by telephoning the clerk of the court for which you are summoned. The clerk can direct you to the jury coordinator. If this is the first time you are called for jury service, it is possible that you will be able to request to be excused from serving at this time with very little effort. Most courts allow a one-time rescheduling with little effort. You will be placed back into the "pool" for selection at a future time.
Obtain a written statement from your employer establishing specifically why your absence from work at this time will cause a significant hardship. Your employer will need to be specific as to why your job duties cannot appropriately be performed by any one else at this time.
Contact your health care provider and obtain a statement setting forth why you are incapable of serving on a jury at this time for health reasons. Your doctor will need to be specific about the nature of your medical condition and why it precludes you from jury service. If you have a health condition that precludes you from ever serving on a jury, make sure your doctor specifically sets this out in a written document.
Advise the court of a legitimate religious reason that prevents you from serving on a jury either at this time (a religious holiday is looming) or at any time (because your religion itself precludes you from this type of civic service).
Provide evidence to the court that you have unique child care needs that cannot appropriately be fulfilled in your absence. For example, if you have a child with special needs, your participation on a jury may cause undue hardship and even jeopardize the health of your child.
Inform the court that you are a student and that your academic commitments prevent you from serving on a jury at this time. Make it clear to the court that jury duty will negatively impact your course of studies. Let the jury coordinator know that you are willing to serve during school breaks.
Appear when called. At that time, advise the court and counsel that under the circumstances of the case you are unable to fairly participate on a jury. You need to be honest in this regard. However, if you sincerely feel that you cannot be impartial, you must inform the court and counsel of this fact.
- Jury duty is considered a civic responsibility. Therefore, if you fail to respond to a jury summons, you can be held in contempt of court. If you present the court with reasons why you feel you should be excused but are not granted leave by the court, make sure that you appear when ordered so that you avoid serious legal consequences.
- You will be in the best position to be excused from jury duty now if you make it clear to the court that you are willing to participate in this service in the future. Of course, there may be instances in which a person simply cannot ever effectively serve on a jury. If that is the case, make sure that you clearly inform the court of this reality--and have documentation to support this situation.