How Do I Get Out of Jury Service? Advice from a Lawyer

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There are a few ways to increase your odds of being excused from jury service.  People ask me about this all the time.  Because they’re terribly busy and they have very demanding jobs and a massive list of obligations and responsibilities.

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Attorney Matthew Maddox of New Canaan

You’re all over-scheduled, over-booked, hard-working, lots-of-stuff-to-do kind of people.

But everything changes when you’re sitting next to your lawyer and picking a jury for your trial.  Then you hang desperately on every answer, gesture, facial expression and nuance from the juror being questioned for your case. Then you want every juror to be focused and disciplined.  You want every one of your jurors to be fair-minded, unbiased and truly driven to fulfill their oath.

When you’re in trial, you want jurors who will listen intently and fulfill their role as the Constitution requires.  The fact is, you actually want jurors who are going to side with you.  And you’re provoked and offended by people who don’t seem to understand just how hugely important it all is.

That means, you need people who aren’t worried about their personal obligations, task lists and whether they remembered to program the DVR to record their favorite reality TV show.

There is no reality TV in the world that can compare to trial. There’s no program, no movie, no miniseries that can hold a candle to the drama and importance of a jury trial.

We desperately need jurors who are called to jury service and understand that they are the real deal; the actual bedrock of our Republic.  The entire judicial system collapses without conscientious people who grasp the concept of duty and the preeminence of the Constitution.

So, if you want to get out of jury service, don’t worry.  The court will probably ask you if you’re self-employed, or if you are responsible for child care, or you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly or infirm individual.  You might even be asked if you have prepaid airline tickets and reservations for travel during the expected dates of the trial.

But, if you’re allowed to opt out or postpone, just remember, that there’s no trip, no vacation and no experience that will compare to the drama, gravity and importance of your experience as a juror.

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Attorney Matthew Maddox has offices in New Canaan. His blog appears on his law firm website and is available by email.