January 24, 2008

Jury Duty--Panicky Rant!

Ever since I hit age 18, I've been longing for jury duty. I love the whole concept of jury duty---possibly because I've never been called and don't yet realize how little it resembles the movie version. Paul's been called. My mom's been called. My dad's been called.

Guess who got called now?

I'm so cheesed off, because I would LOVE this. I have been WAITING for this. I would wear my cute, long, comfy-but-professional-looking skirt and my serious-looking black shirt. I would bring a book for the long boring waiting, and I would listen attentively during the cases. I would take notes on a little pad of paper. I would think carefully about whether my embarrassing tendency to choke up and cry during moments of any drama, happy or sad, would be a liability if I were made foreperson. I have it ALL PLANNED OUT.

But I don't see how I can manage it. I'm still nursing, for one thing, and Henry has never taken a bottle---nor, if history repeats the other four children, will he ever be willing to. Nor have I EVER been able to get more than an ounce or two with a pump (I'm sorry, is this way TMI?), even when I was successfully nursing TWINS. Nor do I own a pump anymore anyway.

So I looked into it, thinking I would basically say, "Sorry, I can't--I'm breastfeeding" before beginning a long, sad winter of looking resentfully at the children during the days I COULD have been on JURY DUTY if I hadn't had so many CHILDREN. But it turns out that only in four states is breastfeeding considered a legitimate reason to get out of serving jury duty, and my state isn't one of them. (My state says you should pump.)

Nor does my state consider it valid to say that you don't have someone to care for your children (their helpful suggestion: "Arrange care"), or that there is no way your husband is going to be able to take four weeks of unpaid leave so his WIFE can serve jury duty--EVEN IF that were remotely affordable, which it is not.

AND, the first week of jury duty is a school vacation week. Can you see me calling around, trying to arrange temporary childcare? "OH HAI. I need three weeks of full-time childcare for three children including a nursing infant who won't take bottles; plus one week of full-time childcare for five children! But maybe I don't, if they don't choose me because they think mothers are too sympathetic to criminals! Stand by just in case, though, okay? And I can pay you $25 per day before we go broke and lose the house!" (<-- slight exaggeration)

I don't understand how ANYONE affords doing jury duty. The section on financial hardship on the jury duty page says that they totally understand that it's a significant financial burden--but that it's one of our country's most important rights/responsibilities so it is essential to do it anyway. I'd say that's REALLY EASY TO SAY when you're getting paid full wages to say it!

This part of the court system is NO GOOD. Most people can't be away from their jobs for a month, even if finances aren't an issue. Most people are NEEDED at their jobs; that's why they get PAID TO BE THERE. Most people need the income from their jobs; that's why they WORK.

There are two changes that need to be made, in order that the United States citizens can serve duty without unfair hardship to some: (1) there needs to be a daycare service in the courthouse (this also allows nursing mothers to go nurse their babies during breaks), and (2) the pay for serving jury duty needs to be enough to live on---AT LEAST minimum wage.

You should see the form I filled out. Four pages of tidy, printed information about myself and my lack of criminal record, followed by one page of, essentially, "OMG PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME DO THIS!!!": scribbled-out sections, arrows with explanations, and a final panicky line at the end that almost goes off the page. Then I SLIT THE ENVELOPE OPEN so I could go back and add more scribbles and miscellaneous freaking out and then tape it closed. Sigh. Maybe they'll dismiss me for OBVIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS.

74 comments:

Shelly Overlook said...

In my state if you are the caregiver for any under school age children, it's an automatic exemption. That's BS if your home situation doesn't earn you an out.

I do understand what you mean about everyone getting to have jury duty but you b/c I am the same way. In fact, my husband was nearly chosen last year for a big death penalty case here. I was so green with envy sitting at home with my 6-week old. I mean, yes, the crime was horrific (multiple murders) and I was sorry in that aspect, but I've been reading crime books my whole life. I was the one made for that trial, not him! In the end, they let him out b/c we'd just had a baby.

ktjrdn said...

