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#1
Old 01-05-2012, 09:22 PM
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Self-employed, only wage earner-- exempt from jury duty?

Hi all! (waves)

Okay, so my brother just got a notice that he was called up for jury duty. He CAN'T DO THIS. He's self-employed and totally responsible for earning money for the household because his wife doesn't work. Oregon pays $10 a day for people on jury [email protected]!!!!! Even taking a day to go in and explain the problem would be a financial hardship. And obviously, he doesn't have an employer to pay him a salary while he'd be stuck making that big $10/day. He and his wife are just barely getting by financially as it is. There has to be a way out of this. There just has to be. Yes, I know; I need to join Co-Dependents Anonymous again, but in the meantime, I promised him that I'd do everything I possibly could to research this. Does anyone have any ideas?

Anise

Last edited by Anise; 01-05-2012 at 09:22 PM.
#2
Old 01-05-2012, 09:27 PM
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I don't know how it works there but I've been selected twice and each time wrote a letter saying that I was a single dad and had the only income and could I please be excused? I never heard anything back so I guess it worked.
#3
Old 01-05-2012, 09:42 PM
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Every jury notice I have recieved has a place to explain if you can be on a jury. Mail that back in.
#4
Old 01-05-2012, 10:06 PM
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Simple. During voir dire, just tell him to say, "I'm going to give the guilty son-of-a-bitch a fair trial then hang his sorry ass," and he won't be going on any jury.
#5
Old 01-05-2012, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anise View Post
Oregon pays $10 a day for people on jury [email protected]!!!!!
I've served on a jury here in Illinois; I didn't get much more. AFAICT, jury payments really aren't meant to be a replacement for missed income for days served; they're just a token payment.

If your brother were working for a company, they'd probably have a policy which allowed for at least a couple of days off for jury duty with pay. As he's self-employed, he may well be able to plead hardship and be excused.

That said, talking to us is just going to give you (and, him) wild-ass guesses. He really should contact the court in question sooner, rather than later. I'd be willing to bet that there is either a phone number or an e-mail address on his jury summons which he can use to do this before the date of his duty. (Oh, and he absolutely should be courteous and deferential; that can do nothing but help his case.)

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-05-2012 at 10:30 PM.
#6
Old 01-05-2012, 10:46 PM
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Advice regarding legal matters is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

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#7
Old 01-05-2012, 10:51 PM
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Contact the court in question--the county courts where I live are quite willing to reschedule you for a more convenient month of the year, but not so keen on "I can't do it ever". Other places may have different rules.
#8
Old 01-05-2012, 10:58 PM
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Incidentally, I know someone who is an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. When he was called for Jury Duty, he tried to get out if it on the basis that in order to serve, he'd have to close his office, and several people would not get paid for the day.

In the end, they "compromised" on him taking a week's vacation, and agreeing to show up every day in case he was needed (normal service in this county is for a month, but you call the night before and are mostly told you aren't needed).

So I'm not sure that just being self-employed and sole wage earner would get different treatment.

But, you probably don't live where I do, so things may be different.
#9
Old 01-05-2012, 11:34 PM
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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In Florida one of the standard reasons you can give for declining Jury duty is "Sole Proprietor." As a self employed person myself, I'd always check that box on the form and never had to serve.
#10
Old 01-06-2012, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka View Post
In the end, they "compromised" on him taking a week's vacation, and agreeing to show up every day in case he was needed (normal service in this county is for a month, but you call the night before and are mostly told you aren't needed).
On-call jury duty for a MONTH? Yikes! In California, state-wide, it's just for one day (if you don't actually get on a case). If you do get on a case, it's for however long that case takes. (Ask the O. J. Simpson jurors!)

ETA: And even for that one day, you call the night before and are usually told you're unwanted.

Last edited by Senegoid; 01-06-2012 at 01:03 AM.
#11
Old 01-06-2012, 01:11 AM
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Usually you will be given an exemption. Once in New York I was called shortly after an uproar about VIPs not serving on juries, so I was sent in as part of a jury pool, then rejected by the attorneys because of a conflict of interest.
#12
Old 01-06-2012, 01:24 AM
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In Massachusetts or Washington, he would be sitting on that jury. No sympathy for sole proprietors - you're supposed to pay yourself enough that you can afford to miss a week.

