Jury Duty Cannot Be Written Off in Pandemic, COVID Fear Not Enough
If you think a global pandemic is enough to free you from jury duty, we’ve got bad news – most major cities are NOT releasing you just for that.
It turns out that many major city municipalities still hold jury trials, which means courts expect people to show up if they receive a jury summons. Civic duty never sleeps … not even for the coronavirus.
Take the example of Los Angeles. We learned that the LA County Court does not allow the simple fear of COVID-19 to count as an immediate exit from the jury’s duty-free card … not by far.
Now it’s in the reason. We are told that people aged 65 and over or who are at naturally high health risk may be exempt in Los Angeles. But, if this is just your general fear … the court expects you to participate.
Similar agreement in Maricopa County (AZ), which includes Phoenix, and even in the former epicenter of the Manhattan pandemic. Officials told us there were no automatic exemptions for COVID-19, in addition to age and underlying health issues.
Cook County in Chicago is not currently holding a jury trial, neither is Miami-Dade. However, the former still conducts grand jury proceedings, and in those cases … they issue deferrals for people who have tested positive or are at high risk, meaning they will reach you once you will be in good health.
Although Miami did not summon, they experimented with jury selection via Zoom … then held a mock trial in person with security measures in place. We are told they took masks and distance into account. It turned out well that it could be a model that the city will eventually roll out.
Bottom line … think twice before distorting this jury summons when it comes to you in the mail. Good, old-fashioned trials always require a jury of peers – the pandemic be damned.
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