Sample Letters to legislators addressing conflicts between jury service and family
Concern: Finding suitable childcare at the last minute for jury service
(Last updated November 7, 2004)
Re: Family Friendly Jury Duty Legislation
Dear Senator (or Representative) ___________
Would you please enact legislation that will allow full-time parents of small children the option to be deferred from jury duty?
When a full-time parent is called to serve, this generally means finding care for the child (or children) during the court's hours of operation. Not only is this disruptive to the child, short-term day care options are generally very limited, especially for those families who have decided to have a parent stay home with the children.
Formal day care facilities rarely have positions available for the short term.
In fact, most families desiring to place their child in these facilities place their child's name on a waiting list before the child is even born!
Some parents do not have family in the area who could help out.
As a last resort, a parent could hire a baby sitter for eight hours a day, but the cost can be prohibitive.
It should also be noted that some families which have made the decision for a parent to stay home with their children, simply do not feel comfortable allowing others to be responsible for their children for long periods of time.
Attachment (A) shows most states have already enacted legislation deferring full-time parents of small children from jury duty. I believe that jury service for the full-time parent of a young child can cause serious family problems and should be grounds for deferment, in much the same way that some individuals are deferred if they show that their service would cause an undue hardship for their business.
After their obligations to their children have been met, most individuals would be more than happy to fulfill their obligations as good citizens.
Please enact Family Friendly Jury Duty Legislation.