If you’re thinking a global pandemic is enough to get you off the hook for jury duty, we got some bad news — most major cities are NOT cutting you loose just for that.
As it turns out, a lot of different municipalities in major cities are still holding jury trials, and that means courts are expecting folks to show up if they receive a jury summons. Civic duty never sleeps … not even for the coronavirus.
Take Los Angeles, for example. We’ve learned L.A. County Court isn’t allowing the mere fear of COVID-19 to count as an immediate get out of jury duty free card … not by a long shot.
Now, this is within reason. We’re told folks who are 65-plus or who are naturally high-risk health wise are eligible to be exempt in Los Angeles. But, if it’s just your general fear … the court’s expecting you to participate.
Similar deal in Maricopa County (AZ), which includes Phoenix, and even in former pandemic epicenter Manhattan. We’re told by officials there are no automatic exemptions for COVID-19, besides age and underlying health conditions.
Cook County in Chicago isn’t holding jury trials right now, Miami-Dade either. However, the former is still doing grand jury proceedings, and in those cases … they’re issuing deferrals for folks who’ve tested positive or who are high risk, meaning they’ll get to ya once your healthy.
While Miami isn’t summoning, they did experiment with jury selection via Zoom … and then held a mock trial in person with safety precautions in place. We’re told they accounted for masks and distancing. It went well that it could be a model the city rolls out eventually.
Bottom line … think twice before you crumple up that jury summons when it comes in the mail. Good old-fashioned trials still require a jury of peers — pandemic be damned.