Getting Out Of Jury Duty

(File photo.  Credit: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo. Credit: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - How do I get out of jury duty?

I, for one, applaud Madonna, who showed up for jury duty. Yes, she came an hour and a half late with three police officers, two personal bodyguards, two court officers and one personal assistant, and yes, she was not selected because of the concern that she’d be a distraction. But unlike most people, whose most common question to a lawyer at a cocktail party is ‘how do I get out of jury duty?’, she actually went.

But, if you don’t have an entourage, how do you get out of it?

The rules of court will excuse you from jury duty if you have a medical condition that prevents you from sitting in the courtroom, if you can’t speak or understand English, if serving on a jury would create an undue hardship like not getting paid, if you are the sole caregiver of someone in need, and courts will usually excuse you if you have prepaid airline tickets.

If you don’t have any of those excuses, many people will tell you just to say you’re biased. That’s not a good idea as one juror who said he was a racist found out when he was arrested for perjury (remember you answer questions under oath).

But, the worst thing to do is just not show up. Some cities are setting up courts to prosecute no-show jurors and in some counties you can get ticketed up to $500 for contempt of court for failing to show up.

And remember, if ever you want to contest that ticket or any other, you will need a jury of your peers.

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