Mudcat Café message #2417793 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113229   Message #2417793
Posted By: JohnInKansas
19-Aug-08 - 11:54 AM
Thread Name: WVA 2008 - Winfield Festival
Subject: RE: WVA 2008 - Winfield Festival
Leenia -

In most places in the US the rumors are pretty much true. It's impossible to generalize, since the real situation is different for each court, and may vary from county to county, or even city precinct to precinct.

Here, where Murphy is affected, there are a very few statutory "excuses," that can be applied simply by presenting authoritative and credible statements that the specific causes apply - such as that you are "medically unsuited to perform jury service" as my doctor affirmed.

The judge here may excuse anyone else, but is not required to do so for any reason not listed in the jury rules of the specific court's jurisdiction. "Vacation plans" would not typically qualify for quick consideration and a rapid excusing of the victim potential juror here, although there is a mechanism for asking.

Even to present a reason for wanting to be excused often requires an appearance when the jury pool is assembled, where the judge may consider excuses. In a worst case, regardless of "excuse," the potential juror may have to wait "until called for examination" when a plausible argument may cause one of the attorneys to request that the judge excuse the juror "for cause." It's not uncommon for a potential juror to be required to sit in the "jury pool" area for a week, and never be called to serve on a jury - and never get an opportunity to ask to be excused. It's also not extremely rare for a prospective juror who offers an "unacceptable" objection to be threatened with contempt of court and a night or two in jail.

Your experience really is no cause for optimism here. What matters more here is which judge presides and what kind of day(s) (s)he's been having - - - and how many others have offered "lame excuses" before yours gets viewed.

John