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voyagersail 11-29-2007 06:01 PM

Cruising, voting & jury duty
Do any long-distance cruisers have any experience with jury duty? We'd like to register to vote, but that subjects us to jury duty. Do the courts expect me to drop everything & fly half way 'round the world to serve jury duty??

sailingdog 11-29-2007 06:15 PM

I believe that being out of the country is a generally accepted excuse for not serving on Jury Duty... You should have the right to vote via absentee ballot. But, this varies with jurisdiction... so you'd have to check with whereever you're planning on registering to vote.

sailboy21 11-30-2007 01:44 PM

When I was at collage I simply put round trip miles to court: 1500... never heard back. They do pay for miles BTW.

deniseO30 11-30-2007 02:20 PM

DO NOT IGNORE THE CALL TO JURY DUTY!!! (been there done that!)

Call me a bad person but I hate the jury duty routine (IMHO) They call on people way way far from the actual place of duty. Send out notice cards that are so small they easily get lost or set aside! (my experiance.. yours may vary :rolleyes: ) Then, if you don't reply you get a "formal" letter telling you your rights etc and you better answer or "else"

Being self employed it's a real hinderance to have to take off and "attend" to my civil duties! Also, they don't find you for duty just by your voters registration. They more likely use real eastate transactions, credit reports and anything else of "public" record to find you and yes speeding tickets. I've always politely responded with WRITTEN reasons why I can't attend and been dismissed on that basis. (phew!) Last time I got called and while talking on the phone with the person in charge it, I was given the strong impression that they think no one has a reason to not do duty. What about all those thousands of people right in the town where the court is?? No way they have called all them yet! Oh that's right, its not my biz to ask why. tis my right to do my duty! (as I go off to jail when the "man" reads this :D )

danjarch 11-30-2007 03:43 PM

denise030, You have stumbled into one of my biggest pet peeves. Jury is truly a privilege. I won't rail on and on, but would like to ask " If you had to stand before a jury? wouldn't you want some one like you on that jury. ":)

hellosailor 11-30-2007 03:53 PM

Voyager, the rules are different in each state and you need to find out the rules for your state. Your city/town/shire/county, whatever sends you that summons for jury duty. Some will allow you one postponement of six months, no more period. Others may excuse you if you are out of the country. Some would probably just tell you "good luck, there's going to be an arrest warrant or a fine waiting for you when you come home, we'll just levy the fine against your house and foreclose on it if you don't pay up." There's no way to GUESS.

Dan, I might agree with you except I don't think either side would want me on the typical jury. Little things I know from places including friends in the legal system--like "Yes, that's him" identifications are wrong as often as they are right. And frankly, if the perp is a real nasty fellow I'm going to consider their record as much or more than the other factors, I make no bones over the fact that I think trash needs to be thrown out.

But even more so, I object to slavery. My local jury system pays well less than the minimum wage and that's before I have to take out travel expenses. I refuse to work--for anyone--at less than state or federal minimum wage.

If the court can't perform without my services, OK, then I must be just as important as the attorneys, the paid witnesses (doctors, etc.) the court officers, secretary and the judge himself.

When they offer to pay me an equal rate, based on the average paid to all the court personnel (who are no more or less important than I am), or at least to pay me for the income I'm going to lose by being there instead of doing my own work--then I'll be glad to participate. Meanwhile, I'll suffer my couple of days of slavery during the selection process and hope they can see it my way and dismiss me.

We used to have an unwritten exemption for the self-employed, i..e. you went up to clerk, said "I'm self employed and I'm going to lose my income, my business, and my clients if I stay here" and they simply put your papers on the bottom of the stack--so you'd be dismissed, uncalled, at the end of the first day. Now, no more slack for anyone (yeah, sure) you're just expected to give up your rent money to pay the suits in the courtroom.

Nuh-uh, that's just not legal, fair, equitable, nor proper. I won't be a part of it.

There's a note about "may be liable for up to $200 for refusing to..." so apparently you can also buy your way out--the same way you could buy your way out of the draft during the Civil War.

Marvelous system.

deniseO30 11-30-2007 04:54 PM

I got in trouble for doing nothing. Gotta love the system. No, I would not force people to do that which they really don't want do. I would not force me to be there. There was no question on my county/state tax form asking me if I wanted to be a juror.

All considered what average person really knows enough about law to be a juror? I don't. Right or wrong are just the simple answers to complex issues that come up in jury cases. The uneducated are steered by visual impressions and emotions "well he doesn't look like a man that would kill his wife" (for example)

Sorry Voyager. I should have left it at "don't ignore the call to jury duty"

xort 11-30-2007 05:12 PM

I'm with HS
I work for myself. When I'm not working I don't get paid; anything. But I only do the actual paying work sporadically as a freelance photographer. If the jury duty comes up right when I get a big job, One week of jury duty can cost me 20% or more of my annual income! The clients expect me to be there for the entire job, they hire ME, not some company.

SimonV 11-30-2007 06:59 PM

If the cops put the effort in and arrested them, they are guilty.

Sailormon6 11-30-2007 07:55 PM

I was a trial lawyer for 35 years, and never knew a judge who would require a person to return home from a vacation or extended trip for jury duty. Of course, I can't speak for every judge... Often, they'll just put your name back in the jury pool, to be called again later. Interestingly, however, I did see one judge who ran short of prospective jurors, and sent his bailiff out on the public sidewalk to bring pedestrians into the courtroom to become jurors. If you're on an extended trip, contact the judge as soon as you hear about the jury summons, explain your circumstances, and the judge will deal with it reasonably. After all, you're not a criminal.

I saw many, many people through the years who bitterly resented the idea of becoming jurors, for the reasons others have voiced, but I don't remember even one who wasn't enthusiastic about having had the experience afterwards.

Personally, I've always thought the courts were the best free show in town. Every trial is like a drama, with a complete story and a denouement. Unlike television, there are no commercials.

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