Jury duty is an important civic requirement that contributes to the protection of citizens' basic rights and liberties within the United States justice system. The Jury Selection and Service Act establishes the process for juror selection, and outlines the basic qualifications that must be met to serve on a jury. While it is the civic duty of all citizens to serve on a jury when summoned, there are extenuating circumstances that allow it to be postponed.
- Skill level:
Review the summons to jury duty, and the date you're required to report. Make note of the deadline by which rescheduling requests must be submitted, as well as the address where requests must be sent.
Begin the request by entering the current date, followed by the jury administrator's address. The letter may be handwritten on stationery, or typed into a word processing program and printed from the computer. Following the address, include a subject line with your name and juror number. The juror number may be found near your name and address on the summons.
Explain, in the body of the letter, why you're unable to serve on the date scheduled. Valid reasons include health issues, or childcare or eldery care conflicts. Some professions (police officer, firefighter, doctor and nurse, for example) are automatically excused because of the service they provide to the community. Maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout the request.
Request that your jury service be delayed, and suggest a new date that's convenient for you. Close the letter with your contact information, including your phone number. Ask the jury administrator to contact you with any questions.
Include any documentation that substantiates the extenuating circumstances requiring postponement. Depending on the circumstances, this may include a doctor's note or an employer affidavit.
Await confirmation from the jury administrator that your request was received and has been approved. If the jury administrator does not reply, follow up with the court clerk.
Tips and warnings
- Each jurisdiction follows different procedures. Be sure to follow the directions on the summons received. For example, if the summons indicates that postponements should be requested via telephone, contact the court by using the phone number provided.
- If your postponement request isn't granted, you'll need to appear at the courthouse for jury duty as directed. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.
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- United States Courts: Jury Service
- Berkeley Parents Network: Advice About Jury Duty
- State of Connecticut: Jury Administration: Frequently Asked Questions About Jury Duty
- Family Friendly Jury Duty: Request Your Jury Duty Be Deferred
- Western University: Requesting a Postponement for Jury Duty
- City of Southfield: Jury Duty