32 answers

Jury Duty: How Does It Work

Ok Mama's
I am 35 weeks pregnant and have gotten a jury duty summons, I am not sure what I should do, this is a postponed summons becuase the last time they sent me one my son had surgery the day before and I had to be available in case of complications. Anyways, do I need to go down there and hope that I am not picked or can I call and let them know? If I let them know will they make me do it next time? If they make me do it next time I will probably just be back at work and will be pumping milk. I am just not sure what I should do. Any suggestions? I will be 36 weeks when I have to report.

What can I do next?

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I don't know exactly where you live but when I got a summons and was pregnant they told me to get a note from my doctor saying how close to being due I was and that it would not be a good idea for me to sit for long periods of time and then I took it to them. This last time I just sent in the exemption paper. If you look at the summons even on the back it should tell you if you are exempt. I still had children under a certain age at home and that made me exempt. There should also be a number on the paper where you could call and ask someone what would be best thing to do. Good Luck!

If you read on the form they sent you there is a place to write an excuse and send it in and one of the excuses is being the caretaker of underaged children. If you write that you are caring for young children you are excused.

I believe just letting them know you are pregnant should take care of it. I have never had to report because I have no one to watch my children. I just tell them I have young children at home and I have not had a problem. I don't think they want to be responsible for someone 36 weeks pregnant. : ) Good luck.
A.

More Answers

J., I believe you can take care of this online and I believe you will be exempt because of your pregnancy and later because you have a newborn. Your summons will have a website listed, I believe. If not call the courthouse.

1 mom found this helpful

It's done at random drawing. If you do get picked again then it just happens. Usually they send you a paper that you can check to say you can't do it for some reason .... Childcare or student or some other reason. GL

1 mom found this helpful

Different counties have different requirements, but you do have to comply with the requirements as stated on the summons. If they do not have options (calling or internet) listed on the summons, then you must appear, otherwise a warrant could be issued for your arrest. More than likely, once you appear and they see you are pregnant, you will be dismissed. Most lawyers will not want the disruption of having a pregnant woman that might or might not have to leave because they go into labor during the trial. Also, keep in mind that Texas law does not consider pregnancy or breastfeeding as an "excuse" for missing jury duty. Many states are now adopting new laws in this area, but so far, no change in Texas. HTH.

Might be easier to get it out of the way now...most places have a law that says you can't serve more than once every 1 to 2 years. If you are lucky (like I was), you'll get picked for a case that gets settled (plea bargained) at the last minute and you'll be good for a year.

...and if they interview you to sit for a bigger/longer case...and they don't let you off automatically because of your pregnancy...it is pretty easy to get yourself dismissed by making sure you NEVER give a "politically correct" answer to anything they ask. For example, if asked if you think some minority group is more likely to commit a crime, say "yes"...if asked if you think the police are often wrong in their accusations say, "no, I think only guilty people get to trial"...you'll get excused "for cause" by the defense attorney!

You may have to do it this time around, but if you are nursing a baby they will give you a pass. Show up and be a good citizen. Bring a cushion to sit on and take lots of bathroom breaks and maybe they'll feel sorry for you and let you go early. Otherwise bring a good book and go with the flow. It's everyone's turn eventually!

you dont have to serve jury duty if you have children under the age of 10

I was summoned to jury duty a couple of years ago. I was pregnant at the time and would have had my due date in the middle of when the trial would be. I went down there and then they just let me go home. I was probably there for a total of 30-45 minutes. Not bad. Try not to think of Jury duty as a disruption of your time but a privilege to take part in a very important way in our Justice system. It couldn't work with out people like us doing our part.

Go down to the court house and let them see you, fill out the paper that they will have for you. Give them your due date and when you are to report in. They will tell you what to do. Most likely they will say do not come. But better to do this then have a policeman show up at the door. Good luck with the baby.

If you are the primary care giver for your son there is usually a space to check off to that effect and you don't even have to show up. Just send back the summons.

