Actually, I think this is pretty cool. I have received quite a few jury summons in the past, but this is the first time that I may actually have to serve on a jury. I was previously automatically exempted from jury duty because I was an Active Duty military member (Texas does this, but I am not sure about other states).
I’ve always thought serving on a jury would be interesting, and it’s part of my civic duty, so I don’t mind. Actually, I welcome the opportunity. My only concern is that I don’t get stuck in a 6 month long murder trial. But that idea probably comes from reading too many John Grisham books and watching too many movies like The Runaway Jury (based on a John Grisham novel), or the modern day classic Jury Duty, starring Pauly Shore.
The reality is that I may not even get past the initial jury selection. I’m sure the jury selection process will be a lot of sitting around and waiting, so I will bring a book and a notepad and be prepared for a little light entertainment while the lawyers question other prospective jurors.
Jury Duty and work
I suspect I may be in the minority here because my job gives employees excused time off with pay while employees serve jury duty. The law does not require employers to pay their employees while they are on jury duty, though they may if they wish. However, the law does require employers to allow workers time off to perform jury duty, and employers cannot fire employees simply because they miss work to serve on a jury. I’m sure there are many people out there who simply cannot afford to serve on a jury because it would cause them undue financial hardship.
Jury Duty Exemptions
There are many valid jury duty exemptions, with rules varying by state, county, parish, etc. The best course of action is to check with the court from which you receive a jury summons for more information. In addition to exemptions from jury duty for military service (some states require military members to serve, but military commanders can overrule this if it will affect mission capability), there are many other exemptions. Common exemptions include health reasons, caregiver status, undue financial hardship, certain professions such as policemen, firefighters, and emergency workers, full-time students, convicted felons, and more. There are simply too many specific exemptions to list them all. Here is a list of federal jury duty qualifications, exemptions, and excuses.
This is only a summons – not an official notification of selection
Right now, I have only received a jury summons, which basically means, I “may” be required to serve on a jury. I need to call the courthouse the night before the date of report, at which time I will find out more information about my reporting duties. I may find out at that point that they do not need me. But I will gladly serve if called.
Beware of Jury Duty Scams
There is a jury duty scam going on where thieves pose as jury coordinators. They tell you you never showed up for a jury summons and threaten to issue a warrant for your arrest. When you protest, they request your personal info (DOB, SSN, etc), which they then use to steal your identity. NEVER give out personal information over the phone!