Friday, March 13, 2009

The Idiot's Guide to Getting Out of Jury Duty

Quickie disclaimer. Please read aloud: BY READING THE FOLLOWING, I UNDERSTAND THAT MARSHALL R. ISAACS IS NOT ENCOURAGING ME TO ATTEMPT TO GET OUT OF JURY DUTY. TO THE CONTRARY, MARSHALL R. ISAACS HAS INFORMED ME THAT JURY DUTY IS MY CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY AND HAS ENCOURAGED ME TO GLEEFULLY SIT IN A CROWDED ROOM WITH A BUNCH OF CRANKY PEOPLE, MANY OF WHOM REEK OF BODY ODOR, WHILE MY CO-WORKERS STEAL MY CLIENTS BY TELLING THEM I'VE RUN OFF WITH THEIR LIFE SAVINGS.

If I had a dollar for every person who asked me how to get out of jury duty, I'd have about, well, forty dollars. Not coincidentally, this is what jurors get paid per day to serve jury duty in New York State.

I mention this at the outset for the benefit of the staggering 8.1% of you who are unemployed: Do not try to get out of jury duty. Forty bucks is forty bucks and, heck, maybe you'll make some new, unemployed friends to pal around with. Skip the rest of this article and go sign on for a high-profile murder trial.

Getting back to those of you still gainfully employed, there are numerous articles on the web explaining how to get out of jury duty. Here's a bunch:

WikiHow: How to Get out of Jury Duty

Ezine Articles: Get out of Jury Duty - Find the Perfect Excuse

FullDuplex.Org: How to Get out of Jury Duty

AssociatedContent.Com: Valid Excuses to Get out of Jury Duty

Print them out but do not read them.

Place them under your dog's arse or use them for your kid's next papier mache project. You don't need these articles to know that you can get out of jury duty if you are a Marine stationed in Iraq or are about to undergo emergency triple bypass.

So how does one get out jury duty? Well, as they say in the porn industry, here's the money-shot:

You have to say, "I cannot be fair and impartial."

Sing along this time!

"I cannot be fair and impartial."

Once again, this time with a little more enthusiasm!

"I cannot be fair and impartial."

Easy, right? It's like when you discovered you could solve Rubik's cube by plucking the plastic colored pieces off and reattaching them in the correct order.

Do not falter when you say ICBFI! You must be strong. Whispering, "um, er, I'm not so sure if I can be fair and impartial" is like crying on your first day in prison. The attorneys will latch on like angry Dobermans. They'll say things to you like, "Well, nobody's sure they could jump out of a burning building but they tend to feel differently once their asses catch fire." Before long, you'll be listening to opening statements.

Of course, ICBFI does not work in a vacuum. You can't just walk into the courthouse like Rainman repeating ICBFI robotically to anyone in your path. First, you need something that you can't be fair and impartial about.

Let's say, for example, you are on the panel of a criminal case and you have a not-so-distant relative who is a traffic cop. You will be asked if you can temporarily set aside what you've heard from your not-so-distant relative, listen to all of the evidence in the case at hand and render a fair and impartial decision.

If, and only if, you feel this way, you should say, "Oh, no, I cannot put what I've heard aside. Nobody just 'gets arrested'. That person had to have done something wrong." Then comes the moment of truth; the moment for you to shine.

All together now!

"I cannot be fair and impartial."

Nicely done.

Shortly thereafter, you will be returned to central jury. Rinse and repeat as needed until your mandatory service is over. (Usually three days).

Congratulations. You have gotten yourself out of jury duty.

26 comments:

The Mind of a Mom said...

Bwahhhhhhhhhh... that is hysterical!! $40 per day from day one? Here in Canada we "donate" our first 10 day sort of like a lenten thing. We give up our pay and our lives, then on the 11th those 40 sweet bucks are all ours like some sort of sympathy reward.
Btw ~ I got out of jury duty because I had a scheduled MRI but had I known ICBFI I would have been all over it! :o)

Anonymous said...