4 weeks? I wonder where you live. I got called twice and only served once. It was for only 1 trial, and it lasted a day and a half. Oddly enough, I was breastfeeding at the time I was called, and had to pump.

The judge will probably have pity on you. They might make you show up for selection, but let you go home. or maybe, you could lie. Tell them you don't believe in the government's right to imprison anyone???

Gina said...

That's insane! "Arrange care" is clearly a solution created by someone who has never had to arrange care. And I totally understand the pumping thing. I never had any problems nursing, but pumping never worked well for me. Hopefully you'll get a sympathetic non-asshole for a judge.

I served on a jury in a rape/kidnapping trial and it was both fascinating and heartwrenching. I've never been called again, but have always wanted to be.

Laura said...

My one foray into the jury pool was long, boring and they never even called my number so that they could later dismiss me from a case. I sat in what felt like an airline gate for a flight going nowhere from 8:30AM to 5PM, with a break for lunch. And I stewed over the fact that I was losing money in work (even though I work from home it still is money lost) and in babysitting fees. If I had to do it all over again I would have gotten a doctor's note. Perhaps a doctors note would work for you.

Side note: In our state they are trying out something new: One day or one trial. Meaning, if they don't call you to sit on a trial you don't have to come back. Yaay Michigan.

Maggie said...

Surely they will let you off...right?!

I don't think that breastfeeding or childcare is something that automatically gets you off here. But the only time I have ever been called, I was a full time student, which is something that they let you off for (at least here).

kirida said...

I think they ask that you take four weeks off in the chance that you are picked to be a juror and that the trial takes that long. I was picked for jury duty and all I did was sit in a large room and play on my laptop all day. They didn't even call my number to be a potential juror and I was only there for a day and a half. I would definitely play the SAHM card.

Lauren said...

Hey, just tell them you work for some facet of the media-my mom got out of jury duty because she wrote a weekly column for the paper (about parenting, but they didn't care...I guess they were afraid she was going to blab about the cases to the paper). I think your blog would be an excellent out. Good luck!! Ive never had jury duty either..but I would secretly love to do it too...if for no other reason than as an excuse to go hire a babysitter for a week and sit in a quiet room. BLISS!

Kristine said...

I served on one jury for the county, it happened the one time I worked for a company who did NOT pay full wages while on jury duty...figures. One month later I was called to Jury duty for the city - they had us all line up, they picked the first jury, they made us all go home and come back 3 hours later, and then they said there were not more cases and to go on our merry ways. Anyway, the first one was pretty interesting, and it lasted 4 days total, but arrangeing child care in that kind of situation sucks - what with all the maybes involved.

Erica said...

I am furious that being the primary care-giver to five children and the sole food source for one of them is not a "valid" reason to not have to serve on a jury. "Arrange care?" "Pump?" Who the hell are these people to issue edicts like this that CANNOT POSSIBLY apply to everyone? Like it's SO EASY to pump and to arrange care.

I understand that we all need to do our civic duty, but come on. The complete and total disregard for SAHM is ridiculous.

Saly said...

Wow, that sounds like a huge pain and a complete load of hooey.

Here, we get sent a number by mail and then have to check online every day to see if we actually have to go down town and wait all day. Luckily, my job pays me for like 6 weeks of JD or something, but I have never had to serve.

If I were you, I would take Henry to the courthouse with you and just sit around nursing him with reckless abandon all day. Offer up “Sorry, but these were my arrangements.

I’m with Shelly though, being a full time stay at home mom to under-school aged children should automatically qualify you.

Jana said...

I lLOVE Saly's idea of taking Henry with you - that'll show 'em!

And I'm sure you'll get the chance to serve again if you miss it this time around. I've been on one jury and my husband has wound up on two of them (we're only in our early thirties and I've claimed "sole provider of childcare" twice since my jury service) so more than likely, you'll be called again at some point if you really want to do it. Frankly, it's not all it's cracked up to be; both of us were emotionally exhausted by the time we got done. On the other hand, my husband's service paid for our Wii this Christmas, so it does pay well (at least in TX).

d e v a n said...

