Legal Question in Criminal Law in Rhode Island

Jury duty? Can I be excused?

I got a notice for jury duty today....there are some problems. One, I am a substitute teacher and out of work for the summer. I am having enough problems working random hours at a restaurant to pay my bills. Two, I am a full-time, year round grad student. Is there any way to get excused for this round of jury duty? I can't afford to take time off from the few hours I have at work or from college (which costs a ton to begin with and I can't skip class) What reasons would they excuse for? Advice is appreciated.

Asked on 6/23/05, 8:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jules D'Alessandro D'Alessandro & Wright

Re: Jury duty? Can I be excused?

Yes The juror response form should have an area where you can explain that the service may cause and undue financial hardship, especially if you are the only wage earner in your household. You can also tell the jury commissioner when you show up for Jury duty. And yes you will have to show up that first day. If the jury commissioner is unable to let you out then you can raise the issue with the trial judge when you are selected as part of the veneer which is usually 18 jurors from whom 6-8 will be selected to serve on and individual case. Each trial judge will if you are chosen advise approximately how long the trial will ask if serving on the jury for the anticipated amount of time will pose and undue hardship on anyone. You can raise the issue then and both the judge and the trial attorneys will have the opportunity to deal with the issue at that time. The Judge can simply dismiss you while the trial attorneys may argue for challenge for cause or may use a peremptory challenge. Most trial lawyers will want to remove you from the jury because they want all jurors undivided attention. Finally I understand and appreciate the hardship of serving on a jury, but as a trial lawyer who regularly empanels juries… Please! we need you, we need your intelligence and we need your insight gained through life’s experiences. If it is at all possible please serve.

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Answered on 6/26/05, 6:26 am

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