DEAR HARRIETTE: I got called for jury duty. I had been able to dodge it for the past 10 years or so, but this time they said I have to come. I’m self-employed, and I can’t afford to take off this time. How can I make clear my circumstances? -- No Jury Duty
DEAR NO JURY DUTY: I understand your sentiment. Virtually nobody wants to serve on jury duty. Yet it is an integral part of the democratic process. In order to have a trial with an outcome determined by a jury of your peers, peers have to agree to serve. I challenge you to change your thinking about this.
Go in on the required date that your summons indicates. Let the attendant know the parameters of your service. Typically, you have to be available at least three days. For many people, one day of service ends up being enough. You spend a lot of time sitting and waiting to be called to be interviewed by attorneys who determine if you are right for their case. Juries are usually made up of 6 or 12 jurors, so most people are not chosen. Make sure you let all appropriate parties know when you must work so that you aren’t chosen for a potentially long trial.
The good news is that once you’ve served, you won’t have to serve again for at least four years.