Sample Letters to legislators addressing conflicts between jury service and family
Concern: Affording childcare for Jury Duty on a one-income family
(Last updated November 7, 2004)
Dear Senator (or Representative) ___________,
I was recently made aware of an injustice facing many stay-at-home parents in (my state). It appears that many judges do not allow these parents to be deferred from jury duty despite the parents' requests. As a stay-at-home mother, this concerns me for the following reasons:
Most parents who stay home with their children do so in order to provide them with the best care possible.
This does not come without
a cost, however. The family income is decreased significantly and they, in
turn, must learn to live on limited resources. A call to serve in jury duty,
many times, involves finding daycare (a huge expense for a family already
The call to jury duty can take days, weeks, or months. Even most friends are not available every day to watch the children. That means parents must try to find a safe, clean, caring position for the children in our already overcrowded daycare institutions with waiting lists.
It is NOT fair to force little children and babies to leave their parents to go to a strange place with people they do not know---all on a moment’s notice--- so that a parent can serve on a jury. Adjustments like that take time and preparation for the little ones.
Attachment (A) shows most states have already enacted legislation deferring primary caregivers of children from jury duty--we should be next!
Of course, I feel these parents should have a choice if they want to serve on jury duty or not, but they should never be forced to do it. Care of the children should come first!
Family Friendly Jury Duty Legislation would give full-time parents the option to be deferred from jury duty. Parents requesting deferral would be required to do so in writing, and would only be eligible if their child/children were under a specific age, and the parent was their sole caregiver during court hours.
Family Friendly Jury duty Legislation would not have to permanently remove qualified people from the jury pool. The prospective juror who requests to be excused would only be out of the jury pool for a few years after their youngest child is born. This legislation is necessary, because judges are not consistent in their practice of exemptions and some judges are not family friendly.
Please support parents who make the sacrifices to stay at home with their children.
Please enact Family Friendly Jury Duty Legislation.