Say that NO MATTER WHAT the gory details of the crime are, that you will find the person being charged as "INNOCENT", because you believe the state does NOT have the right to convict anyone of ANY crime.

PEACE !!!

" YAWL "

Anonymous said...

I used a version of ICBFI to get out of sitting on a civil jury. The case was a car accident in which the hittee was suing the hitter for costs beyond the insurance settlement. The only evidence was going to be from chiropractors on both sides, i.e. no actual medical evidence of any kind. During voir dire I was asked if there were any reason I couldn't BFI. I said, "Yes, but your honor I don't think I should say this out loud." The judge called me and the attorneys to a sidebar, and he asked me what my difficulty was. Says I, "Your honor, chiropractors are all quacks. I won't believe anything either of them says." Says he, "Excused."

Anonymous said...

I got out before I can do it again. Didn't shower, dressed in jeans n a tshirt and open my mouth- alot. Ask questions, lots of random ones. They don't like mouthy people who voice their opinions about anything. If u look like u care and want to be there they will most surely reward u with just that. If u look like an angry gunman on the grassy knoll who will go postal they will send ur crazy ass home. I plan to stretch put n take a nap on the bench because I know I'll be out of this hell by lunchtime. It also helps to know people who work for lawyers, have worked for on yourself, watch too much crime drama on tv, know a cop or anyone that makes u a bad candidate.

Anonymous said...

Tell them that where there is SMOKE there IS fire. No ifs ands or buts about it... then follow that one up with (Slightly under your breath!!!) I am sure that the defendant wouldnt be here if they werent guilty. And for the coup de gras...Police officers NEVER lie!

As you walk out the door, say to yourself... JACKPOT!

Anonymous said...

When I got a notice to appear for jury duty, I sent it back, telling them I was Canadian. They never bothered me again. Of course, I actually AM Canadian, so this is legitimate for me to do.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I had jury duty recently. When my name got called, they asked all the jurors in my pool if they had any strong feelings against gun possession. My hand immediately shot up & I said I did. Then came the magic words when the attorney asked me if I could be fair & impartial. ICBFI! Once I said it, the judge sent me out. I had to "re-enter" another jury pool but by that time, the clerk just dismissed everyone for the day! ICBFI rules!

David said...

Wow! I wish I lived in a state where the pay rate is $40 a day. Then I'd be able to get me some steak and a bottle of malt liquor.

Anonymous said...

$40???? here it is $15 if you show up and $25 a day if you serve. I just got home and found the dreaded Jury Letter. I think everyone is guilty until proved innocent. I hate everyone equally (not really but it helps keep the crazies away).

generic cialis said...

I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree

Anonymous said...

Wow, this really worked! My state doesn't allow anyone to get out of jury duty due to financial hardship (I run my own business and my husband is unemployed - so when I'm not at my desk, I'm not getting paid), so getting out of jury duty was pretty damn important for me. I read this article and kept ICBFI in mind as we walked into the courtroom.

As the judge was finishing up his speech to us, he asked us (as a group) if there was anyone who felt they could not be fair and impartial in this particular case. I raised my hand. The Judge asked me, why? Since walking in the door, my head had been reeling with a way to personalize this case to me... and I had the perfect (true) story.

This was a DUI case, where the defendant was pleading not-guilty. I happen to have a friend in the District Attorney's office who has been pulled over for DUI 3 or 4 times and manages to get out of it EVERY time. I expressed to the judge, "It pisses me off!" to some laughs from the other potential jurors, and mentioned that I feel it's an unfair and unjust system. The Judge pointed out that this was a different case than my friend, and I replied that I understood that....... but I CANNOT BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL in this particular case.

Judge: "Thank you for your honesty. I know it can be difficult to speak up about such a personal issue. You may be excused."

