How To Get Out of Jury Duty


Judy duty is one of those things that every person is obligated to do as their “civic duty,” but it’s a huge pain in the ass! It throws your life out of joint for a few days, weeks, or even months; it doesn’t pay very well; and unless you’re Pauly Shore, it isn’t much fun.

Honestly, getting out of jury duty isn’t that difficult. It all depends on who you are, where you’re from, or if you just don’t give a damn about making a fool of yourself.

Here are a few ways to get around the most annoying of civic duties:

Please Note: This article is for general information purposes, and maybe for a good laugh. In no way should you ever believe this constitutes as legal advice; if you’re looking for legal advice see a lawyer, I hear they’re pretty good at that whole “law” thing.

The Instant Out

Many people get out of deciding the fate of murders, rapists, and other loathsome people by fitting into one of the categories below.

  • You are over 70 years of age.
  • You do not have a car and are unable to use public transportation.
  • You are a volunteer firefighter, rescue squad member or ambulance crew member.
  • You are an attorney, physician, dentist or registered nurse.
  • You must care for young children or elderly adults, if your absence will put them at risk.
  • You are so important to the operation of a business that your absence will cause everything to go to hell in a hand basket.

If you can pass yourself off as one of these type of people, just write your court officials as quickly as you can. They should have no problem letting you off the legal hook. You will probably be relieved of your duty before ever having to set foot in a courtroom. There’s also a good chance that you’ll be added to the juror’s “do not call” list.

Postponements, putting off the system on hold

In case you aren’t instantly qualified to be voted off the island, you may be able to stay your duty if you have important things to do.

Deferments are common and can be done in writing your court, but don’t think you’ll get off Scott-free; the legal system will never forget about you, and you can be sure you will be called upon after the postponement expires.

Hardships also qualify for a deferment, however you will have to sell yourself. You can contact the court via mail and explain your situation, but they might not show much leniency through the mail. If you can also explain your problem in person, you’ll get the added human element.

This leads me up to…

Gotta show up? Get off the first day

So, you haven’t managed to get out of the dirty deed yet? Well, you’d better show up to court when ordered. A no-show is a serious matter, and you’ll probably get fined.

When you arrive at the jury meeting a court employee will probably ask all potential jurors if they have any legitimate reason for not being there. If you really do have one, go for it!

Normally the courts will allow you to duck out if you have travel plans, an intense work schedule, or some sort of medical or family care responsibilities.

If that doesn’t work, on to..

Jury Selection!

If you’ve reached this point, you’re probably going to have a hard time getting off; it’s time to get a bit creative. You will normally be interviewed by the court to see if you have any bias to the case, or have any conflicting views which may sway your decisions. For example, if the case was for the murder of a clown, and you happened to be a professor at a clown college, you might be turned away.

Basically you’re being interviewed to see if you’re an objective person, and if you want to get out of jury duty, you’d better not be. Try to pass yourself off as a a bigger idiot than you already are. While the case is being explained to you use a bit of theatrics and gasp in horror, or shake your head in disgust, but be subtle. This will help show that you aren’t objective, and your chances of being selected is slim.

This might be a good time to mention to the court that the crime committed is similar to something that has happened to a friend or family member. For example, if the case is about car theft and your brother just happened to be arrested for the same thing last month, now is a great time to let someone know. You could even add a little something about how you gave your car to a car donation recently, and make up some ridiculous reason as to why you think they ripped you off.

You can also know little too much! Have you been to the area that the crime was supposedly committed? Do you know the witnesses somehow? Are you friends with cops, or other law-enforcement officials? Speak up!

Other tips and tricks to weasel your way out

  • Look dirty! Shave your hair into a pink Mohawk, get some (fake?) piercings, and wear your best Misfits shirt to the jury selection. Remember, the court is looking for objective, normal people, not self-proclaimed radicals who might throw the system. Use this to your advantage.
  • Let it be known that you aren’t having fun. Many times judges or legal staff will simply ask if you can render a fair verdict. You could say something like you’re pissed at the defendant for making you sit through hell. Or you could simply say, “No,” but beware, you might be asked why.
  • Be an annoying moron. If you ask as many stupid questions as possible and ask for clarification or every single topic presented. You’re bound to not only annoy your potential-juror peers, but the attorneys and the judge as well! This will work to your advantage as he thought of having to be around you for several days or months may be enough to have the court ask you to leave.

35 Comments

Why is it our “civic duty” to be on a jury, yet there is no compensation for the first day. One day of missing work is huge to some people. Why would I want to serve on a jury if it only pays me $40 a day?? This is extortion in my opinion. The government wants you to do your “civic duty” yet is unwilling to pay you enough to even feed your family!