Both times that I've had jury duty, I've been big and pregnant. The first time I was very pregnant and it was for the Andrea Yates trial. Needless to say, they didn't pick me at all. I was excused early. The judge asked if there was any reason we wouldn't be available thru February and March and I raised my hand and said "I'll be having a baby then". She laughed and said it was okay to go into labor in her court room. However, it was already a given that the other lawyers were not going to select me.

The second time it was a local court and I went through the process, but the case got decided before we ever had to sit a jury.

Just go, if it is a big case, you won't get picked.

I believe just letting them know you are pregnant should take care of it. I have never had to report because I have no one to watch my children. I just tell them I have young children at home and I have not had a problem. I don't think they want to be responsible for someone 36 weeks pregnant. : ) Good luck.
A.

Hi there,

I had it too in my 30week. Went on-line to explain my situation, they replied that day via on-line cancelling me as a possible juror.

Good Luck!

It depends on the county. The last time I got a jury summons I had a newborn and I had to go to a notary and get a notarized statements that I had a newborn! It's not often easy to get out of it, and in some states it doesn't matter if you have two toddlers and a nursing newborn, they will not let you out for ANY reason.

Personally I don't have a problem telling them I have a new baby to care for...because you do!

My mom cannot physically sit for jury selection, much less a trial. She got a written release from her doctor to show them. This might be a good idea. If you are 36 weeks during selection you could possibly be 38-40 weeks when you're in court! Obviously they don't want someone who might go into labor in the court room and they have to find another juror. So a dr note is another route you can take.

congrats!

I was very pregnant with my second when I was called for jury duty. I was also working full time and was actually looking forward to a "break" while sitting on the jury. I made it into the final round, but was excused by the defense attorney.

You'll probably be excused if they don't feel that you can sit through a long trial or may be "distracted".

GOOD LUCK!

First of all, you should have received a form with the summons that gave you a box to check about being excused. It depends on your comfort level in checking off the box about a medical condition. Not that pregnancy is an excuse, but you being so far along could be an issue. If it were me I would go ahead and go to the summons and when they see how pregnant you are-or if you volunteer to tell them-I would ask how long the trial may be and I think you will be excused. If you are excused you will not have to go back until you receive another jury summons-whereas if you send in an excuse you will only be postponing serving on a jury. It really depends on the type of jury duty-Federal or City/County and how understanding the judge is-sad to say. Best of luck

i got out of jury duty and i wasnt even vlose to being due. you do have to go down in person, at least where i live. and i have never been recalled again.

So I just went for my first Jury Summons recently on September 29th I must say it was not anything I was expecting! I as well am a full time working mom w/three beautiful chilren very busy as well.
I went w/the expectation that I would be finished by 11:00 to get my daughter to a dr appt. NOT the case. I did register on line with the ejury (which helped b/c it already does the screening process w/o you sitting in a room at 8:30am) I got to court about 9:00am in Conroe and the process did not begin until about 9:30am. The lawyers each get to give a small briefing of the case and then each ask questions and at anytime you are able to raise your hand and answer your honest option. This is what they consider probing the jury. You are in ther w/about 40 other folks.
However, b/c you have small children when you feel at your survery the ask all this and YOU WILL NOT be picked but must appear!

I would request another postponement and explain why. Call and see to get more specifics. But, I can't imagine why they wouldn't allow it again.

I was about as far along as you when I got summoned. You sit in a big room with the other potential jurors, and they ask at the very beginning is there anyone here who would have reason not to serve. One woman was hearing impaired, one man doesn't live in the county, and I raised my hand (I was obviously big!) and said I would probably have to be excused to go to the bathroom a lot during the trial. Well, they picked all the jurors, didn't pick me, but at the last minute one wasn't qualified, so they picked me after all. I've talked to other judges, and they don't consider pregnancy a disqualifying factor. In my case, it was just a one hour traffic trial, I served just fine, it was kind of fun seeing the judicial system, and then I went home. If it's going to be a longer trial, weeks or so, I don't imagine they'll pick you because you could go into labor! So I would go ahead and go, you don't want to have to put it off for when you're pumping!

