Why Are People Exempt From Jury Duty?

Those eligible for jury duty exemption include members of the armed forces on active duty, public officers who are actively engaged in public duties and members of the local fire and police departments. Others who desire an exemption must petition the court to attempt to obtain one.

Unless a person is exempt from jury service, they must attend by penalty of law. Individuals are able to write to the court to ask to be excused if they can prove they would have extreme difficulty in attending for their summoned time. This is granted at the court's discretion and cannot be reviewed or appealed after the decision has been made. Additionally, each court has its own rules about what qualifies for an exemption. Oftentimes, elderly citizens and volunteer fire fighters are granted exemption.

Individuals are only summoned if they also meet the legal criteria to be a juror. These criteria include being a citizen of the United States, being at least 18 years of age, being mentally competent, having proficiency in the English language and having never been convicted of a felony. The selection of jurors is random. Potential jurors are then given a questionnaire to answer to help determine whether they are suitable for the task.