First - I think it's ridiculous that breastfeeding is not a valid excuse. Hello!? Babies have to eat...

Second - 5 children need childcare. Take them with you, I'll bet you'll be dismissed pretty quickly. hehe

Jess said...

Wait, I don't understand. FOUR WEEKS of jury duty? I had jury duty back in May. It was one day long. I went and sat there all day and they never called my name to even be considered for a jury. I just read a book all day until we were told to go home.

Also, this whole thing is just another BS example of institutionalized sexism. I mean, come on.

By the way, when I had jury duty, my company paid my salary anyway. I kind of thought they were required to do that. Apparently not?

Erica said...

Jess - Legally, a company cannot fire you for missing work due to jury duty, but that's it. Most of them pay their employees for a limit number of days, too, though.

Tracy said...

Okay, so show up with baby in hand, or attached to your breast for a more dramtic affect. Then hand the judge the pump and tell him if he can get enough milk out and can get him to take a bottle, you will be ready to go and willing to due your duty and serve. Just a thought. I am guessing that could also have you end up in contempt of court so maybe that wouldn't be so great. Hmm, I'll keep thinking. (that actually really sucks that your state doesn't recognize breastfeeding and or SAHM. Just another slam on SAHMs that our job is not as difficult or as important.

Tessie said...

Dude, I have jury duty ON MONDAY. I am so serious. This is my first time to be called, EVER.

I was looking at it like a sort of Reading Vacation, but that's because I would have been at work otherwise anyway. Your situation is just terrible. If you can't get out of it, you will just have to bring Henry. If they fuss, then you can have them "arrange care".

Trena said...

Swistle,
I don't know if this would work in your state (as I obviously live in another state), but my husband, who travels for work far far from home 4 out of 5 weeks of the month was able to get exempted by faxing a heartfelt letter directly to the judge (written by his wife of course) all about how he realized that jury duty was an IMPORTANT civic duty and NOT to be taken lightly etc, etc and that he would LOVE to serve...but in his current situation it really would be impossible and (this was the important part) could he be released or rescheduled.
Our commonwealth also assigns jurors for 4 weeks. Not that you'd actually have to be at the courthouse each day for four weeks, there's just the possibility that you might actually be called to serve on a jury sometime during those four weeks.

You might try calling whomever is over the whole jury duty assigning thing (for us it's the city's Sherriff's Office) and explaining your situation and see if they have any advice.

Good Luck!

Misty said...

If worst comes to worst, call the pediatrician and get him to write a note about Henry refusing a bottle. Call the jury duty people up and say: Do you know ANYTHING about breastfed babies? I am literally telling you HE WILL STARVE without me.

Then, if that doesn't work, go to the press. Or the La Leche folks. Or the ACLU for discrimination. Or Me! I will be your advocate and we will kick some governmental ass!

Someone Being Me said...

Thats crazy that your state doesn't allow you an exemption for having children under 10. I got called for jury duty while I was on maternity leave but was exempt because I was the primary caregiver for a child under 10. I do know here in Texas that you can call in and explain you have a conflict in your schedule and most of the time they will select another day for you to serve.

Liz said...

Hi, I'm an avid reader of your blog and I am delurking myself for the moment to say that there is federal legislation that says you can be exempted if you are the primary caregiver of a child under ten and your absence would result in the harm to that child's health or safety, then you can be exempt. I would say Henry refusing a bottle puts you nicely into the category to be exempt. Check out familyfriendlyjuryduty dot org for more info on your state.

The only reason I looked this up is because after reading your post I was curious about my state. My son is still breastfeeding so I just wondered. And woo-hoo my state has a breastfeeding mothers exemption law!

Pregnantly Plump said...

