Jury Duty

usna2021pop

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Jan 9, 2017
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Hi All, my Plebe just got a Jury Duty summons for his home state/county of MD. I called them to see if he could be excused and they told me he couldn’t. My daughter when at USNA was excused previously. He obviously can’t come home for this from NY. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated! Thanks!
 

A1Janitor

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My son got summoned last year in NYS. I called them and they told me to have him sign the summons form saying he was at USNA and couldn’t make it.

He did and he never heard from them after that.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
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Hi All, my Plebe just got a Jury Duty summons for his home state/county of MD. I called them to see if he could be excused and they told me he couldn’t. My daughter when at USNA was excused previously. He obviously can’t come home for this from NY. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated! Thanks!
The challenge here is that active duty is always a legit excusal from jury duty in the state of residence, but at USMMA they are not AD.

Surely this is not a new problem. It will probably take something on letterhead paper saying the right things and affirming his status at USMMA. He should start with his chain of command right away, so that he can be sent to see whoever handles midshipman personal legal issues.
 

usna2021pop

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The challenge here is that active duty is always a legit excusal from jury duty in the state of residence, but at USMMA they are not AD.

Surely this is not a new problem. It will probably take something on letterhead paper saying the right things and affirming his status at USMMA. He should start with his chain of command right away, so that he can be sent to see whoever handles midshipman personal legal issues.
Thanks! Appreciate the help. Will get him started.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
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I’m hoping one of our knowledgeable KP posters will pop up just the right solution.
 

Peter2025

USAFA C/O 2025
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Hi All, my Plebe just got a Jury Duty summons for his home state/county of MD. I called them to see if he could be excused and they told me he couldn’t. My daughter when at USNA was excused previously. He obviously can’t come home for this from NY. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated! Thanks!
I’m hoping one of our knowledgeable KP posters will pop up just the right solution.
While not the same situation (USAFA is AD), I was summoned for Jury Duty last year . On the affidavit I had to sign (and get notarized), there was an option for away on active duty and one for away at college. Maybe the latter would work for your Plebe. I attached the form for reference.
 

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kpmom2013

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I would ignore the summons. They have no recourse if your plebe does not show. They cannot prove he received notice unless he was personally served or signed for the summons by certified mail. The jury commissioner's office sends out more summonses than they need because they know a certain number will be no-shows. I have never seen them take any action against a potential juror in any situation like this. I base this answer on being a trial lawyer for 40 years. Do not waste any more of your time or effort on this matter. You have nothing to worry about.
 

puzzler

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Whether or not negative consequences ensue if the plebe ignores the summons is irrelevant. It’s not the right thing to do.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
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Hi All, my Plebe just got a Jury Duty summons for his home state/county of MD. I called them to see if he could be excused and they told me he couldn’t. My daughter when at USNA was excused previously. He obviously can’t come home for this from NY. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated! Thanks!
I just scoured the MD state site relating to courts, jury duty, exemptions. I’m a MD resident, and I knew I’d seen something somewhere.

See the form below. I believe if this is filled out (consult with appropriate USMMA staff) and signed by the Commandant or whoever they deem appropriate, it should check the block.

I know it says for “active duty.” I know midshipmen at USMMA are not on active duty. But - one of the requirements of attending USMMA is to meet the criteria for a USN Reserve commission. That means they are required to fulfill their duties as a midshipman and may not be excused from class and other required training for things like this.

Candidly, i think if the jury office gets this form, they will not know enough about USMMA to understand the nuances. We all know he is required to be there.

Alternately, I suspect the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know USMMA is also a school offering a B.S, degree and is clueless in general about service academies. Did you ask about an “away at college” excusal? Don’t muddy the water with talking about “service academy.”

 

Allectus

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You can also contact a local lawyer to speak with the court on your son’s behalf. I am a lawyer and our firm has often intervened on behalf of clients who received a jury summons.
 

JohnPAKP65

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Have your son touch base with the Director of External and Congressional Affairs. It used to be an individual by the name of George Rhynedance.
 

Old Navy BGO

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They cannot prove he received notice unless he was personally served or signed for the summons by certified mail. The jury commissioner's office sends out more summonses than they need because they know a certain number will be no-shows. I have never seen them take any action against a potential juror in any situation like this.
> Spoken like a true trial lawyer ! :) You have the knowledge, and resources to defend yourself. (Of course, I am sure you know what they say about lawyers who represent themselves ....)

Of course they can't prove actual knowledge, and probably lots of other defense if a Court tried to enforce a jury summons,....but fighting something like that involves hiring a lawyer and takes time and money. I'd also caution against generalizations about what one jurisdiction might or might not due -- the following is a excerpt from my State's judicial system website:

What if I fail to appear for jury service?