Try calling and see if you can get out of it (probably depends on what county you have to report to). If you do have to go down there just go to the bathroom every five minutes and you'll be excused in no time. :)

I am a person who has always wanted to serve on a jury--call me crazy. Twice I've received the summons, and twice I've been unavailable to serve; for one I was traveling and did not see it until the date had passed. I never sent them anything, and they never contacted me about it. I don't think that it's anything to stress over.

I had the same thing happen to me 10 years ago. I just called them and told them that I would be happy to appear, but that my due date was the day before my jury date. They excused me immediately, with their blessings. Turns out they aren't crazy about the idea of water breaking in court. :)

They will release you and then you will be good to go for atleast a year. I went in at 30 weeks and was looking forward to sitting for a 6 week trial (to be off of work) and they kinda laughed at me and told me they would see me next year or the year after. That was in 2005 and I have yet to be sent another summons. Good luck!

Read your jury summons carefully. Some places allow you to call and explain why you can't be a juror and then they will tell you whether you are excused or not. Other places require you to show up and then be excused. If it could be a long trial most judges will excuse you but if it is expected to be a day trial they probably won't.
Also, call your doctor. The doctor may say you should not do jury duty and give you a statement saying that.

I don't know exactly where you live but when I got a summons and was pregnant they told me to get a note from my doctor saying how close to being due I was and that it would not be a good idea for me to sit for long periods of time and then I took it to them. This last time I just sent in the exemption paper. If you look at the summons even on the back it should tell you if you are exempt. I still had children under a certain age at home and that made me exempt. There should also be a number on the paper where you could call and ask someone what would be best thing to do. Good Luck!

On that card it states the consiquinces that you will face if you do not show up a phone call is not good enough. They will charge you a fat fee and then possibly put a warrent out for you. Just go get it over with and act like you have morning sickness. Just kidding. They probley wont pick you. Hope they dont pick you!

No worries, J.. They can't MAKE you do it no matter how many summons you are sent. As long as you communicate with them that your baby is due at that time, you will be excused. If you were picked for jury duty, then had to miss due to delivery, it would be a greater mess for them to start again. Congrats on the upcoming arrival. Get all the rest you can. Don't push yourself to get back to your old schedule. It truly does take time for the body to recover. Getting worn down and being forced into bedrest is Really stressful. Take care. Blessings, C.

If you read on the form they sent you there is a place to write an excuse and send it in and one of the excuses is being the caretaker of underaged children. If you write that you are caring for young children you are excused.

Morning J.;

Just call the number on your notice and tell them that your
8 months pregnant and sitting in the jury room would be too
uncomfortable at this time!
They will understand that!
Good Luck with the new child.
B. C.

I know in Bexar County if you have children under the age of I believe it is 10 you can be exempt from jury duty. At 35 weeks of pregnancy I know they will dimiss you but why go all the way down there. Fill out the questionaire and also call the court and tell them. They will probably dismiss you over the phone but make sure you get the name etc. of the person you speak to who dismisses you just in case. They don't want you to have to go all the way down there to turn around and leave. They will just put you back on the list unless you have children under 10 at home that you must care for and then I believe they remove you for a certain number of years.
Good Luck.

Fill out the questionnaire they put on line and explain your situation. You should be able to answer the summons online without appearing in person. If you have to show up personally, just explain then. Either way, you probably won't have to serve. I was just recently on a jury (happy to serve, but I don't have the pressures you do) and found they let folks go with good reasons.

i was called in at 35 weeks pregnant and my doctor just
signed a release for me saying i could go in to labor at any
point and wouldn't be a good candidate. they'll let you out no problem at all. :) good luck!!

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