That's awful about the timing! I completely understand about the pumping -- I can't either.
I had a friend get called up for jury duty last year and I offered to make him a T-shirt to wear the first day that said, "All burglars should be FRIED!" or "Death penalty to parking violators!" He didn't, but they ended up not needing him anyway. We did have a fun time making up completely crazy slogans though. I do think taking Henry to the first day and breastfeeding him would work.

LoriD said...

I was called for Jury Duty when I was pregnant and was to show up 10 days prior to my due date. Given that I was supposed to clear my calendar for 30 days, I wrote a letter asking to be excused. THEY DIDN'T RESPOND! So, thinking I would be hauled off to jail, I showed up on the specified date in all my glory. The whole panel ended up being excused, but I still thought it was ridiculous.

Here, you can try to make a case for "significant hardship" as a reason to be excused. I have heard that it's not all that easy to prove, but it can be done.

natalie said...

I am surprised you can't get out on basis of primary care-giver.

That said, I served on a jury for eight days a couple of years ago and I swung it because (a) They paid me $40 a day PLUS mileage and (b) I got five days of paid time off specifically FOR jury duty. I used sick days to cover the remainder of the time. I actually made extra money off of that deal because my company did not want me to reimburse them for the $40 additional I was receiving.

It was a good experience, but I can almost guarantee you that if they don't let you slide and you have to go in, once you make your case to the judge, you won't be chosen.

Casdok said...

Maddness!

Anonymous said...

Hi Swistle, I read you every day and am delurking because the last time I got called for jury duty was a few days after I had gotten laid off from my job. At one point during the day they asked for people with extenuating circumstances and I presented myself because I had a finite amount of time to find a new job before my severance package ran out. I could not afford to be picked for the jury for a case that may have lasted up to two weeks. I was dismissed based on that and was able to go home mid-way through the day.

On another note, I was actually picked the first time I was called for jury duty and the trial only lasted an afternoon. The defendant defended himself which was interesting and a bit amusing. He lost, by the way.

BethanyWD said...

So funny! I'm just like you - paperwork makes me happy.

I was actually pissed off that my husband (then my fiancee) received the 2000 Census long form (only 10-15% receive it) and I got the short form. He was nice, though, he let me fill it out on his behalf

Linda said...

Sorry, no time to read comments right now. You should be able to defer it for 6 months to a year. Not sure what you're do then, but you'll have time to figure it out.

Ami said...

I so feel your pain about getting called at the wrong time. I want to do jury duty so badly, and the only time I've ever been called was in my college town, 2 weeks after I moved 1200 miles away. Great.

Now I have a job that pays you your full salary if you are off doing jury duty. I've been here 7 years, and have I ever been called? NO. Hmph.

Just out of curiosity, what are the 4 states that allow breastfeeding as an exemption?

Shannon said...

If they make you show up, bring your kids.

My husband was almost picked for a huge case awhile back. The selection process alone made it last three days, of which he earned like $5 a day. Thanks a lot.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hey Swistle! After years and years of never being called for duty, I was called twice in short order. The first time was a federal case and had the potential to go on for days, but the judge gave a directed verdict after the second day. The second time I was pregnant and we had many breaks for the preggo to go and pee.

Um, as for some of the advice given: do NOT lie. That is considered contempt of court and they'll toss your butt in jail if they think you're lying. Much harder to breastfeed there.

It's easy enough to get out of, even if they call your number, during voir dire (jury selection process) without ever having to lie. There are many cases where during the process, if you know too much about certain fields or you know the people involved, or you have clear biases that you tell them about, one side or the other will ask for you to be removed.

Besides, if the sole caregiver thing doesn't get you out automatically, you can always ask for a deferment until you've reached a better time.

Good luck!

BTW, it is pretty fun to see how the process actually works instead of what you see on TV. Not near as dramatic, either.

Brooke said...

I live in CA, and God love 'em, dependent care (child or otherwise) and "financial hardship" are valid excuses. I've always wanted to serve too, but the last two times I got called I was a single parent and couldn't take off work. Now I'm all available (well, for the next 8 weeks) n' shit and no one is calling.

