How to Avoid Jury Duty

Jury duty is officially one fo the responsibilities that goes hand in hand with living in a free society. If we believe in trial by jury, we should support the jury system, right? The problem is that jury duty pulls us away from our normal routines and offers us a pittance for it. In Jackson County, Illinois, you get $15 per day for showing up and $25 a day if chosen for the jury. That means you do a day's work for an hour's or maybe two hours' pay. Avoiding jury duty just takes some pre-planning and a little creativity.

Find out how your local municipality chooses the jury pool, that is the group of people that are told to appear for jury duty. In Illinois, anyone who gets a driver's license or state identification card or who registers to vote becomes elible for jury duty. If these things are things you can avoid, you will never be called for jury duty. If you need these things like most of us, then you might want to try more drastic measures.

Fill out the forms completely. Be honest. When your call to jury duity arrives, be sure to answer all the questions and return the form as quickly as possible. In some cases, the court officers will review those questionnaires before you are scheduled to begin jury duty and you may not have to go at all. If you do actually have to go, make sure to take something to do with you since there will be a lot of hurry up and wait. A good book or two might help you pass the day.

File a lawsuit. In many areas, most juries are called for civil cases not criminal ones. So, people with pending litigation or who have ever filed a lawsuit are often excluded. The defense doesn't want jurists who have shown that they believe in the awarding of settlements. If you can make your lawsuit medical-related, you will almost guaranteed be released from jury duty.

Work. Get a job in either a medical field or in law enforcement. Reporters are also usually excused. The more familiar you are with the way that things work, the less likely you are to be asked to sit on a jury. Both sides prefer to work with jurors who know nothing about the facts at hand.

Get an education. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, but may relate to the desires of the attorneys for the jury to be ignorant of the usual way things work, students and people with advanced degrees are often excluded from juries. So, the more education you have,t he less likely you will be asked to serve.

Make friends. Another great way to get excluded from a jury is to know one or more of the people who are involved or who will testify. Make friends with attorneys, police officers, doctors and anyone else likely to ave to testify in a court hearing. The more people you know, the less likely it is that you will be asked to serve.


Plan ahead to avoid jury duty, you may have to show up, but will probably be sent home if you know too much or too many people.


Never tell the judge or the attorneys that you are too busy to serve. It's like telling them that your job is more important than theirs. This is almost a guarantee that you will be selected for the jury. Don;t simply fail to appear for jury duty. Many courts consider this contempt and will either fine you or let you spend a night in jail to convince you of the importance of jury duty.

Things You'll Need

  • Time
  • A Book
  • Patience
  • A telephone or computer
  • A bus pass?
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About the Author

Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.