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Can I get out of jury duty?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
We live in CO and I was just informed I have jury duty in mid-Jan. I homeschool my almost 6 year old for K, but I don't need to file with the district until next year. The form I received said any exemptions had to be supported with proper documentation (doctor's note, alien registration, etc). Has anyone encountered this? It is only for one day and I probably *could* make it work that I am there, but just wondering if I am able to come up with some sort of documentation that I am a homeschooler even though I have not filed with the district. TIA!
post #2 of 26
In my state the exclusions for that 1 day are VERY limited. They want you to show up that day and give your excuse for why you can't do it for more than one day to the judge.

I'd find a friend to watch him for the day, or take him along. Preferably the former.
post #3 of 26
I live in MA and was called for jury duty last year. I was not able to use homeschooling as an excuse, I tried. But I will say that there may be ways of filling out your questioner that might get you excused (not chosen). My dad used to be a cop. People say that's why I don't get picked. I still have to do and sit there for a few hours, but that it.

Good luck
post #4 of 26
I don't have time to write a long, coherent post about why you should be willing to serve jury duty. But consider just arranging childcare and going to the courthouse that day, ready and willing to serve. It's a good opportunity to teach your DC a little about the constitution and civic responsibilty. It's your chance to observe and learn. And our judical process depends on people serving as jurors. And if you aren't picked, maybe you can enjoy a rare day off (sigh, I have been dreaming of a day off lately).
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
I don't have time to write a long, coherent post about why you should be willing to serve jury duty. But consider just arranging childcare and going to the courthouse that day, ready and willing to serve. It's a good opportunity to teach your DC a little about the constitution and civic responsibilty. It's your chance to observe and learn. And our judical process depends on people serving as jurors. And if you aren't picked, maybe you can enjoy a rare day off (sigh, I have been dreaming of a day off lately).
I am not unwilling, and have served jury duty many times in the past. It is a huge burden for me to find childcare for my 2 children, who have never been in childcare and have never stayed with anyone but family. I did say that I could make it work (my DH might have to take off that day), but was unsure if the fact that I homeschool my dd would be allowed as an exemption. Anyway- I don't mind jury duty, but my family does come before my civic responsibility. I just didn't know if homeschooling could be used as an exemption.
post #6 of 26
If you are the sole caregiver and it would be a financial burden for your dh to take the day off, you would probably be excused.

Call the court clerk and ask them!! I was called when ds was an infant and I was still breastfeeding. I called the clerk, explained this and she told me to write a note, attach it to the form and return it. They called me two days later (we live in a very small town!) and I was excused. I've never been called since.

I, too, have served on jury duty before, for death penalty cases. I was glad to serve on those.
post #7 of 26
I was supposed to have JD in Sept. I wrote a letter informing them that I'm a sahm, nursing a baby, and homeschooling a 1st grader. I asked to be excused for those reasons and I never heard another word about it.
post #8 of 26
I too live in Colorado. I found out that it is hard to get out of jury duty. I had a newborn(4 weeks) and breastfeeding and I still had to go in. You have a questionairre that you have to fill out and you can state why you feel that you cannot serve on a jury. You can postpone serving, but you usually have to fufill it within a year.
post #9 of 26
In CA, being a BFing mother is one way you can get be automatically excused from jury duty. They don't need to know that your nursling is 3...

Also, my DH was able to defer JD by stating that he works for himself, so if he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid, and missing even one day of work would result in extreme financial hardship for our family. And, technically, you do work for yourself as a SAHM/teacher/everything else you are to your family .

I'm all for doing one's civic duty and I understand that it's one of the responsibilities of living in a democratic society; however, I believe that family and children come first, and if we lived in a society that truly valued those things, serving jury duty would be a non-issue for parents while their DC are little.
post #10 of 26
Sorry to sound less than kind - I was having flashbacks to my days as a prosecutor (mostly of DUIs). There were times when only a fraction of the jury pool would appear for service, some days I would have all my witnesses in the courtroom ready for the trial, and then I wouldn't even be sure if there would be enough jurors to serve. In SC, sole caregivers to children under seven are exempt, you you would not be required to serve in my state. People over age 65 are also exempt. There are several other exemptions also.

It is just frustrating that so many people want to get out of serving as a juror- even if it is understandable. Anyone who is self-employed or a contract laborer wants to be excused, because they will not get paid for that day (other than the very few dollars jurors are paid here). Many people have medical issues that make serving difficult. It is a burden for many people, and I am not sure that we shouldn't change the system to have some sort of job of juror. Maybe like being in the Peace Corps, it could be a job for which you are paid that you work for just a few years more for civic duty than as a career path. There would be lots of problems with this too, so I don't know what the answer is.

Fourty years ago women were not even allowed to be jurors in this state. Many people across the world, especially women, are denied all sorts of rights (like to a fair trial) that Americans do have. I just get a little crazy when at least once a month I see a thread about avoiding jury duty.
post #11 of 26
I'm all for serving as a juror, don't get me wrong. But Colorado does not allow for many exemptions. Being a self-employed mom of three really makes it difficult for me. Then telling me that I still had to go in even though I had a 4 week old baby that was nursing on demand was a little much. I was told that if I did not show up on the date I was supposed to I would be in contempt. I never even found out that I would postpone it until after I got there, but then it was too late because I had to send in a letter asking to postpone and when I would be able to be selected for jury duty two weeks before.
Not a happy process and I was not a happy camper .

I think they should have positions for jurors. It would be wonderful, maybe they would pay more than 5 dollars a day.
post #12 of 26
I've never had trouble getting a postponement or exemption when necessary --I think it varies from county to county on how easily you can get an exemption.

