What Will Jury Duty Be Like During COVID-19?
It finally happened. After being a registered voter for 28 years, my name was drawn for jury duty. The official-looking envelope arrived in the mail the other day from the court office. Before opening it, my wife gave me "the look" and said, "you're not in trouble (again), are you?" I confidently replied, "No!" However, I'll admit that I wasted little time opening the envelope and was relieved that it was only a jury duty summons. I haven't been in legal trouble for years, but if you ever have, you know how unnerving it can be when "official court documents" show up in your mailbox.
My name has come up in the past for jury duty, where they send you a letter and a form with a handful of preliminary questions, like "Have you ever been in a court case," etc. I've always answered the questions truthfully and that was the last I heard about it. I must have made it past the cut this time around because I have to go to jury selection on July 24.
Enclosed with the standard Summons to Report for Jury Service paperwork, they included a long letter outlining what steps are being taken in regard to social distancing and serving as a juror. Instead of going to the District Court building, it looks like I'll be headed to MetraPark, where there is room to spread out. A mask is required and everyone will sit six feet apart. The envelope also contained an Affidavit for Excusal, should I believe I have an undue hardship (I don't). Acceptable examples are:
- breastfeeding mother
- sole provider for a sick, aged, or special needs dependent
- military service
- scheduled surgery
- high risk for COVID-19 under CDC guidelines
- other unusual circumstances
They added that "employment or children's activities do not typically constitute undue hardship." Got it. The standard pay for jury duty is a whopping $12 per day (plus mileage reimbursement) or $25 per day if I'm selected. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. Have you ever been a juror on an interesting case? Tell me about your experience in the Comments or message me on the free Hawk Mobile App.