Federal jury duty coinciding with trip?

Jan 5th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Federal jury duty coinciding with trip?

I just booked plane tickets to Italy departing on April 5. Today, I received a FEDERAL jury dury summons for March 3-21. If I get on a trial the last week, I could have a big problem. In addition, it also states they can change the dates if the court schedule changes!

They will not inform anyone if they qualify for deferment until 10 days before the reporting date. This really leaves me in a bind as far as travel plans go.

My question is, has anyone been in this situation and did they allow your deferment? If I know there is little or no chance of deferment, I can at least avoid making any more reservations until the last minute.

Our state court system gives you a year to defer, but the federal court makes it sound like they will do so only under extreme circumstances and doesn't state what those are. (?)
MareW is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Hi Mare,

I've been called for county jury duty six times, but never federal. If you don't get the deferment, bring all of your reservation confirmations (airline tickets will work best). If it works like county courts they poll the jurors to see if there is any reason they can't serve. If you can prove to the judge that you truly do have the trip planned they are likely to respect that and not pick you for the jury. If you can't back it up with the proof they will think you are just trying to get out of it. Good luck, A
amor is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Thank you, Amor. I was in a real panic, but after looking at their website, I think I may have more of a chance of defering than it seemed at first. If I do have to go, I will definitely bring my tickets!
MareW is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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My H was on Federal jury duty a couple of years ago and deferred once. He ended up on a lengthy, annoyingly technical trial...
wliwl is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Book trip insurance from Travelsafe, with the 'cancel for any reason' clause. Read the details first, of course. You must do this within a short window after making your first payment of the trip, usually 10-14 days.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:43 AM
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Thank you. I will look into the travel insurance. I've never bought it before, but now might be the time to start!
MareW is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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Travel insurance is a good idea in any case.

If you have not asked for a deferment before, it is very likely that they will give you one when you ask. A deferment means that your jury duty is postponed to another time.

Even if you don't get a deferment, you still have a good chance to be excused by the judge if you are chosen for a jury panel, and it looks like the trial might run into your trip. If you are excused by the judge, you have fulfilled your jury duty obligation.
Nora_S is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Travel insurance that covers reasons for cancellation has to be purchased within a specified time period, usually 72 hours. I'm not sure it would handle this situation where you already know you have a jury duty summons. But nonetheless, it's probably worth asking an agent.
WillTravel is online now  
Jan 5th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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The cost of the insurance will probably be more that the penalty cost of changing the plane tickets! IMO, not a good idea.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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I was just recently "on call" for Federal Jury Duty for three months. Was finally called, and then luckily our 'panel' was cancelled the night before we were due to report.

When we were notified there was a slip that we were asked to fill out a slip for vacations we already had planned etc, I wish you had the same opportunity, can't imagine why you wouldn't. I would call the jury duty rep on your report form.

Best of luck.
Tiff is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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My wife had Federal jury duty last year, but was working out of state and we had a vacation that the timing put at risk. She was told flat out that they don't do deferments for vacations or for working out of town and that she was legally obligated to be there.

The trial didn't last so long that we missed vacation, but this was just luck and it could have easily gone the other way.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Out of curiosity.
How does one end up in such a thing. I usually try to "keep a low profile" to avoid being asked for "mandatory public service" for free . How did you get into the machinery?
logos999 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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if you vote you are on the list and then it's just a luck of draw.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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Wow, I feel very lucky that we had that form to fill out. Makes me think now that perhaps they would not defer you, but made every effort to avoid calling you during that time.

Things that make you go, Hmmmmmmmmm.
Tiff is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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We bought the 'cancel any reason' insurance I mentioned in Sept - it wa $140 for both of us. One ticket change will usually cost $200 fee + any fare changes. At the very least, investigate it.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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I've never been called for federal jury duty and don't know anyone else who has, either -- which is sort of surprising, given I've lived in the same place about 15 years and am called every few years for regular county trial jury duty, and I've been called to county grand jury duty once.

I am not sure, but I imagine if you don't have a federal district court in your county, it might not happen -- but there isn't any way to get off the potential pool unless you don't participate in civic duties. They usually use voter registration lists, and sometimes driver's licenses, and sometimes both.

It is a civic duty to participate, as far as I'm concerned. You aren't working for free, you are participating in society. The only thing that has irritated me in the past about it is that when I lived in Los Angeles County and was called, they were very inconsiderate of your time. I didn't mind serving, and actually thought it would be interesting, but they couldn't coordinate the number of people they called versus how many they needed. So I literally just sat in the jurors' waiting room an entire day doing nothing, because they didn't even need any potential jurors to be called for a trial and they had way too many people for their needs. Where I live now, they do have a better system and don't waste your time so much.

They wouldn't ever pick me for a trial jury anyway, they kept rejecting me on voir dire because I wasn't passive, and because I had done some consulting work giving expert witness testimony and doing research on recidivism. As soon as they asked me my occupation, they always excused me, so my time really was wasted. It was pretty obvious to see who they were rejecting and who they were keeping on voir dire, based on your answers to certain questions (occupation, magazines you read, etc.), although I'm sure that varies depending on the case. In practice, it's pretty easy to get out of serving on a jury if you just say you have some bias you know they won't like. I don't remember seeing anyone obviously doing that, but it seems very possible, although you still will have to be around to be called.

It probably varies by district and type of court, but in all the ones I have been in, they officially did not excuse you for a vacation, but they always did if someone had proof they'd already bought plane tickets or something.

Christina is online now  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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A legal (or in some states, illegal) residents and long term visitors can obtain a driver license so I don't think DL list is used for jury duty. AFAIK, it is a voters list.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:41 PM
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It is a combination of lists. Voters only would be discriminatory.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Some people do seem to get called more than others! I've been called three times for the county over 10 years, and just last month for federal district, but I have friends who've never been called.

The first two times I wasn't even eligible, as I was still a permanent resident (the county uses the driver's license lists, not the voter list). The third time, after I became a citizen, I had airline tickets and reservations for a three month trip to Europe. I replied to the summons with that information and was excused (not deferred). The federal summons also had a form to send back if you thought you had a reason to be excused, I don't understand why they wouldn't tell you until 10 days before. I would definitely NOT wait until you are actually called to ask for a deferment or excuse, I would go ahead and contact them now.

The federal call was a nuisance, as they didn't necessarily want me on a particular date, but any time during a three week time - RIGHT before Christmas! I was called the beginning of the second week. The voir dire was quite limited, and the trial quite interesting.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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To pay almost $300 to cover an event that,if it materializes ,wll cost you $400 is IMO not a smart decision. Unless the probability that the event happens is way
over 50% it doesn't make much economic sense.

Also, are you sure that the "cancel for any reason" would cover the ncrease in fare if you change the tickets?

Insurance is a personal decision , but in many cases it doesn't make economic sense.
cruiseluv is offline  

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