What Are Valid Excuses for Not Being Able to Serve on Jury Duty?

While each of the 94 federal district courts establishes its own jury procedures and policies pertaining to jury duty, the Jury Act permits courts to dismiss a potential juror on grounds of undue hardship or extreme inconvenience, explains the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Members of the armed forces on active duty, members of fire and police departments, and full-time public officers of the government are exempt from jury duty.

Many courts honor individual requests to be excused from service for particular groups, including people who have served on jury duty for a federal court within the past two years, people age 70 or older, and volunteer fire fighters or members of an ambulance crew, states the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Attorneys generally do not want people on the jury who are, or at least consider themselves, experts on issues related to a case, claims Business Insider. As such, these people are rarely chosen for duty. Potential jurors are frequently dismissed from service after identifying a personal connection to the case or a mental illness. Having environmental sensibilities that would interfere with duty, such as irritable bowel syndrome that necessitates frequent trips to the restroom, is also enough to excuse most people from duty. Displaying a rebellious or cranky attitude is also grounds for most attorneys to dismiss a potential juror.