I doubt that telling the court that you rely on your income or that your job requires you to be at work every day will work... at least not in Massachusetts (your state laws may vary). Your place of work is required to give you fully paid time off for jury duty. If you're self-employed... well, that's another story.

And I think it's fair to point out that all proceedings pertaining to jury selection are recorded, so if you tell the court that you're a racist, you are now on public record as saying that you are, in fact, a racist. Same goes for anything you might not want to come up later on in life.

According to Professor Markovits at the University of Michigan, simply declare that you don't believe in the authority of the Constitution.

Or, you can wear a white wig, a long tailed coat and go around shaking everybodys hand and introducting yourself as The Admiral.

SoberSephiroth's second suggestion may not be as sure a thing as the prospective jury-dodger would like:

Consider Barbara Adams (or Federation Officer Lt. Commander Barbara Adams, as she prefers to be known). She is famous not only for being a jurist for one of the Whitewater trials in Arkansas, but for continuing to wear her Starfleet uniform and phaser (and persona(!)) while she performed her civic duties. To her credit it must be said that by all accounts, she took her assignment with all due seriousness; definitely more seriousness than the press did.

I think it's rather more difficult to get off Jury Duty here in the UK, though some other noders might know better.

I did hear of a man here quite recently though, who got off by saying "he couldn't convict anyone of anything" as he'd be plauged by guilt about what might be a mistake. This worked.

Most of the times I was sent a notice for jury duty I happened to be in college and used that as my excuse. It is a very good excuse, by the way. They won't make you show up when you write them a letter saying you are several hundred miles away attending a university.

I only had to sit through jury selection once so far and it seemed pretty easy to get excused. Either the lawyers weren't very good in the case I was being selected for, or all lawyers think ordinary citizens are morons. Because, it was as if the lawyers weren't even trying to hide the motives behind their questions. And it was obvious which answers they didn't want. So if you really want out of jury duty, just pay attention to what the lawyers ask and give them the answers you can tell they won't like. You don't even have to go on public record saying bad things.

The case I was being selected for was one in which a man had hurt his wife. Some details about how the case was going to be argued were obvious from the lawyer's questions. The man's wife wasn't interested in having her husband prosecuted. The DA had to prosecute anyways due to the nature of the crime. The man's defense would be that his wife was suicidal and she got some minor injuries from what he did to stop her; and since he had good intentions and she still wanted to work things out with him it didn't seem right for him to be prosecuted. The DA was going to argue that you can never, under any circumstances, hurt another person.

First the DA asked if anyone in the jury thought there was ever a good justification for hurting someone. That was the first opportunity to get out, but it seemed like a bad way to go on record. Then the DA asked if anyone was bothered by the wife's reluctance to see her husband prosecuted. I jumped on that one and got myself excused. I just said, "Yeah, that seems rather interesting to me. I'd be real curious as to why the court is going against the victim's wishes." I got excused immediately for that.

As anywhere, jury duty is painful where I live and although it may sound tempting to walk in with a noose and a bad attitude, you can be held in contempt of court if the judge feels you're just doing it to avoid jury duty. In my town we receive notifications telling us which week we may have to serve, but have to call the courthouse the Friday evening before to find out if we need to come in the following Monday. If not, we then have to call Monday night to find out if we have to show up on Tuesday. If not, Tuesday night we have to call in... you're getting the picture, right? To deal with this there are two things I've learned about jury selection in the USA over the years. Keep in mind this may not work everywhere, but it has always worked for me.

First of all, no new trials start after Wednesday. This means that if your jury number is high and you're not picked for Monday, there's a good chance you won't even have to show up for selection.

The second thing you can do is much easier and less time-consuming. Simply defer jury duty to the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Why? Because they don't start new trials those weeks.

But, as Sam said to Donna (who was trying to avoid jury duty) on The West Wing last week, "if you don't serve as a juror, you don't get to complain about the outcome of the OJ trial."

I didn't think my B.S. in Criminal Justice would come in handy on E2, but this topic proves me wrong.

The first two points BugDozer raised usually do work well. Here are two others and suggestions on making them work for you:

  1. Be the victim of a felony or know someone who has been -- The survey you fill out when you get a jury duty notice will ask if you or someone you know has been the victim of a felony. It doesn't matter if it was your sister's friend's cousin, if you mention that you or someone you know has been the victim of a felony, it can get you dismissed.
  2. Be a knowledgeable, skeptical, and/or independent thinker -- Nothing will get you dismissed from jury duty quite as quickly as saying "I have a B.S. in Criminal Justice". This seems odd, but the lawyers on both sides don't want a juror who knows too much or who will question what they're told. It makes their job more challenging, and could lead to a hung jury. Also, some defense lawyers assume that people in the Criminal Justice field will convict anybody regardless of the evidence. If you don't work in the field, think: Do you have a relative or friend who is a police officer? In jail? Bring it up. Do you know a thing or two about legal issues? Can you act overly confident and downright stubborn about your legal expertise? Do it. The smarter and more skeptical you seem, the less likely you are to be picked. The prosecution and the defense want a juror who can be easily swayed and is a blank slate on legal matters. I have known jurors who have answered the question "Why did you find the defendant guilty?" with frightenly stupid answers such as "That prosecutor seems like such a nice man." and "That prosecutor was such a nice, pretty young lady." One juror even said "That lawyer over there dresses awfully nice." A suit!? You send a man to jail over the quality of a prosecuting attorney's suit!?
I'd like to tell you all not to avoid jury duty, because we in the Criminal Justice profession want intelligent people on juries. But we don't decide who gets picked for juries, lawyers do. A lawyer wants to win their case, whether it be on the quality of the evidence or because they had the better outfits. Morons are easily persuaded. The lawyers don't want a hung jury caused by a retired sheriff who knows how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be, and is unwilling to convict someone based on that kind of evidence alone. They don't want a proudly skeptical juror who will question everything they claim and slow things down. It's inconvenient. We wouldn't want a little thing like independent thought getting in the way of justice most swift, now would we?

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