Sample Letters to legislators addressing conflicts between jury service and family


Jury Duty and last minute childcare concerns

Jury Duty and childcare costs for one-income families

Jury Duty and care arrangements for young children,† elderly or disabled family members

Jury Duty logistics for nursing mothers and/or large families

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Concern:† Obtaining care for young children, or elderly/disabled relatives

(Last updated November 7, 2004)

† Dear Senator (or Representative ) ___________,


I strongly urge you to support legislation that would allow primary caregivers of children under 6, as well as those who care for the elderly or disabled, the option to defer jury duty.†


Some might be incorrectly concerned that by creating this one exemption, it would open the floodgates for other exemptions.† However, this exemption gives balance to an individualís legal responsibilities.


An adult who is legally responsible for the day-to-day care of another human being, whether young or old, healthy or disabled, is in a constant juggling act to provide care for his or her dependent.† Many adults are able to find day-to-day care for their young or old charges while they are participating in the workforce.† If a primary caregiver is willing to sit for jury and has no constraints for childcare, then excusal need not be requested.† However, many adults prefer or have no other choice but to provide the care themselves.† According to the Kids Count data book, 36% of Kentucky women with children under 6 years of age do not participate in the workforce, and donít necessarily use the formal childcare system.† This is approximately 80,000 children.


Finding consistent, affordable and quality adult or childcare can be a challenge.† Finding last-minute, Ďdrop-offí care for a child or adult, to last for days or weeks, is nigh well impossible.† Even with a monthís prior notice, discovering and arranging for care for a young child is not easy.† A child care center is not usually willing to accept a child for only a day or two for a month.† Friends or relatives may be able to help for a few hours, but not necessarily all day for weeks on end.


Some may argue that this jury duty deferment is just about convenience.† I would argue that it is not.† A parent or caregiver is legally responsible for their charge.† If a parent cannot find care, or if their charge suffers due to the inadequate care or separation while the caretaker serves jury duty, then the primary caretaker may be forced to come before the court again, this time facing their own charges of neglect, abuse, or contempt.


This whole issue would be moot if there was consistency in the decisions made by Judges about jurors.† Being the primary caregiver of a young child doesnít appear to be important enough to impact the discretion of the Judge.†

(Your state, i.e., Kentucky) citizens NEED a bill to give them the voluntary option to request postponement from jury duty and to give arbitrary and inconsistent judges guidance to allow deferment.†


A Family Friendly Jury Duty bill isnít about shirking responsibility.† Itís about owning up to it!