I meant to say blackmail, instead of extortion, but with the government they seem to be one and the same

i am very much in agreement with Victoria. when i make $300 a day and i need everyday of that to pay my bills the government damn well should pay me what i make to serve jury duty. also, when guilty assholes keep getting off over and over only to go out and rob, rape or kill someone else its time to fix the system instead of making us serve in a court thats horribly broken.

what if i say that iam a gangmember ? Well that s what i am going to say in the explanation part of the letter .

the first people that should be selected for jury duty is someone who is retired… they have time for this shit… people who work, let alone go to school do not have the time to deal with the process and the $40 a day that can’t even buy dinner with for the family…

Here in Canada you only get 25$ a day for childcare costs associated with jury duty. It cost me $112 dollars a day to hire a sitter from any of the local sitter services. That’s $560 a week!

I totally agree with everyone and everything stated here. I think that people who have a job should be left alone to go and earn their living. Those who are retired, on welfare, and on Unemployment should be the ones selected. I pay my taxes, go to work every day and now I am expected as part of my “Civic Duty” to do Jury Duty and not get paid at all! This is crazy. Does anyone know how you would go about changing the system?

It would seem to me that everyone else in the courtroom who is depended upon to make an important decision gets paid a good sum of money,way more than most of us will ever make.I don’t get paid to do jury duty by my employer and will have to use my holiday pay if selected of which I only get 2wks per year.I say those who feel so strongly about this being a civic duty(responsibility)should all put their names in and keep mine out.This will be my third time in 5yrs.

I followed your advice and it worked!! They let us sit around for days before being called. As soon as I got a chance to speak I started the ball rolling. First I said I had no childcare. That didn’t work. Then I said that a similar incident had happened to me. Then to top it off I started talking about jury nullification. That did it! Then other people followed suit. It was wonderful. They got rid of us all. And then the judge had to start all over again. Thank you!!! I doubt if they will ever call any of us again.

I just moved from NJ to TX and apparently by getting my drivers license I immediately got my call to jury duty!
It seems a lot of Texans refer to me as a “Yankee” here.
Would that be enough to get me out of serving if I didn’t feel welcomne in this state?

We only get $15.00 per day and I do not get supplimented from my employer. I can not afford to miss work and with the rising gas prices it would cost me all of that $15.00 to go back and forth for one day to the court house. We do not have public transportation in our area. If I go for jury duty, which I have been called for, I will not be able to buy groceries. Civic duty my butt, our government screws us in every way they can. Call the welfare recipients and pay them the $15.00 each day. They already are used to sitting on their butts doing nothing. Oh wait, they might miss their soap opera. We as working, tax paying citizens pay for their welfare, put them to work doing what they do best…nothing!!!

I hope i wont have to go to jury duty, im unemployed right now, but in college. And everyone knows that missing just one day of college can make everything get really hard, trying to catch up with the rest of the class and stuff.

Also, could someone explain more about the “Jury Nullification” savannah said, and more on the “The law is bad” vote that kable said?
to my email “[email protected]”. (email is a spamfilter)

This will be my third time getting a summon. I got picked to serve about 5 years ago. I will not do it again once is enough. I found a letter online that I am going to use. This is bullshit and I don’t feel it is my civic duty and I will fight it every step of the way. I can’t afford to take time off work. I have to work two jobs just to pay the rent. I never fill out a census and this past year I did and I swear when you do thats when you get picked. The system needs to change.

I’m also on my 3rd time. They get me every three years, and I have to be available for 60 or more days during each session.I’ve sat on three juries. This time I’m going to try to get a doctor’s note; if that doesn’t work, my bad attitude won’t be an act. I’ve done my civic duty.
Let someone else do theirs.

I agree with every thing I just read about jury duty. I don’t think you should be made to serve. Its too many people out there love to serve. They call me every year and I know some people who haven’t been on jury duty in ene years.

Karen

Your employers are supposed to pay you for the day.(full time employees for sure I do not know about part time)…and you are to turn over the check you recieve from the courts. It’s not your fault you had to do your civic duty….

I just received a summons for jury duty here in Ontario. A booklet came with the summons explaining some FAQ. It is October 30, 2008 and I received my jury summons 2 days ago. So any information I write is current here in Ontario and the city I live in.
Here is a current list of what is covered and what is not covered when attending a jury selection or while on a jury:

1. NO childcare is paid
2. NO parking fees are paid
3; Travel expense allowance IS PAID but, you must like more that 40
away from the court house and MUST sit on a jury to receive it.
Anyone living in the city are on their (did not say how much paid)
4. The law DOES NOT require your boss to pay your salary while on jury
duty. It just says to speak to your boss about it.
5. E.I is paid
6. Your are NOT paid to sit on a jury. however there are exceptions
- If a trial last longer than 10 days then on the 11th day and
there after you will receive $40 a day until trial ends.
- If a trial last longer than 50 days, then on the 51st day you
will receive $100 a day until the trial ends.

