AVOIDING JURY DUTY
People often joke about how to get kicked off a jury.
For a professional's perspective, check out what Attorney Scott Rudnick has to say!
AVOIDING JURY DUTY After both watching and participating in dozens of jury trials in the course of my legal career I have concluded that any sensible person can avoid jury duty simply by relating personal history. During the voir dire, which is the question and answer period when both the judge and the lawyers for both parties question potential jurors, just educate the judge and the lawyers about your previous experiences with the courts, the law, and if applicable, the case before you. The more details you reveal about yourself, the more prejudicial you will appear to the lawyers who are only looking for impartial people. Of course, your answers must be fairly factual, as lying in Court is a criminal offense. So keeping the requirement of honesty in mind, here are some strategies that would warrant your rejection from sitting for hours or days over a long-drawn-out trial.
If you have a physical or mental condition that causes you to be incapable of being able to performing jury service, you're entitled to be excluded for cause. If that is the case, bring with you a doctor’s note or some other documentation that confirms your physical or mental condition;
If jury service would cause undue or extreme financial hardship on you, or upon someone under your care or supervision, you are also entitled to be excused by the judge. Once again, it would be helpful to bring with you some documentation establishing the financial hardship that you or someone under your care would suffer;
You have a felony conviction in Ohio or any other state;
You think that you are biased because you were involved in a situation similar to the facts that are to be presented to you at the trial for which you have been called to serve;
If it is a criminal trial, if you have had a bad experience with the police or were once a victim of a crime yourself that might cause you some difficulty in fairly weighing testimony;
You have relatives, close friends or business acquaintances who work in law enforcement;
You have a medical appointment that you cannot reschedule (if it involves an embarrassing condition, you can ask to speak to the judge privately in his chambers).
Lawyers are always looking for people who want to serve on juries as such persons are most likely to pay attention to all of the evidence, and then give careful thought and consideration during their deliberations. Trial proceedings can be grueling, tiring, and sometimes boring, although most of the evidence that lawyers present is presented for a valid reason. So making efforts to avoid serving on a jury will not offend the lawyers or the parties themselves, who are really seeking jurors who want to be there in the first place.