Jury Duty

We here at Abnormal Use believe that the right to a jury trial is the cornerstone of the American legal system, and we admire those who take that civic duty seriously. After all, it is required to ensure that our legal system operates in a manner that is fair to the parties involved in the case. However, some still view jury duty as some type of necessary evil – a chore that must be endured. In fact, some writers are even making a name for themselves offering online advice on how to cheat the system and escape jury duty by misrepresenting their circumstances.

Not cool.

Case in point: In a recent post on My Two Dollars, a personal financial blog, David, the post’s author, offers some shady tips on how to evade jury duty. They are troubling. The post in question has created some buzz in the blogosphere. When you click on the post, be sure and read few of the 50 something comments. The author contends that his tips are “foolproof.”

We think not.

Do you think that if you showed up at your local courthouse three sheets into the wind, as advised in Excuse #10, that the bailiff or the judge would be happy to excuse you?

Allow me to set the scene:

Judge: “Madame clerk, please excuse juror number 32 from his service today. Also, Mr. Bailiff, please escort juror number 32 to a holding cell.”

Drunk Juror: ” Thankssss your honor. Hiccup!”

How about if you were to follow the sage advice of Excuse # 3? All you have to do is notify the court that you are a felon. Everybody knows that the best part of being a convicted felon is that you are forever excused from jury duty. Of course, the author of this post warns that the reader that one actually needs to be a felon to utilize this excuse. My personal favorite is Excuse # 16, wherein the keen financial advisor suggests that the reader simply go all “George Carlin” on the court. Something tells me that this might be the worst tip of all. I actually almost want to see someone tell the court that they can determine one’s guilt simply by looking at them and then to make sure that the judge gets the point, spout off George’s seven dirty words. Afterall, those words didn’t cause any trouble at all. [See FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978)]

All kidding aside, the bottom line is that you should always be wary of taking legal advice from a blog, particularly a purported financial writer offering tips on how to beat the judicial system. Even the author of the “fool proof” jury duty tips post provided a disclaimer to his post in which he warned his readers as follows: ” I am not responsible if you end up in jail and on trial by a jury of your peers should you attempt any and/or all of the items listed above and get busted!”

Perhaps someday he’ll get to litigate that language.


  1. Anonymous says:

    13th Amendment to the US constitution:

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    At five bucks a day who can blame anyone? And at five bucks a day, can we be surprised that jurys form the weakest link in the legal system?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wanna get out of jury duty, no risk? Dress well. Not Church dress, but executive business attire. Speak clear and fluent English, use words that indicate an education above college sophomore. Be an productive citizen, preferably self-employed or an employer. Be well read, including the local newspapers. Listen to talk radio. No attorney whether defense or prosecution will dare risk having you on the panel.

  3. Mike Feehan says:

    "At five bucks a day who can blame anyone?"

    It's called Jury Duty because it is a civic duty. Five bucks a day is irrelevant. If you really believe your civic duty should be for sale, then how much do you think you should be paid for voting?

  4. "…payed for voting?"

    John McCain spent $345 million and 'won' 60 million votes putting the 'cost' of each vote at $5.78. Obama, bless his cotton socks, spent $510 million and 'got' 70 million votes: cost per vote $7.39.

    Maybe this pricing is an example of the 'invisible hand' expounded in capitalism. So maybe we are being 'invisibly payed'.