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How the Family Friendly Jury Duty initiative got started

 

How the Family Friendly Jury Duty Initiative got started

 


Kathye Schattner

My name is Kathye Schattner and I was called to Jury Duty in August, 1999 by the Fayette District Court in Lexington, Kentucky. My request to be temporarily deferred in order to care for my young children was turned down flat by the judge, who yelled at me in front of my kids and treated me as if I were a criminal, not a responsible parent!



"Mean Judge"


The whole experience shook me up! When I heard that other parents called to jury duty had been similarly mistreated by the Courts, I was furious!
I wasn’t the only person affected by the judge’s rude behavior.
My older son was so upset by the way we were treated, he drew a picture (left), of the “mean judge” as soon as we got home.
 

Although there are Kentucky courts that accommodate the needs of a parent caring for a child at home, not all do.  In fact, policies of jury duty deferral differ widely from one court jurisdiction to another. 
Because of these inconsistencies, I contacted my state legislators and asked them if they could revise and update the current jury duty laws to be more family friendly. They were very receptive, and so I began working with my legislators in 2000. For a detailed history of what happened, click here.

In 2002, I began working on this website to help anyone else who might be interested in Family Friendly Jury Duty legislation nationwide.  It's been hugely successful!
Since this website's inception in 2002, there have been 10 other states that have enacted family friendly jury duty laws!

     Last updated Friday April 13, 2007