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The Things Some People Say to Get Out of Jury Duty

The Things Some People Say to Get Out of Jury Duty

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioSome people are willing to say anything to get out of jury duty. But what these people say can get them in trouble if they push their luck.

It's a crucial part of our legal system, and apparently few people want to do it.

Brent Johnson told us, "It's an inconvenience. Nobody plans for jury duty."

Some people are known to lie. George Carlin had a good thought on that. "Tell the judge the truth. Tell him you'll make a terrific juror because you can spot guilty people, snap, just like that."

Massachusetts resident Daniel Ellis may have pushed the envelope a little too far. He told the judge he shouldn't be eligible for duty because he's homophobic, racist and a habitual liar. Here's the actual conversation he had with the judge.

The judge said, "You say on your form that you're not a fan of homosexuals."

Ellis responded, "That I'm a racist. I'm frequently found to be a liar, too. I can't really help it."

"I'm sorry?" the judge said.

"I said I'm frequently found to be a liar," Ellis replied.

"So, are you lying to me now?" the judge asked.

"Well, I don't know. I might be," Ellis admitted.

"I have the distinct impression that you're intentionally trying to avoid jury service," the judge told him.

"That's true," Ellis said.

Even if you say this to a judge in Utah, and he or she believes you, it doesn't mean you're off the hook.

Brent Johnson is general counsel for the Administrative Office of Utah Courts. He said, "It would not automatically get you out of jury duty here."

Johnson says you can claim what is called a hardship, or say something to scare the attorneys in jury selection if you want out. Johnson says work is the number one excuse, but there are others.

"A big one in the summer is, ‘We've had this trip to Lake Powell planned forever, and I just can't serve on the jury that week,'" he says.

Johnson says the courts don't have the resources to investigate every hardship that is filed, but if you get caught trying to weasel out of jury duty, you could get in big trouble.

"You can be subject to contempt, which is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, maximum," he explained.

He says what you may think of as a great reason to not serve on a jury won't get you out of duty.

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