Federal jury duty coinciding with trip?

Jan 5th, 2008, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I guess I was wrong. Here is the official word:

Selection of Jurors

Before potential jurors are summoned for service, their names are randomly drawn from voters lists (and sometimes drivers lists) to receive a questionnaire to determine whether they meet the legal qualifications for jury service.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:53 PM
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and back to the topic, here is more from the GOV site link:

Temporary Deferrals

The Jury Act allows courts to grant temporary deferrals of service on the grounds of "undue hardship or extreme inconvenience." The juror summons provides specific information on how to request a deferral from the court summoning the juror.

Temporary deferrals for jurors are granted at the discretion of the court and cannot be reviewed or appealed to Congress or any other entity.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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I can't believe they pull the names from voting lists. I always thought that an urban legend. Good thing I don't vote...
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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In our county they pull the names from the registered voter lists and the DMV lists. I do not know how the Federal Jury list is compiled. After age 70 in our county you are permanently excused. And you are excused with a doctor's signed medical excuse. And you are deferred for jury duty if you send in a reasonable excuse such as a trip etc. But again I don't know how a Federal Jury summons works. I would contact the appropriate person on Monday MareW. Best wishes to you.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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Federal jury selection seems to vary by district. This is the method for the district I live in: http://www.nced.uscourts.gov/PDF_fil...n%20010906.pdf

Whoever designed this considers the list of voters for a Presidential election a "fair cross section of the community". I'm not sure I actually agree with that.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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I've been called a number of times (and served once) on federal court. I live in NYC, so a lot of cases come up.

My first call and service was more than 20 years ago. They felt they had you hostage for at least two weeks. They would have kept us sitting, waiting to be called to a possible jury for the entire two weeks. I actually served on TWO cases during the two weeks.

For the second case, I was being seriously considered for a case that they claimed would take at least a month. Since my first case was supposed to take 2 days and took 5, I had little hope of the case lasting a montht. Plus, they were calling the jurors by number, not by name as in my first case. Something was definitely troubling about this case. (I later ran into someone who was on my first jury who got put on that case, a big-time drug dealer case. The jurors were being picked up at their homes and driven to court for their protection!)

I managed to convince the judge that as a self-employed person I couldn't serve another month--I wouldn't be paid. He said it was my civic duty to serve. I said that I had already served on one case for a week and that if I had to serve for much more than two weeks total I would be very concerned about my finances--I'd be happy to serve another week. He let me off that case and I was put on another one the next day that lasted until the end of the week.

Since that time the system as actually improved.
I've been given up to 3 deferrals by mail without explanation a few times before having to attend.

Last year for a federal court summons, I showed up on the appointed day and sat in the room and waited. After a lunch break I still didn't get called, so at 3PM they called a bunch of names and told us to call a certain phone number after 5PM the next day--no need to come in. The next day I called the number and a recording told me that my jury service was complete.

Also, based on the number of days served, they call you again sooner or later. Since I didn't serve on a case, they can call me again in two years. Serving on a case could have put service off for five years.

I've usually found that the summons you receive looks a bit scary, especially the doom-like instructions in red letters. Then you turn over the summons and read the fine print to discover there are simple ways to defer.

Hopefully Mare will have a similar experience of easy deferral.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 5th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the input and good wishes! I do seem to be one of those people who gets called a lot. In fact, I last served in Nov 06, but since it wasn't a federal court, it doesn't "count" here.

I read all the fine print, and the form they sent contradicts the website on several points. I'm not sure what to expect. I just hate to be in limbo. I'm afraid to go ahead with train tickets, possible tours in Rome, etc right now. I already booked the hotels. They can be cancelled, but I meant the Rome hotel as a backup while I looked into apartments.
MareW is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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One of the contradictions I was referring to: The website (I live in MA) says they will notify you by mail of your deferment status in two weeks. However, the form specifically says they will NOT notify you at all. Instead, you are to call an automated hotline 10 days before your first appearance date, input your juror number, and they will then tell you your status.

