Jury Duty, Redux


“It’s a jury duty summons,” Paul announced as he riffled through yesterday’s stack of mail.

“Ha!” I said, “I guess it’s your turn now!”

“Nope. It’s for you.”

“What?” I seized the official-looking document and flipped it over. Sure enough, there was my name. “But I just served! I thought they couldn’t call me again for two years!”

So what’s the deal? This summons is for a United States District Court, while the last one was for a Grand Jury. Is that why I’m getting tapped again? Or did they just make a mistake? I’m a little confused, but I guess I’ll try to iron it all out on Monday, when the offices are open. I’m hoping it’s just a clerical error.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to shirk my civic duty. If it weren’t for having to arrange child care, get someone to pick Katie up at school, and juggle our one car with Paul so he can get to work, I might actually be excited about a little break from the normal laundry and dishes routine. Unfortunately, though, it takes a lot of shuffling to get our ducks in a row, and the unpredictable nature of jury duty makes it worse. You don’t even find out until the night before if you have to show up at all. And if you do get selected for a jury, there’s no way to know how long the case is going to drag out.

So I guess I had better start thinking of ways to make myself less appealing as a potential juror.

I think this calls for a Top Ten list. And with that, I give you:

Top Ten Ways to Get Out of Jury Duty

10. Show up wearing a Charles Manson tee shirt and carrying a dog-eared copy of “Helter Skelter”. Every so often, giggle for no reason.

9. As the judge reads the list of charges, count them down on your fingers, loudly saying “check” after each one.

8. Fake narcolepsy.

7. Bring your kids with you. Be sure to feed them a hearty breakfast of Nerds and Twinkies first.

6. Wait until the judge asks you a routine jury polling question, then stand up and shout, “You can’t handle the truth!”

5. Ask to see the breastfeeding facilities.

4. Start booing and hissing whenever the defense attorney gets up to make a statement.

3. When you’re asked to take the juror’s oath, insist on translating it into Klingon.

2. Whisper loudly to the potential juror beside you: “This show was so much better when Jerry Orbach was on it!”

1. Wear this.

17 responses »

  1. Ha! I love them all. Especially the last.

    I think when you get summoned once, you are tagged. My husband also got summoned twice within a short period of time. Perhaps if the courts paid more than a few dollars for an entire day of waiting in a room full of germy people, there’d be more excitement about serving?

  2. I thought that last link would be a Star Trek uniform, but you went one better! Try them all, because Grand Jury can tie you up for YEARS. And I think that’s why they can call you again, esp. if you weren’t picked for regular trial duty. I am going to start asking to see the lactation room everywhere I go now. awesome.

  3. Accepted! Thank you very much. I think #5 would be even more effective if you had your 4 year old child in tow when you asked. Also, a comment along the lines of, “If they got this far, I’m sure he must be guilty,” could, quite possibly, do the trick! (and I really think you should have that t-shirt, just in case.)

  4. I didn’t know they could only call you every 2 years! Rick has been called twice in the last 3 years too! He figured if he made it past the initial selection (which he didn’t) he would stand up in his clerical clothes and begin prophesying about how it would end! You have great ideas too. My great idea – be from a different country! I guess they figure Canadians aren’t smart enough to do jury duty, and that’s ok with me!

  5. I have no explanation for it, and I’m almost afraid to admit it (you never know who is reading your blog, Katrina) but I’ve never been called (and yes, I vote!)

    I hope if you are in fact due to the court that you get a fun case to discuss over the dinner table!!

  6. I’m going to let Arrty read your list. He just got the letter, too. I think he should especially try the breastfeeding one. That’s sure to get him off!

  7. I think I got excused when I started whistling the theme from the Andy Griffith show and asked the clerk where Barney Fife was ( lol). I don’t think that would fly in your county. I hope it works out.

  8. Um, here in Texas, if you are a stay-at-home mommy with a non-school-aged child, you are able to decline jury duty. Thankfully, preschool only 2 days a week doesn’t count as ‘school’ so I’m set for at least another 3 years 🙂 You should check the rules, but I’d be shocked if that didn’t apply in all states – maybe it’s a loop-hole that you’re not aware of and can use! And, if it isn’t, just MOVE TO TEXAS 🙂

    By the way, loved #7!!!!

  9. Being related to someone in law enforcement and being a Christian school teacher seemed to do the trick for me. It does make you wonder, though, what type of people do make it to the actual jury. I would like to experience the process as long as it wasn’t too inconvenient for me. If not blog fodder, a jury experience may be just the inspiration for your great American novel!

  10. Sweet! ( Same to you, K!)

    Donald–that is an awesome article. I would have thought she’d be dismissed for sure. However, it did bring up the point that talking to the press is a good jury jilting technique. Maybe I could mention that I have a few friends in the news business? (You don’t mind, do you Sarah?)

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