Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've been summoned

I opened the mailbox on Monday to discover that I've been summoned for jury duty.

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, I feel strongly that it's a civic duty to sit on a jury. Were I ever to be on trial, I'd want a fair-minded jury of educated citizens on my panel. It's only fair to take my turn. I may not even be called to sit on a jury.

On the other hand, I'm the main caregiver to three small girls. I can easily get baby-sitting for one whole day, but what if I have to sit on a jury for a week? Darwin has to work, and although my friends are accomodating, it would be a hardship for them to have three extra children to watch for an extended period of time.

And then we're planning to leave on vacation a week from the date of my summons. I doubt there will be any big trials in Georgetown, TX, but I would be not at all pleased if I had to miss my brother's college graduation because I was sitting in a jury room.

Any thoughts from anyone who's served?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. I once lived in a state where the court explicitly disregarded child care issues for prospective jurors. Not the state you probably asssume, but a reliable red state. I got lucky and only had to serve one full day. I'm glad to have had that experience, and equally glad not to have had to figure out what to do for weeks of child care. Can you ask the court to postpone your court days until X time in the future, so as to miss the graduation? Praying your situation will be resolved satisfactorily.

Rick Lugari said...

...I'd want a fair-minded jury of educated citizens on my panel.

Not if you're OJ Simpson.
(or otherwise guilty)

I've had to do two stints on jury duty and I found them to be a pain in the butt from a selfish point of view. However, in hindsight I would say that the experiences weren't so bad. What I was able to take away from that limited experience was that most likely one of the parties are terribly in the wrong and that the other is truly a victim of the wrong party and that being selected for a jury can not be considered a vote of trust in your competence. Frankly, some of your fellow jurors will amaze you with their lack of reasoning skills and poor judgment of character. They know enough to cloak their stupid judgment in the trappings of "doing the right thing", but it's really a pathological need to make themselves seem important. /cynicism off

barbfromcincy said...

My sister is a teacher and she was able to postpone her jury duty until the summer....perhaps they would be accomodating in that way if need be because of your vacation. Can't hurt to try if they won't let you off for child care reasons.
A blessed day to you..

Patrick said...

When I've gone, at the first stage the judge always asks if anyone has circumstances that would make serving on a jury difficult for them. You will just go up front, speak to the judge privately and tell him/her about your kids. You will almost certainly be excused.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Where I live, you write in with your excuses if need be. Having small children is a reason to be excused here.

Julie D. said...

In Texas you can just write your excuse in and as kiwi nomad says, being a childcare provider is cause for exemption. I think you can even call and let them know.

Being on a jury isn't your job right now. Later, when they're out from under your wing, well that is a different story. :-)

ckliff said...

None of my business, so don't tell me, but are you breastfeeding the wee ones? Definitely an excuse!:)

I agree, not your job right now anyhow.

mrsdarwin said...

Ckliff--

The baby does still nurse, though she's old enough now that she mostly eats table food. Still, all day is a long time, and she's still a little girl.

I had originally been planning to do my stint, but now I'm thinking that I will opt out. I appreciate everyone's feedback.

Bridget said...

In VA, you are exempt if you are the main caregiver of your children and if you breastfeed. One quick phone call to explain that got me off the hook last year. :)

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

I was called up a few years ago, when Offspring #1 was still under 10. Texas only excuses you if they're under 10; I guess at 10 they're okay alone at home all day? Though it would be tempting to bring older hs'ed children: "This is our unit study in jurisprudence." You know btw that you can submit your excuse on the internet? No phoning or writing necessary.

I was called up in Texas once before, and didn't meet any of the criteria for excuse, but was leaving te next day for grad school in California. I wrote this in and included my forwarding address; never heard anything more about it.

I'd love to serve, too; though it's just as likely the parties will settle or the defendant will plead out & you wouldn't actually serve.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Heh, I've been summoned about five times-- my mom wrote back "is serving in military in Japan" for four of them. The fifth was three weeks after I moved to a different county....

Jennifer F. said...

Mrs. D - I consulted with my attorney (a.k.a. Joe) on this matter since I also got a summons yesterday. He said that people like us are exactly who they have in mind with that exemption about having kids under 10. Nothing unethical about bowing out. Everyone knows it's just not reasonable (or affordable) for us to be gone for days at a time should the case go to trial. Just FYI. :)