I did get asked to volunteer for a federal case once, and I was all trying to work out the economics, and Mom was like "ARE YOU CRAZY? Those are all drug cases! Who knows what you might get caught up in?" Er, so I demurred.

My husband got called on Jury Appreciation Week. They got punch and cookies and a grateful speech from a judge and a certificate of appreciation. And he didn't even get selected. He sat in a room and read a book and ate cookies all day!

I am done now.

Anonymous said...

I got called when I had a breastfeeding infant and got a 6-month deferral.

Rayne of Terror said...

Take the children with you if they don't let you out.
I live in IL, which is super lenient. I got a 1 year reprieve for nursing. Then I got a 6 month reprieve for being a student. Then when I finally showed up for jury duty I said, "hey I just interviewed at the state's atty's office" and they let me go for the week.

the new girl said...

I'm NOT going to type out my fantastic luck at N#VER B#ING C@LLED FOR JU%Y DU^Y! Because then I for SURE will be.

And breast-feeding not a valid excuse?? I can't even go to a 7 hour conference for the same reasons that you listed.

A pox on them.

Banana said...

I was able to get out of jury duty when I was a nanny. I said that the family wouldn't be able to find childcare for an extended period of time, and since I was a part time, independent contractor, I wouldn't be paid during my time off. I don't know how it workded, but it did.

brenna said...

The whole 'you should pump' stance makes me furious. Are they going to buy the pump for you? The bottles? What do they suggest if your child will not take bottles AT ALL? Is it your baby's duty as a citizen to STARVE so his mommy can (possibly) serve on a jury? La Leche League should be all over this.

Kelsey said...

I was called for jury duty when I was teaching and planning my wedding (which sounds like a silly problem, but we planned to travel to my hometown and had several meetings scheduled during the time the wanted me there) I explained how difficult it would be to be away and asked to be deferred until the summer, which they did, but then I did have to go during the summer. I don't know if there is a point in time when it would be easier for you, but I imagine they'd release you more readily if you tried to defer.

Also Harper never took a bottle and you are the first person I have heard of with children who also refused -- which makes me feel oddly relieved.

Elizabeth said...

Ugh, hate jury duty. I've only had to do it once, and we convicted the person of domestic violence. Two days later he was the bouncer at a bar we stopped by and I had to hand him my I.D.!!!!! Freaky.
Thank goodness I now live in CA and there is a box to check right on the slip they send you saying "I am a breastfeeding mother" or something or other and it's an automatic exemption. Telling you to pump sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, imho.
Good luck getting out of it!

jen said...

Now just because it's not on the form doesn't mean they won't let you. It wasn't on our form when I got called. I was sole caretaker and nursing my 1st back then, and there was nothing for either of those. I called and asked, and the lady told me to write something (I forgot what) on the back and mail it back in.

The time after that that I got called, I never got selected. Our state is a "call on the phone and if your number is read out, call again tomorrow, and if no number, you're off the hook." state. Much nicer than having to sit at the courthouse all day.

I'm mildly curious about doing it someday, just not now while my kids are little... but I'm not THAT curious. I've been called 3 times in 2 different states. My husband was called once. Is it really that common? I never win anything hehe.

Artemisia said...

Oh, that is terrible and downright UNCIVIC that there aren't better considerations for full-time caregivers.

Don't panic yet; if you get picked make sure you bring up these points to the judge.

What a bummer that you've always WANTED to be on jury duty, and now that it is here the logistics don't work out. Oh, Swistle!

bubandpie said...

Yup - if they want a breastfeeding mom to serve on the jury, they better be prepared to deal with the baby that comes attached to her breast.

Shelly said...

Hey Swistle! I'm so delighted that you actually wanted jury duty! I thought I was the only nerd in the world who thought it would be fun. When I finally got called for jury duty, I danced around the house, I was so excited. My hubby thought I was nuts! I'm sorry yours came at such a bad time, though.

Alice said...

jury duty: DO NOT WANT.

laughing mommy said...

I didn't have time to read all 43 comments so I'm sorry if someone else already said this.