The form had no phone number to talk to a live person, but the website does, so I will call on Monday. Thanks again!
MareW is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 04:34 PM
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As long as you don;t have a history of deferments and can demonstrate that the tickets were issued before the summons was sent it should be an automatic deferment. BUT - you must be prepared to tell them when you CAN serve - in the reasonably near future. And, at least here in NYC - where there are so many cases versus the number of jurors - they will probably call you back then.

(I was called 3 years ago and had a business meeting/convention scheduled in Paris long before I got the summons. They gave me the deferment - but I had to tell them a time within the next 6 months when I could serve - and got a new summons for that very week.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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MA is Masaschusetts, right? Your jury plan says you may be excused for business or recreational travel plans made before you received the summons. Of course, the operative word is "may".
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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I travel for work very frequently.

I've been called for Fed Jury Duty 2x.

I got out of it both times with a copy of my ISSUED plane ticket and a letter from my employer as to what my responsibilities were in the places that I were traveling to.
cfntmpn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 07:53 AM
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I can only hope it doesn't matter if the plans were long held or not. I booked the ticket on December 30 and received the summons yesterday. I'm going to keep the postmarked envelope so they can see it wasn't mailed until Jan 4!

To clarify, I realize that if I get the deferment, they will call me again very soon. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner the better. I don't want to have to worry about it hanging over my head.
MareW is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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I've done this one...

Called for federal jury duty..

I sent back my jury questionnaire with copy of ticket and explanation that I had paid for this, etc. (I had paid a tour company a chunk of money as well.) The form had the same sort of caveats and contradictions that you've noted.

No response.

A week or so before I was supposed to leave on the trip (I think it was also a week before the voir dire), I called the court clerk or the jury clerk. They checked with the judge's office, and I was off the hook for that round.

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have waited so long to call. I'd give the court clerk a call now...or send in the documents you have and then give them a call in approximately a week.

I eventually ended up going to the the courthouse about a year later, at which time I was dismissed. You will probably continue to receive summons until you actually go to the jury selection. I probably got 4-5 of the summons after initial one before I actually had to go--most of them ended up being cancelled. In my jurisdiction, your name remains in the federal jury wheel for the length of a presidential term, at which time a new wheel (or pool) is initiated.
carlito234 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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This happened to me as well. A prebooked trip is seen as as good an excuse as any. You are in the clear
Bethx212 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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My very first jury duty was Federal Court in LA. Out of our group of 40 something people, more than half tried to get excused. Only 2 succeeded!

Questioning of potential jurors was SO minimal that no one had a chance of getting rejected. I was on the jury and hearing a counterfeiting case that only lasted 1.5 days.

Very interesting. We convicted the guy and I was done...
Dayle is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Here is my update, in case anyone was wondering. A jury clerk finally told me today that I will only be on call to serve for the first week. They have taken me off the list for the other two weeks.

If I get put on a trial that week and they think it will run long, then I can go before the judge and ask to be excused. The clerk said the judges are very understanding in a case like this.

I'm certainly grateful they were reasonable about it. I just wish they could have given me my answer sooner, because it affected some of my plans.
MareW is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Hi M,

It is highly likely that the judge will postpone your jury duty until after you return.

Write the Clerk of the Court.

ira is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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I've been called twice for Federal jury duty and both times I already had European tickets during that time period. In both cases I faxed them copies of the tickets and was excused. I was never called again.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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Since you already know you have to go in to serve, a word of advice there: Bring something to read, preferably something substantial. You will likely spend a lot of time waiting and waiting and waiting. You really don't want to sit around and stare at the walls or out the windows waiting for the time to drag by.

Also, be grateful you weren't summoned for a federal grand jury. A friend of mine served on one every fourth week or so for 18 months; she's a teacher at a year-round school and it was definitely an inconvenience. She tried to get out of it by claiming she was biased (knowing her, she may well have flat out said that!), but no dice. They took just about everybody. It was very interesting, but she couldn't even talk about any of it until after each case was done with the grand jury (indicted or acquitted). This was several years ago, so maybe things have changed.
michigandra is offline  

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