If you received a juror summons and failed to appear, you can be fined, incarcerated, or both.

I'm not saying I've heard of anyone being prosecuted for a one time offense, but why take the chance. Better to handle it the proper way than simply thumbing your nose at the system.
 
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Left NYC to move to CT. Kept getting NYC jury duty notices. NYC jury duty was notoriously bad in those days so people did anything to get out of it. Sent NYC Clerk the 'Full Monty"package that they required (CT drivers license, copy of NYS non-resident tax return, copy of CT resident tax return, copy of deed to my house, voter registration card) three times and they still kept sending me jury duty notices/threats.

I finally got someone on the phone to ask why they were still sending me notices when I hadn't lived in NYC for over six months. Clerk says "Ah Ha - I got you". I say "What do you mean you got me?". Clerk says "I know that the USPS only forwards mail for three months. If you are still getting our letters after six months, that means that you have a secret address in NYC and are still subject to jury service." Only thing that got me off the hook was sending them the original envelope from the NYC Clerk's office that had the yellow USPS forwarding label still attached to it.
 

emeraldheron

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> Spoken like a true trial lawyer ! :) You have the knowledge, and resources to defend yourself. (Of course, I am sure you know what they say about lawyers who represent themselves ....)

Of course they can't prove actual knowledge, and probably lots of other defense if a Court tried to enforce a jury summons,....but fighting something like that involves hiring a lawyer and takes time and money. I'd also caution against generalizations about what one jurisdiction might or might not due -- the following is a excerpt from my State's judicial system website:

What if I fail to appear for jury service?


If you received a juror summons and failed to appear, you can be fined, incarcerated, or both.

I'm not saying I've heard of anyone being prosecuted for a one time offense, but why take the chance. Better to handle it the proper way than simply thumbing your nose at the system.

Practicing attorney here, although not in one of the states involved in the question. I agree with this advice.

Courts in my state excuse people who can show that jury duty will impose a true hardship upon them. And candidly, it is a hardship to ask ANY college student -- even a commuter student -- to serve jury duty when class is in session because it means the student will have to miss classes. I have never seen a college student summoned for jury duty during the school year not be excused. (That doesn't mean a student who goes to a regular college might not have to serve during a designated break period, though.)

Possibly, you talked to someone who didn't have the authority to excuse your son from jury duty. In most of the counties I've practiced in, it is actually a judge who decides to excuse jurors. Or, you could have talked to someone who doesn't know the rules. And in some courts, the excuse must be in writing; they will not excuse you based on a phone call.

I've never seen anyone prosecuted for nonattendance at jury duty ... let alone a college student, let alone someone at a federal service academy. Nevertheless, it IS a summons from a court. I would never ignore any sort of summons from a court on the basis of trying to prove later you didn't receive it. (I've seen courts apply a version of the mailbox rule to situations outside of contract law far too many times.) I would instead have your son write a brief letter to the court outlining the special circumstances as to why he cannot appear. I would much rather be arguing the case of a kid who wrote a respectful letter explaining why he couldn't appear versus one who ignored a court summons because the judge decides the fact the court mailed a letter means the burden is on your son to show he didn't receive it. (Especially given in this instance that your son wouldn't be able to make that argument - I assume you told him about the summons so he DOES know about it and IS on notice.)
 

Humey

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If you go to school in Boston, regardless if you are a resident or not, you will be sent a jury summons. Plenty of people in the dorms got called up. My son never did when he lived in the dorms and once he moved into an apartment, the city nor the school had no idea where he was living. So no summons

Now my other son when to Purdue in Indiana. He received jury summons from Los Angeles where we live. I send back theform stating he was going to school in Indiana and wasn't coming home any time. LA will give you a 6-month extension but we also added that since he was doing summer school, he wasn't going to be back for the summer. So they just said fine. In your case, you can ask for an extension until the summer

My son is AF AD duty so when they send a summons for him last month, he wrote back he was AD living in N. Dakota and a little busy. They excused him.
 

KP Eng

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Oct 23, 2015
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I would ignore the summons. They have no recourse if your plebe does not show. They cannot prove he received notice unless he was personally served or signed for the summons by certified mail. The jury commissioner's office sends out more summonses than they need because they know a certain number will be no-shows. I have never seen them take any action against a potential juror in any situation like this. I base this answer on being a trial lawyer for 40 years. Do not waste any more of your time or effort on this matter. You have nothing to worry about.
Rare instance of KPmom2013 going rogue. Glad to see it!
 
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