In my state (Oregon) they only make you serve one day!

A couple of years I had to serve my one day even though I had a 3 year old daughter and no one to babysit her (my husband had to take a day off work). I was also 7 months pregnant and was chosen for a child abuse case. I tried to use the "my legs are swollen and will swell even more if you make me sit all day" but the judge gave me a raised eyebrow look and said I was welcome to get up and walk around every hour or so. Bah!

I did get called to Grand Jury duty about 10 years ago and that required a month of service, but they asked me like a million times if it was okay with me, if I could do it... back ten I had no kids so I said yes.

I can't believe they would ask a nursing mother to do Jury Duty. My best friend once got out of Jury Duty because of nursing but I think she lived in Arizona at the time.

Sleepynita said...

My friend acted like a racist, gender biased jerk when he was called to be in the jury pool. He never got picked. So if they make you show up, answer all their questions with terrible answers like "sure women who smoke are sluts" or something equally stupid and bent.

amber said...

I've always wanted to be a juror, too, but the one time I was propositioned and returned the paperwork and everything, they picked someone else. What did I do wrong, I wonder?

Farrell said...

Oh wow. I wish I had time right now to read all the comments. I can't believe breast-feeding is not legit in all states. Maybe tell them that you would really, really like to do this, and you've been waiting to serve your country, but you just can't, at this very time, because...blah blah blah.
Good luck; keep us posted.

Farrell said...

I kinda' always wanted to get called.

May said...

Interestingly enough, I was summoned in May for the first time, but as I was due with my first kiddo that month, I asked to be excused for at least six months. Short-sighted, I know. I included a note from my OB, and voila! Postponed.

So then I was supposed to do it this month (horror of horrors - you people think sitting around with a bunch of strangers for an unspecified length of time while being forced to deviate from my everyday-wear of jeans and an old sweatshirt sounds FUN??), but I'm still breastfeeding, so I asked for another extension, citing hardship. And I got out of it! The letter they sent seemed rude - "no more exemptions!" - but it'd serve them right if I'm currently pregnant (...you know, that test could've been faulty...) and can't make my new September date, either. Ha!

Swistle, I would think your county would be more flexible than mine since there are more people. Then again, there's probably more crime... And now I'm babbling. Good luck!

My Buddy Mimi said...

I was in a jury duty selection once, and a woman said that she would be likely to push for a quick verdict due to a similar situation. She was excused.

nanann said...

Okay, I just did a quick scan through of the of comments and don't think anyone addressed this point you made:

NONE OF YOUR KIDS HAVE TAKEN A BOTTLE?!?! OMG!

Now, my 1st didn't want to take a bottle and it was only through a TON of work that she started taking it, although reluctantly. I now have a 5-week-old who has also decided that anything that comes in a bottle is rat poison, but OMGosh I am working every day at trying to get her to take it. It drives me nuts to be so tied down!

SO, how the heck did you manage to BF twins nonetheless and not go insane?!? never getting a break?!? I'm already crying about my current baby and the fact that my babies seem to hate bottles so much, and there's only 1 of her!

A Mom Two Boys said...

Okay:
A) I think you're certifiably INSANE for wanting Jury Duty
B) Your state sucks. I've slowly come to LOVE living in CA, and this is one of the reasons.
C) Hopefully you'll get off, and then, because you obviously want it SO badly, you'll get re-scheduled
D) Have you tried the Breastflow bottle from The First Years? It's awesome. Zach totally took it NO PROBLEMO after refusing several others. It's at Targer w/ big baby sections & Babies R'Us. Not the most convenient, but it's awesome.
E) You crack me up. But I still think you're certifiably insane.

Stacie said...

I also keep wanting to do jury duty. I get called all the time. I never get picked. However, I did once make it far enough to hear the description of the case (A MURDER case) and find out that the judge went through the jury pool and anyone with any excuse, no matter how lame, was excused. If you didn't want to be there, they didn't want you.

Melissa H said...

