The Covid-19 pandemic has made jury duty an uncertain prospect for many potential jurors. The virus has changed the way jury duty is carried out, making it necessary for courts to adjust their processes to keep their jurors safe. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of serving on a jury during the pandemic, there are steps you can take to avoid it.
Understand Your Local Juror Processes
Before you take any steps to try to get out of jury duty, it’s important to understand the jury selection process in your area. While procedures will vary from one municipality to the next, most courts are now using an electronic system to select potential jurors. This system allows the court to quickly and easily screen potential jurors for any health concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you’ve been summoned for jury duty, the court will likely send you instructions about the selection process. Make sure you read these instructions carefully so you know what to expect when you arrive for jury duty. It’s also important to note that most courts are now requiring potential jurors to fill out a health questionnaire before they can be considered for selection.
Request a Deferral
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of serving on a jury during the Covid-19 pandemic, you can always request a deferral. In most cases, courts will grant a deferral if you can provide a valid reason for why you don’t feel comfortable serving on a jury at this time. Some of the more common reasons for requesting a deferral include: medical conditions, employment, childcare, or educational obligations.
If you’re granted a deferral, you may be asked to appear for jury duty at a later date. However, you can usually request multiple deferments if you still don’t feel comfortable serving on a jury. Just make sure to provide a valid reason for your request.
In some cases, the court may require you to provide documentation to support your deferral request. This could include medical records or other paperwork that proves that you have a valid reason for not being able to serve on a jury. If you’re granted a deferral, make sure to keep a copy of the paperwork for your own records.
Seek an Excuse
If your deferral request is denied, you may still be able to seek an excuse from jury duty. This is typically granted to those who can prove that they have a valid reason for not being able to serve on a jury during the Covid-19 pandemic. Commonly accepted excuses include medical conditions, employment, childcare, or educational obligations.
If you’re granted an excuse, you will be exempt from jury duty for a certain period of time. However, you may be asked to reschedule your jury duty for a later date. Be sure to keep a copy of your excuse paperwork for your own records.
If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of serving on a jury during the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be able to consider alternatives. For example, some courts are now offering online jury duty options. This could allow you to participate in the jury selection process without having to physically appear in court.
In addition, some courts are now using virtual jury trials. This allows jurors to participate via video conferencing, which makes it possible to avoid the risks associated with appearing in court during the pandemic.
Serving on a jury during the Covid-19 pandemic can be a daunting prospect. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of appearing in court, there are steps you can take to avoid it. You can request a deferral or an excuse from jury duty, or you can consider alternatives such as virtual jury trials.
By understanding the jury selection process in your area and taking the necessary steps to avoid jury duty, you can rest assured that you won’t be put in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation.