By in Random

That Jury Commissioner Must Be Kidding

Unfortunately, The jury commissioner means business. The summons I have received has turned my life upside down. I live in San Luis Obispo County on the north end. I have been summoned to indicate my availability to serve a four-week term in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is over 200 miles away from me. Oh, they will pay $214.00 a day for lodging and meals, but I would have to serve four days a week if picked and then go back home each weekend before coming back the next week. Of course, traffic will be at its worse when I would be coming and going. Were I even ten years younger I might consider this as an all-expense-paid opportunity to spend some time seeing the city in the little spare time I have, but now I'm an old woman afraid to drive in that traffic and stay alone in a downtown hotel for that long, away from my doctors and insurance plan.

I know I can get a postponement because they've called me for November 4, and I'm having cataract surgery on October 28 and November 11. But getting a postponement means telling them when I will be available and I have no idea – especially with possible knee surgery ahead. Unfortunately, I have to fill out an online questionnaire with only a few characters to explain why they should postpone or excuse me. There's only one such space and three possible questions I need it for. But that's not important, anyway now, since I clicked a link for details on getting excused or postponed and they dumped everything I'd filled in. Had to log in again, except the button to go on to the next page wasn't showing and you can't use back buttons. Then I got the message that I had tried unsuccessfully to log in too many times and to contact them. People only answer the phone during limited hours. I called during those hours but no one answered. I emailed the only address they gave me, but I have to wait and see if they got it. I didn't even get an auto-response.

I really don't need this worry right now with so many doctor appointments and posts to do ahead. I have little enough time to get ready as things are, to be chasing bureaucrats who send almost impossible forms. You can't request both a postponement and to be excused. I need to be excused, but if I apply for that and don't get it, I don't think I can then apply for a postponement. It's vicious circle. There ought to be an age limit for calling jurors from such a distance.

What do you think?

Image Credit » B. Radisavljevic -- my own photo

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morilla wrote on October 13, 2015, 2:13 AM

If this is a Federal Jury (Los Angeles is not in San Luis Obispo County), then, if you're over 70, there is the possibility of an excuse... http :// www . uscourts . gov / services - forms / jury - service / juror - qualifications

If your surgeries (cataract and knee) are both scheduled, a postponement shouldn't be a problem. If the knee surgery is only a possibility, then it becomes more problematic as the Courts, nationwide, have begun cracking down on excuses. Then again, you might be able to simply make a case for 200 miles, one way, being an "undue hardship." You can try for a doctor's excuse/note; but, they are cracking down on that as well. Otherwise, all you can do is wait or push the calling without creating too much of a stink.

Last Edited: October 13, 2015, 2:17 AM

MegL wrote on October 13, 2015, 2:53 AM

There certainly is an age limit for jury service in the UK. I tend to fall asleep after lunch every day or if sitting still for too long. Maybe sitting in their waiting room asleep would mean no one would want you on the jury?

Paulie wrote on October 13, 2015, 2:54 AM

If you live in San Luis Obispo County, why are you being summoned for jury duty in Los Angeles? Is Los Angeles part of San Luis Obispo County? I was summoned for jury duty only once. At the time, I was living in Howard County in Maryland and I was summoned to the Howard County District Court. I was there only one day because the two lawyers decided they did not want to select me for the jury.

Feisty56 wrote on October 13, 2015, 9:21 AM

I think it's a darn shame that the bureaucracy is so onerous and unresponsive to the citizenry it requires for the judicial system to work. I think it's a darn shame that someone in your position -- age, distance, pending surgeries, insurance plan and more -- now has to deal with all the anxieties about this summons. I hope that you're able to get it worked through without too much more angst on your part -- I am truly sorry you've got this on your plate.

wolfgirl569 wrote on October 13, 2015, 9:47 AM

Since you have to travel that far I am guessing i is federal and they do have an age limit as morilla said. Most counties do also, at least in Ohio Hope all of your surgeries go smoothly

paigea wrote on October 13, 2015, 10:28 AM

They do have an age limit here, but I am not sure what it is. When I've been sent a letter for jury duty, the cases ended up not going to trial anyway. I hope you get it resolved without too much stress.

WordChazer wrote on October 13, 2015, 3:11 PM

Geez, I think that's even worse than jury service in this country. A former colleague was called a while back and went only about 50 miles but she was off work for weeks as the case dragged on for ages. I can only suggest you keep trying to ring them during their opening hours and try to explain that you CANNOT do this because your health will terminally suffer if you do. And ask them politely whether they really want to cause your health to take a downward turn?

DWDavisRSL wrote on October 13, 2015, 9:12 PM

I should think you would be able to get excused on medical grounds considering the number of issues you have going on at once.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:14 AM

The cataract surgeries are both scheduled. I know I can get a postponement on account of that, but then they will want to know when I will be available and there is no definite answer for that. I'm hoping if they do call me again after a postponement I can still get excused if another surgery is scheduled.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:15 AM

Unfortunately I can't fall asleep sitting up, especially if there are people around.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:17 AM

This is the Western District U.S. Court, and San Luis Obispo County is part of the district of several counties.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:17 AM

I sure hope so.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:18 AM

Me, too. I still have no response. I'll have to try to call again tomorrow if I get no response to my email.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:19 AM

My husband, now 75, is excused permanently from county jury duty as of this year. I hope they will consider excusing me because of age.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:21 AM

I've been called several times by the county and never been put on a jury. But it's one thing to go to San Luis Obispo and sit around, and quite another to go to Los Angeles to sit around.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:24 AM

I think I could get through to a real human, but the stupid form doesn't give room to state one's case.

BarbRad wrote on October 14, 2015, 4:25 AM

That's what a reasonable human being would think.

Shellyann36 wrote on October 15, 2015, 1:01 AM

That sounds very inconvenient. That is a long way to drive. I hope you can get it resolved. I have been called to jury duty once. I went and was not picked. I dodged that one (thankfully).

VinceSummers wrote on November 1, 2015, 7:39 AM

At one time I might not have understood your trepidation, but I do now. I don't like changes and I don't want to go outside prescribed limits set for me by my own mind! The good news for me is that, since I am not registered to vote, I don't get called.

shaggin83 wrote on November 9, 2015, 10:18 PM

I think getting expenses paid and seeing a new city would be awesome but I would be scared being alone in the city at night in a hotel as well. I wouldn't even be able to do that because I would have no one to watch my children while I was away.