January 31, 2017
Jury duty is a civic responsibility that many individuals want to avoid at all costs. All juries are essentially a group of peers who hear the particulars of a case without governmental interference with respect to the final determination of guilt or innocence by a petit jury in trials, or by returning indictments when sitting on a grand jury. Regardless of which type of jury for which an individual may be chosen, the criteria for being allowed a waiver is the same for both. Actually, the interview process before the selection is essentially for a jury pool from which official jurors. Grand jury service is probably more common, and is usually the initial focus of jury selection.
Potential Impact of Ignoring a Jury Summons
Those who decide that appearing for a jury interview or actual jury duty is not important are truly making a mistake because the court system actually has penalties in place that can be filed against the potential juror. It is effectively the same thing as being summoned to court. While being chosen for jury duty is a rarity for most people, some still want to avoid serving because it can be disrupting to the individual routine. But, the truth is that the judge can actually issue a warrant for the arrest of a non-compliant potential juror and the bench warrant can be served in any scenario, including while at work. The charge is effectively contempt of court and the judge can impose the penalty in the first hearing.
Avoiding Jury Duty
There are several legal methods of avoiding jury duty. Some of those are relatively surprising, while others are common sense reasoning. Convicted felons are immediately excluded from the potential jury pool because they may be influenced by the prior conviction with respect to applying appropriate penalties. However, most cases requiring a jury are actually civil cases. Anyone who actually approves of settlement law could also be influenced as well, so many times individuals who have filed a lawsuit are also waived. Actually, upper-level education could be a good reason because prosecutors do not necessarily want jurors who understand the process well. Mental stability can be a reason to request exclusion too, and this is stipulated in law. Actually, almost any medical problem will suffice in most instances when verifiable.
One of the most common reasons for not wanting to sit on a jury is financial when an employer wants to put pressure on an employee to avoid serving. There are several reasons the employer may want exclusion, but many employers do not realize they too can be cited for contempt if they instruct an employee to report for work and miss jury duty. This event is rare, but it does happen and is often the main underlying reason for wanting avoidance.