On the surface, evading jury duty seems like a harmless act. Indeed, when most people are faced with a summons, their firstinstinct is to toss it in the trash and pretend they never received it. “What’s the worst that could happen, right? I didn’t really do anything wrong and its surely not illegal.” To this, one must answer emphatically with the following—false!
That jury duty summons is a call to civil service. A call to fulfill an obligation you presumably agreed to by entering into a social contract with the rest of the community. What’s more, evading jury duty is against the law. It is considered a type of fraud, and fines up to $2,000 dollars can be pressed against any jury duty dodgers. What’s worse, jail time is also a possibility.
How rigorous Jury Duty summons are upheld are largely contingent on the state you are summoned to serve. In Massachusetts, 48,000 people were fined the maximum penalty of $2,000 dollars and in LA alone, $940,000 in fines were levied against citizens.
There are, however, legitimate reasons for exemption from jury duty. One of the most tenable excuses is a debilitating illness, or handicap that prohibits you from performing your duties as a juror. For instance, if you are amidst a bi-polar episode, the court will probably deem you unsuitable to serve with a jury of your peers.
What is not a legitimate excuse for skipping jury duty is work or school. It is illegal for your employer to fire you for serving your state or district courts as a juror, what’s more, colleges have policies in place for students who must serve on a jury.
You should serve your community because it has always served you. Jury duty is a chance to take a break from monotony, enjoy free lunches on the states dime, and give back to your community.