[...] you’re just hankering for a way out, take a look at this humorous take on “How to Get Out of Jury Duty”. Some of them are practical enough that they just might [...]

I recently served on a jury for my first time. I found it wonderfully rewarding. I can certainly understand where a lot of you are coming from - it doesn’t pay near what most of us make each day. Some of us are lucky to have employers that understand that jury duty is beyond our control and will pay up to “x” amount of days. Those that say to get the unemployment and welfare moochers, drug dealers, etc to be on the jury, think of this: If you were on trial, would you really want the lowest people you could possibly find deciding YOUR fate, simply because they had the “spare time”? Anyways, just my $.02.

I was recently called to Federal Grand Jury. I wrote a note stating that I have a 3 year old with no child care on Mondays. I was to report on a Monday. The letter also cited that my kids have to be dropped off at school every day at 8:30 and that the 3 year old has church day care which ends at 1:15 every day. So, I’m waiting for a letter from the court dismissing me and I end up getting a call the week prior to the appearance date stating that the judge has reviewed all of the information and said that I am NOT excused from showing up. Unbelievable! I asked the person who called if I should just bring my 3 year old to the court room and was advised that children are not allowed. After about 30 minutes on the phone with the jury administrator she finally tells me that she’ll reiterate to the judge that I have no child care. To make a long story short, I got out of that appearance but was advised that I will be called again sometime between now and April and that I will not be dismissed from that call. I’m trying to find a way out of the next one. While jury duty service might be rewarding, who can afford to be paid squatters wages for wasting 1+ days of valuable time?

I’ve got news for all the people who keep posting on the net that you can get out of jury duty if you’re a nurse, NOT TRUE.

I’m a Registered Nurse, I’m divorced and have no other income besides my job. I also have my diabled adult daughter living with me, and my job does not pay for time off for jury duty. Despite all of these things, I was told yesterday by Lori Schumann, head of Jury Management for Milwaukee County, that those aren’t good enough reasons to get out of serving. I HAVE to serve even if it means financial hardship for me and my family.

Thanks Milwaukee!

my husband is the sole provider for us. jury duty will cost us $500. i have prescriptions to pay for, rent due and very little food in the house. our car broke down 2 weeks ago & we had to borrow money to fix it & have to pay that back. we live week to week & stated this, they still won’t excuse him for financial hardship. So now my rent will be late add a 45 dollar late fee.on top of that , we live in escondido, he has to drive to san diego about 70 miles round trip to do jury duty.everyone else i’ve talked to said they only had to go to vista.why cant seniors, or people on unemployment fill these spots? It could be extra income for them, and they have the time.At least provide transportation, or make it a law that employers have to pay you for jury duty, it’s not like you want to go like playing hookey. you have no choice.somethings gotta change !!!

God, you people are a bunch of fucking whiners. Here’s your easy way out:
1- say you’re for the death penalty
2- say you’re racist against everyone
3- say you feel a daugher belongs with her mother/son with his father (if it’s a custody case)

Just lie-you obviously don’t give a rats ass about anyone but yourselves. No wonder this country has gone to shit.

To “you people suck”. It’s easy to see you’re a winner. It doesn’t matter to you that taking off work would cause some of us hardship? I guess you’re independently wealthy. YOU SUCK!

HERE IN KY THEY ONLY PAY $12.50 A DAY.
$5.00 for jury DUTY AND 7.50 FOR EXPENSES.
Do the math how much gas can I buy with $7.50?

To Eve: What bothers me is that people bitch and moan that they can’t afford to take care of their kids because this puts them in financial hardship. First of all, who forced you people to have kids? The government certainly didn’t hold a gun to your head, yet they fucking reward you every year come tax time. I would love to get $6,000, $9,000, $12,000 back, like some people do. You never hear anyone complaining when the government REWARDS you for having babies, do you? However, the minute the government requires you to fulfill your civil duty, all the bitching and moaning begins. How about saving some of that thousands of dollars when you know you *MIGHT* need it at some point - like when the government REQUIRES you to appear for jury duty.

Do you think you would - or anyone else for that matter - opt to not receive their gigantic tax refunds, in lieu of never having jury duty? I didn’t think so.

I’m entitled to have my opinions, as are you.

You people suck, love your comment and I totally agree. Ppl with kids get all the breaks, tax credits, preferential schedules at work, sick days. It’s not fair to discriminate against employing someone w/kids but people do tend to use the excuse their child is sick or that have to leave early for kid things. When it comes right down to it, having children is a choice and it you have to be prepared to do whatever you were able to do before havings kids. Period. That’s my opinion. And yes I am in the jury pool right now and hope I don’t get picked but if I do, that’s life.