I was the first juror out the door. :)

paullstanley said...

This is a pretty funny article. On a serious note Where is the 100% legal, constitutionally afforded right of jury nullification (or jury veto)? Check out this article on how to get out of jury duty. number ten in the list explains nullification: http://www.itutorblog.com/2011/05/10-ways-to-get-out-of-jury-duty/

Anonymous said...

This is just great. $40 a day! It will cost me $36 a day to take the LIRR into Brooklyn. How about if I tell them I'm incontinent? how about head lice?

radic said...

if i reside in new jersey but for some reason got a jury duty invitation to my office in manhattan, what do i do then?

Anonymous said...

I got called in once. I just told them I went to school with the defendant and i got escorted out of the court room.

Anonymous said...

Here in the People's Republic of California the first you do not get paid, and if you are picked for a jury it's $15 a day. $40 sounds quite high-end.

Funny about Money said...

My last employer, a large state university, informed me that whatever I was paid for jury duty had to be handed over to the university, the theory being that we were supposed to reimburse our employer for the time lost.

Needless to say, I was "sick" the day I had to waste cooling my heels in the Superior Court's waiting room.

Anonymous said...

It worked for me even for a civil case. Thank you I will never forget that one. the judge tried but as you say after standing my ground I prevailed.

Anonymous said...

Can the Attorney who posted this blog write another one that explains how to avoid showing up for Jury Duty in the first place?

The above article requires you to actually show up for Jury Duty. I want an article that explains how to avoid ever having to show up when you get that notice in the mail.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the attorney qho wrote this but you can get out of showing up if you:
a) are a registered patient in a hospital
b) you are in jail or prison or police custody and such similar situations. Just be sure you can prove it!

Anonymous said...

I had to go to The Bronx courthouse and when they called my name the second day I went in and listened to the case when they asked who cannot serve I just said I don't want to be here. They said OK you are dismissed. As I was walking out somebody else stood up and yelled "I don't want to be here either" OK they said. I'm laughing at this. I'll do it again next time.

Anonymous said...

My first choice is "I believe in jury nullification", i.e., if the law is unjust I'll refuse to vote guilty. I wasn't even trying to get of jury duty the first time I said that, I was just being honest... got booted out so fast my eyes were spinning.

Second choice would be invert the "if they're arrested they did something wrong" argument. If asked about that I'd say, "Just the opposite; knowing that 95% of people in prison today take a plea and no jury trial, the fact that they're going to trial means they must have OVERWHELMING reason that they can prove their innocence".

I really believe both of these. I'd also suggest that you say it out loud and take the opportunity to educate the rest of the jury before you're removed.

Anonymous said...

Working and support our family is performing our civic duty. It is absolutely ridiculous that you have to lose all your pay for jury duty. 40.00 @ day in NY does not even cover 2 hrs of my husbands pay and the state says it takes 4-6weeks to pay you. If your employer has more than 10 employees he has to pay the 40.00 a day. So, in essence the criminal is still s___ing us up the arse as our family suffers or has to use vacation pay that we could save for a layoff. Pure Crap!!!!

Bill said...

Please tell me, if you can, whether a medical excuse letter can be written by a chiropractor, or must be an M.D.? (I am in NJ).

(Of course I tried calling the Jury Management office and of course I just got a voice mail loop.
)
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Tell them you are an ex offender.o

Anonymous said...

Did some research and its only in certain states can you use jury nullification. California is NOT one of them. I have used the ICBFI card at least 3 times now. It's not always pleasant, esp when you tell them cops lie (they most certainly do) b/c the judges feel that has been overused. But if cops weren't rogue it couldn't be used as an excuse. In reply to Anonymous on 4/8/2013, I couldn't agree more. I resent having to "serve" against my will - would you want someone with an attitude of hating what they do and wanting to cut it short to get back to earning a living - do you really want them judging you? C'mon. Pay a living wage or let someone who likes it do it.