I guess I'm in one of the 4 states, I got off for breastfeeding when I was called (first time ever) when my daughter was a few months old. I can't imagine how they can make you go--maybe you could bring henry to make the point that he needs to be FED?

Mommy Brain said...

I was 8 months pregnant with twins and I had to CRY before they would excuse me.

I must look into Shelly Overlook's state to find out why my state doesn't have the same exemption.

Swistle said...

Nanann- They might have taken bottles if I'd pushed it, but it wasn't worth the work, and they all actively resisted the whole idea of it. Anyway, I've always found breastfeeding an excellent excuse for sitting down with a book and being unavailable to do other things.

Ashley said...

Oh, Swistle, I can't read all the comments now, but I HAVE to add my own.

I dealt with this very issue last summer. At the time, I had an 8 year old, an 8 month old, and was pregnant with our third. Despite the fact we had lived here in upstate NY for almost 2 years, I still hadn't made any friends. All my family was back home in Missouri, and as a SAHM, I had never had to arrange for childcare.

So I had no one to keep my children, and had to take them WITH ME to jury duty. To say the commissioner was unsympathetic would be an understatement.

I was told that not having childcare available was not a valid excuse. Not only was I called for questioning, I was selected for the jury. Luckily, it only lasted a day and a half, but it was pure torture. My little boy was very cranky, and my poor 8 year old had to wrangle him in the back of the courtroom all by herself. Yeah, jury duty with milk swollen jahoobies being "set off" by my crying infant in the back? NOT. COOL.

I wish you luck, I would not take them with you unless it is truly your only option. If I lived near you, I would gladly watch your brood so you could properly live out your jury duty fantasy!

Good Luck!

Kelsey said...

Hi. Back to say that this afternoon I got a phone call about a teacher who needed a sub for a day when she may or may not have to go in for jury duty and that she wouldn't know until placing a phone call the evening before. I think it is probably difficult on some level for most people to make it to jury duty, but when you are directly responsible for the care of small children, your own or someone else's, I just don't see how "figure it out" is a good answer.

I hope you are able to serve our country at a time that works out a little better for you!!!

Glory Laine said...

Where a "What Would Jesus Do?" T-shirt and they will never pick you.

Glory Laine said...

Where a "What Would Jesus Do?" T-shirt and they will never pick you.

Bethany said...

I've been on jury duty "on call" for the month of January. Basically, if they needed me I would have been going to court the WHOLE month. I love my job, so that would SUCK. BUT...I have to go in tomorrow, because they called me yesterday to say "Come in Friday!!" Ugh...so here's a question, if there's a big case and it goes into February, I wonder if I have to keep going? Yuck...

I hope you can find another way around it...if not, I was a nanny for 5 kids (and 3, and 2...but those are three separate families) ;) I'll come watch yours so you can fulfill your jury dream!

P.S. That's so funny that you have your outfit all planned out. I have no idea what I'm wearing...tomorrow!

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Don Mills Diva said...

I have always wanted to do jury duty too!(as long as it's not some grisly case) Mostly because I am just sooo nosey. BTW I just found your site and I LOVE it!

goingloopy said...

I just got done serving on a jury, and wrote about the experience (most recent entry in my blog.) It's the only time I've ever been called, and it was for federal jury duty. The feds won't let you out of it. There was a guy on the jury with me who was the sole support for 7 kids, and a lawyer, and me (a paralegal), and some other people with kids at home. The judge basically said unless you're bleeding from the eyes and have a doctor's note, you're obligated.

The thing is, as much as it's a pain in the ass, it's also what makes our legal system function. It really is important. EVERYONE could come up with an excuse of why they can't be there, but reverse the equation. Would you rather have people on a jury where your property or liberty was at stake who basically were just the ones without a good excuse, or would you rather have people who are smart and have families and maybe have some of the same life experiences?

FYI, they told us we would be on call for a month, but it wasn't really true. The trial lasted 2 days, and then we were released from service.

Swistle said...