That said, maybe he can write a letter explaining that if he foregoes that many days of work, he will have to miss his rent payment. Or at least reschedule it so he can plan around it.
#13
Old 01-06-2012, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UFC Is Sux View Post
Simple. During voir dire, just tell him to say, "I'm going to give the guilty son-of-a-bitch a fair trial then hang his sorry ass," and he won't be going on any jury.
Although I would like to say this as well, I would be careful using this approach. I have heard of judges not seeing the humor in such tactics. Never ever piss a judge off.
#14
Old 01-06-2012, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
I don't know how it works there but I've been selected twice and each time wrote a letter saying that I was a single dad and had the only income and could I please be excused? I never heard anything back so I guess it worked.
Either that or you've now got two outstanding warrants for contempt of court.
#15
Old 01-06-2012, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka View Post
Contact the court in question--the county courts where I live are quite willing to reschedule you for a more convenient month of the year, but not so keen on "I can't do it ever". Other places may have different rules.
You can definitely get out of it forever if you've got the right excuse. My grandmother understands very little English and her children sent a letter to the court explaining this. That was nearly two decades ago and she's never been called since.
#16
Old 01-06-2012, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UFC Is Sux View Post
Simple. During voir dire, just tell him to say, "I'm going to give the guilty son-of-a-bitch a fair trial then hang his sorry ass," and he won't be going on any jury.
Read the OP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anise
Even taking a day to go in and explain the problem would be a financial hardship.
#17
Old 01-06-2012, 09:18 AM
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This is from the Clackamas County site about jury duty:
Quote:
All requests to be excused, other than the above, must be in writing explaining the nature of the condition, undue hardship or extreme inconvenience which requires you to be excused. In most cases you will not be excused, but we may defer your term of service to a date not more than one year from your original summons.
The exemptions are recent jury duty, over 70, verified medical condition, breastfeeding or the sole caregiver to a young child and unable to afford day care, or a full time student (who can only defer to non-school time).
#18
Old 01-06-2012, 09:52 AM
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I am self-employed, too, and had no trouble getting excused.
#19
Old 01-06-2012, 09:58 AM
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In my state, they made a big deal (the 3 times I've been called, by the way) that financial hardship is not a valid excuse to be exempt, and your company (presumably even your own) cannot tell you you cannot serve or otherwise dissuade you from your civil duty.

You might be able to get a deferral. Best thing is to look at the documentation he received -- there should be instructions for requesting exemption/deferral and what the criteria area.
#20
Old 01-06-2012, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
That said, talking to us is just going to give you (and, him) wild-ass guesses. He really should contact the court in question sooner, rather than later. I'd be willing to bet that there is either a phone number or an e-mail address on his jury summons which he can use to do this before the date of his duty. (Oh, and he absolutely should be courteous and deferential; that can do nothing but help his case.)
I agree that the OP's brother should contact the court instead of us about this. Here is some information from Polk County, Oregon regarding valid excuses. Note the bit in all caps about contacting the court within five days.
Quote:
EXCUSES: If a juror, who is 70 years of age or older, feels for any reason he/she may not be capable of serving, then he/she may request to be excused. This request will be granted. A woman who is breast-feeding may be excused from acting as a juror. A request for an excuse under this section must be made in writing to the court. Also, any person who: (1) is the sole care giver for a child or other dependent, (2) is unable to afford daycare, or make other arrangements for the care of the dependent, and (3) personally attends to the dependent, may be excused from jury service. If, for any other reason, a juror feels they are unable to serve as a juror, please inform the Court WITHIN FIVE (5) DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SUMMONS. The court will deal directly with the juror concerning excuses.
#21
Old 01-06-2012, 10:42 AM
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Location: Western Pennsylvania
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I am a sole proprietor. That alone would not have been enough, however the fact that my employees would all have the time off without pay got me out of it. Ideally, I would have enjoyed serving, but not enough to pay employees for three days off.
#22
Old 01-06-2012, 12:45 PM
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Auto repair facility - we've had several of our technicians get called, and have written to the court asking that they be excused as this would cost our company approximately $1,000 per day in lost income from that tech. Never had any trouble getting them off.

This is in Washington State.
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