It just seems like murphy's law that we are always called for jury duty when it is a problem. I worked for several years before having kids at a job that would have paid me when I was at jury duty, and was never called then. DH was unemployed for over a year and would have welcomed the chance to go, but wasn't called -- there ought to be a way to volunteer when you are available -- though I know they would still need to call additional people.

In July I had to ask for a postponement for Federal Circuit court, they didn't give me a new date, just said they would put my name back in the pool. I could have done any time since July (that was just a bad month) but im still waiting to be summoned again-- I just know they will call me again when it is impossible to go.

Rebecca
post #13 of 26
I live in Colorado too. And I couldn't use homeschooling to get off of jury duty. But it wouldn't hurt to ask!
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
Fourty years ago women were not even allowed to be jurors in this state. Many people across the world, especially women, are denied all sorts of rights (like to a fair trial) that Americans do have. I just get a little crazy when at least once a month I see a thread about avoiding jury duty.
But the OP's youngest is 3! At that age, my own children are still not used to being cared for by anyone other than dh and me. Even the 5yo is still kind of young for his momma to possibly end up being separated from him for more than just a day or so.

I mean, I realize most cases are handled in one day -- but there's always the possibility that something could go a week or longer. Which, if I were the person on trial, I would appreciate if it meant the court was taking adequate time to consider my case.

But as a parent with small children, I must say I'd have a hard time focusing when I'd be so worried about how my little ones, especially my toddler, were coping when they're used to me being a daily fixture in their lives. Even my 7yo hasn't been separated from me for more than a day, and that length of separation certainly doesn't happen more than rarely.

OP, let us know how it goes!

Shianne, did you end up having to do jury duty even though your baby was so tiny? If so, were you allowed to keep Baby against you in a sling? Or did the court deny him continuous physical contact with his momma's warm body?
post #15 of 26
I've been excused each time too (for breastfeeding and being the only care provider for small children.)

I dont feel bad in the slightest. My children come first. I'm not dumping them off in daycare (especially the one at the court!) where they would be terrified. My duty RIGHT NOW is to my children. When they are old enough, then yes...that is different.

My dh doesnt go either. If he misses work, he misses pay. If he misses pay, we lose our house. I know a lot of peoples' budgets are THAT tight. Maybe if they wanted people to actually serve....they wouldnt make it a complete financial burden on people. The system is flawed at best.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Shianne, did you end up having to do jury duty even though your baby was so tiny? If so, were you allowed to keep Baby against you in a sling? Or did the court deny him continuous physical contact with his momma's warm body?
I had to go in for the selection, I thought I'd be excused after I filled in their questionairre, but I wasn't. But I was very vocal when I ended up for selection, I didn't get chosen to serve on the jury that was scheduled to last a week though.
I was happy. Now I am a witness for a case and its been continued 6 times. I told the ADA after the 5th time it was continued that I would have to bring my younger boys with me next time as I did not have child care any longer for them. Its amazing that they pay me 5 dollars a day that I would normally make 180. How do they expect me to live????

Any way, its a great way for the kids to see how the justice system works. Dusty has been to court with me once before and he found it amusing.
post #17 of 26
Where I live you call in the night before you are assigned to see if your number is called. I never had mine called when I was homeschooling in the past, thank goodness. I would arrange a sitter for that day. Then go in and if they ask you any questions then answer the questions in a way that they won't like. If they ask if you know people who work for the town/city then say yes, stuff like that. If they ask if you agree with the death penalty (if they do this in your state) then say no or give answers you know they won't like. That will get you out of there quick!
post #18 of 26
I realize this thread is a few days old. But every time I read one of these I get irked. Why? Because I am not quite 30 and I have been called 8 times since I turned 18. Have a nursing baby? Too bad. Before that when I was in school... have a final exam to take? Tough! Just served (but got dismissed before actually going in) two weeks ago? Well that was for last year, this is for this year.

I actually enjoy going in for the most part. I take a bunch of reading and sort of enjoy the time. But why should my husband or family member miss work because I have jury duty? And I don't think I should have to when I have such small children to take care of.

That aside. Why is it I've been called 8 times before my 30th birthday? My mother was never called ONCE until she hit 40. My MIL was never called until after her 50th birthday. My husband is not quite 30 as well, he was called ONCE! My cousins near my age... never called. I could go on and on and on!

To the lawyer here, I sympathize. It's gotta stink to try and get people in. I have a solution... call EVERYONE consistently. EVERYONE should have to report every so many years. Why do SOME people go most of their lives withought being called while others are called seemingly every other week? If EVERYONE was consistently called you get more people to come!
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
I just get a little crazy when at least once a month I see a thread about avoiding jury duty.
Maybe you shouldn't hang on a forum full of mothers who are low(ish) income with non-school aged, home schooled, or breastfed children, to reduce your stress level .

I had to take a two hour final for school and my 17mo dd (who was with ds3 and dh) cried the entire time. If I was required to dump my dd in a daycare of questionable quality I'd be crying too. I am not interchangable with random adults; my dd needs me.

People have to pay their bills, eat, care for children who have never been in daycare...
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
Maybe you shouldn't hang on a forum full of mothers who are low(ish) income with non-school aged, home schooled, or breastfed children, to reduce your stress level .

I had to take a two hour final for school and my 17mo dd (who was with ds3 and dh) cried the entire time. If I was required to dump my dd in a daycare of questionable quality I'd be crying too. I am not interchangable with random adults; my dd needs me.

People have to pay their bills, eat, care for children who have never been in daycare...
Exactly!
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