Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty?
October 29, 2022 | Pennsylvania Law
For some people, learning that they have been selected for jury duty is about as exciting as winning a no-expense-paid vacation to the DMV.
Depending on the type of trial and whether you’ve been summoned for a trial jury or a grand jury, jury service can last anywhere from one day to several weeks. This time commitment can cause significant disruption to your life.
According to a poll conducted by YouGov.com, about 7% of individuals who were summoned for jury service lied in an attempt to get out of it. Even among those who have not lied to avoid jury service, data from the Pew Research Center find a sizable minority of Americans do not believe serving on a jury is necessary for good citizenship.
All of this is to say that if you have ever received a summons for jury duty and wondered if you can get out of it, you’re not alone.
How Jurors Are Summoned in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Being chosen for jury service in Harrisburg is the result of a random selection process that takes names from motor vehicle registration records and voter registration records. Some individuals are selected for jury service several times over a period of years, while others are never selected.
If you want the greatest chance of never being called for jury duty, you should not have a car that must be registered with the state, and you should not register to vote in the state.
Lying Isn’t Necessary To Avoid Jury Duty
Whether you believe jury duty is important for being a good citizen or not, you should not lie to get out of it You should explain to the court, though, circumstances that might make serving on a jury difficult for you.
The court has broad discretion to excuse individuals from jury service; however, absent permission from the court, you should respond to your summons and appear for service at the designated time and place.
A court may excuse you from jury duty for the following reasons:
If you suffer from a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to sit and pay attention to evidence, you may be excused from jury service by the court.
Examples could include back and neck injuries, conditions that require you to use the restroom frequently, or chronic pain. The court may also excuse you if you are pregnant and close to your due date or restricted to bed rest.
You should be prepared to submit documentation verifying your condition if requested by the court.
Serving on a jury may pose some financial challenges to you. If these are especially severe, the court may excuse you from service. It is not typically enough of an excuse to say your employer would not pay you for jury duty. If you are a sole proprietor and your business would suffer, you may be excused from service.
If jury duty would present challenges in caring for family members, the court may excuse you. If you are a single parent of young children and have no other way to care for them, this may be a sufficient reason.
You may also be excused if you are responsible for caring for another adult with a serious medical condition and that person’s health would be endangered if you had to serve.
Jury Duty Is Rewarding but Can Be Avoided If Need Be
Many people who do serve on a jury find the experience to be enlightening and worthwhile. However, don’t be afraid to tell the court your reasons for wanting not to serve. For compelling reasons, the courts can and will excuse you from having to do so.
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