GoingLoopy- I TOTALLY agree, and I WANT to do this. I think the system is wrong, though. They need to (1) pay enough per day for people to live on, and (2) have an on-site daycare in the courthouse. This would make it possible for many, many more people to serve. Arranging several weeks of childcare isn't possible for most people, nor is living on $15 per day.

PixelPi said...

I've served on jury duty 3 times, which is patently unfair when there are so many people who haven't had their turn yet.

First off, it's not very exciting. In fact, it's a pain. They really do lock you in a room and won't let you out. The trials you get are never anything more exciting than breaking and entering, and being locked in the jury room with people arguing for hours over what should take 5 minutes almost gave me a stroke.

The next time I'm called up (and with my luck, there will be a next time), I'm going to do something outrageous and politically incorrect, like pretending I'm a little slow mentally, or pulling at my hair, one hair at a time, and after they ask me a question, saying, "Huh?" and promptly cracking my gum.

Go for it. Take Henry and go forth. Maybe he will make some smelly blats and cry because you can't immediately get up and change him. Or change him on your lap, dirty diaper and smell. Guaranteed excused juror.

skiplovey said...

Best of luck there. I had to show up for one day and luckily they didn't pick me.
I did notice that they eliminated (what is this, Survivor?) people that had certain affiliations like NRA or had been involved in a violent crime, since they'd probably be biased. So maybe you could mention any affiliations that might help your chances of getting voted off, err replaced.

Amy said...

Would you feel too awkward to pump right there in the middle of them questioning you to see if you'd make a good juror? Because I think they'd let you go then. :)

In my state, my sister did get off b/c she was breastfeeding. She actually had to go in, but when they asked if anyone had a reason for not serving they would like to be considered, she told them she had a 6 week old that she was nursing, and they did excuse her.

Erin said...

Oh Swistle. I am so sad for you that jury duty either won't work out or will turn out to be a major life disruption. I got to go last fall and it was really great. The largest chunk of time I've had to myself since becoming a Mom. I'm sorry sorry sorry. What a BUMMER!

Bethany said...

Skiplovey said: "I did notice that they eliminated (what is this, Survivor?) people that had certain affiliations like NRA or had been involved in a violent crime, since they'd probably be biased."...

I noticed this too. In my jury selection this morning, they asked those people if they thought they'd be biased one way or the other because of these affiliations. Most of them said "I can't be 100% sure, but perhaps"...guess what? none of them were picked. Most if not all of us picked to be in the jury have had no criminal acts performed against us (assault/theft of identity, car, property). Basically, all of us who had nothing to say during the jury selection process are now the jury!

Mommy Daisy said...

Oh man, I totally feel your pain. I can't imagine having to deal with all of that. Hopefully they won't call you in. I don't know what I'd do now if I was called.

I was, however, sent a notice a few years ago, but I never heard back. I think my husband working for the COURTHOUSE had something to do with it. Oh well. It would be fun to do under better circumstances.

Minnesota Matron said...

I'm with you, sister. Add emergency appendectomies to the list of things a breastfeeding mom should NOT have to endure. Guess what? No #% breast pump at that hospital!! My husband had to bring in the baby while I was waiting for the surgeon and then rent an electric pump. Oh My God. This culture.

Christine said...

holy smokes! let us know if you get out of it.

i live in washington dc and spent 5 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS doing grand jury duty this past fall. while i don't have children, it was a bit of burden, because let me tell you work was not impressed with my nearly 6 week absence but they lived with it. it was interesting at first and i did enjoy the break from work. but after two weeks, i had had enough and was looking forward to getting back to work and my routine.

but i do not know how you would you manage nearly 6 weeks of grand jury duty with 5 children and 1 of then nursing. it would be unmanageable.

good luck - ask for a deferral and i would suggest calling the town/city hall and juror's office. you can also see your doctor and bring a letter.

christine
www.rosiecakes.com

Swistle said...

Christine- I did get out of it---whew. They excused me for "undue hardship." After the CRAZY I spilled all over their form, they probably mean THEIR undue hardship.