I reside in Texas, got called for the third time in 3 years for Jury Duty. The first time, I sat for four hour, and the case dismissed. The second time, I got out due to the fact tha I am an RN, and work in an administrastiv position, where RN coverage is 7 days a week. This time, they t ell me t hat being an RN doesn’t qualify. So, that means I haveno RN in the building for 5 days, and we will be out of compliance. Where is the consistncy?

yes i have something to say about jury duty the system sucks. my husband been in court for three days now he took his hard ship letter to the court try to talk to the judge but judge wallace of bakersfield ca did not care he said no you say here,my husband alreay got a letter from work saying that they are going to lay off about 700 workers starting may of 2009 im on soc-sec disable
fron breat cancer and im deaf in my right ear and wearing hearing aid in left ear. hes losing 300.00 dollars aday from work why dont the county of kern put people on jury duty who is on employment or walfare who sents home and dont do a dame thing so this morning he went to court looking like shit

i run my own tow company i went out and bought a tow truck 1 year ago im 26 now and never got called for this shit tell i started my company in two weeks will be the third time in the last year. when i get called for this i have to close my doors as theres no one to run my truck last time i tryed to get out of it and all they had to say was well you can reschedule it for some time in the next 12 months (wtf is the dif of shutting my truck donw for a week now or latter)

I personally think the FEDERAL Jury Duty is bull. As I type this, my husband just had to drive over 60miles one way to get to Federal Jury Duty - and YES, he has tried to get out of it. This is going to be a financial hardship big time, should he get picked for a Jury.

He drives an old 86 pick-up Truck back and forth to work each day that is on its last leg as they say. He can not drive back and forth for the 3 days he is requested to be there - but yet, we DO NOT have the money upfront to pay for a Motel/Hotel Room for him to stay in. Yes, they say they will reimburse you so much, but you have to have the darn money upfront first, and then they cut you a check approx. 3 weeks after you are excused.
The Parking alone is going to break us & his employer only gives so much when he is on Jury Duty - my husband makes most of his money on his overtime each week, and his employer will not pay anything close to that. And now, just yesterday we found out that when he does receive the $40 a day check from Federal Jury Duty, he has to sign it over to his employer - THAT IS ALSO BULL*HIT!
My husband has served in the Vietnam War, has already been called to County Jury Duty THREE times, and always went.
I agree they should get some of these people who are on welfare - but then that probably poses another problem - there are a lot of people on welfare (NOT ALL) that can’t even speak the English Language - need I go on ???
Plus I am disabled and depend on my husband when he comes home from work each day to help me. But as we checked into this further, and wanted to know why he couldn’t be excused, we were told that the JUDGE in charge ruled on this and they WILL NOT excuse him..

I just hope when he answers all their questions, etc, they will see how this will really affect us, plus the fact that my brother is a Detective on a Police Force, my s-i-l also works for the Police Department, and have had two other cousins on the Police Department.
THE SYSTEM SUCKS BIG TIME - too bad there isn’t a way to sue the Federal Courts for failure to excuse someone for Hardships.

Its pretty sad that the government can give so much money to big corporations for failing-but cannot adequately compensate people for serving on jury duty.Seems like we are punished for being decent,law abiding citizens.I agree they should use retired people or those on unemployment or welfare-but even then they should compensate these people. Who wants to spend their days off or not get paid for doing a job???? No wonder lpeople are disgusted with the SYSTEM. It is very unjust.

To “You People Suck”:

First of all, my daughter is disabled, and she’s an adult. I’m 55 and I don’t have little kids. I didn’t ask for a disabled daughter, thanks. Secondly, I deserve my tax refund. You must be a liberal. That’s MY MONEY in the first place, money that the dumbass liberals took from me all year. Where do you think that money comes from? I paid it all year dummy! If I can get it ALL back I’d take it! Between the Fed Tax and WI State Tax, (number three in the country and surpassed only by New York and California), I’ll take whatever I can get back. Lastly, I don’t appreciate the friggin’ government telling me I HAVE to do anything, especially miss work. That’s unconstitutional. There’s no place in the Constitution that says the government has the right to force us to work for them, and on a jury that’s exactly what you’re doing. It’s a bunch of bull. And if I have to serve I’m going to claim Juror Nullification, too! It’s my right, but then, you must enjoy the government walking all over you. I don’t, I’m an Independent, not a Socialist who wants the government to be my Daddy. BTW, I’ve NEVER missed work because my kids were sick. That’s a fairy tale childless people like to tell. You all must hate people with kids, ey? Sounds like a personal problem. LOL!

To anyone who’s interested, check out this site:
http://www.fija.org/
It’s the Fully Informed Juror Association.

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