Not Sure How To Handle-Jury Duty

Business By karateka Updated 13 May 2011 , 9:30pm by patticakesnc

karateka Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:02am
post #1 of 44

I recently received a summons letter for petit jury duty. Now, I believe in doing my part....but with having to drive kids to school every day and pick them up every day (budget cuts=no bus service) and having this cake business, I can't afford to be in an OJ length trial, or anything sequestered.

I just received an email from a bride who wants me to do a wedding cake for her May 7. Right smack dab in the middle of the jury time (it runs from May 2 through the 12th). I have to call every day to see if they want me to come in.

I have not been excused yet, so I'm assuming that when I wrote the stuff on the paper about having this business and driving kids to school, that they don't consider it significant enough to miss jury duty for. Last time I was excused early since we had booked a cruise for out of the country during the term.

Do I accept this order, or tell her I "might" be called to serve on a jury? What would you do if you were a one woman cake business? I need the money and the exposure, but I DON'T need to take a deposit then tell her, "Oops, got called, sorry- no cake for you!"

43 replies
cakesbycathy Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:30am
post #2 of 44

I'd assume you are going to have to serve and tell the bride you can't do her cake. icon_sad.gif

chefjess819 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:50am
post #3 of 44

is there any other cake decorator near you that you might be able to work with on this order? like going ahead and taking the order, but having the other baker there in case you get called? of course letting the bride know what is going on is a top priority here...

lyndya Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 2:01am
post #4 of 44

Call the jury clerk. I am from a different jurisdiction, however they may be able to give you a better idea about whether they have any trials scheduled for the end of the week. Then you can plan ahead, do your baking at night, fill and stack Friday night, and finish up on Saturday. I work full time, and that is often how I have to operate. Also, when and if you do appear in the beginning of the week, they will ask if you have any obligations that will interfere with your serving on an a trial that might extend through the end of the week. Tell they you are a one person business, and you may be excused for hardship. You can make it work.

Kitagrl Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 2:25am
post #5 of 44

I thought there was a clause on there where if you are the primary caretaker of your children you can be excused...not sure if you are a stay at home mom or not but if you are, then you should be able to get out of it....

Corrie76 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 2:59am
post #6 of 44

I would write another letter, and maybe another again (just to prove to the lawyers that you may be a little unstable icon_wink.gif ) I would explain in the letters that due to the nature of being self-employeed that it would financially jeopardize your budding career to serve jury duty...maybe throw in that it cuts into your extreme fundamentalist religious practices icon_evil.gif , beg, plead, and promise to serve another date. It never hurts to play the "unstable human" card...judges and lawyers alike are annoyed and repelled by the weirdos and eliminate those jurors first.
May is just around the corner so in addition to letters I'd make some frequent and obnoxiously abundant phone calls to the jury clerk.

HeyWife Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 3:02am
post #7 of 44

I was able to get out of it several years ago by saying I had children under the age of 12 and no one to watch them. They had no problem with it.

BakerAnn Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 7:47am
post #8 of 44

In my experience your only chance of being excused is if you are sole caretaker of children. Being self employed has never impressed anyone in the court system when I've been summoned!

indydebi Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:35am
post #9 of 44

When I was on jury duty, there was a woman who obviously didnt' want to be there. She said, "Well, I figure there must be SOMETHING there or they wouldn't have arrested him." The defense declined her to sit on the jury. icon_smile.gif

Just as a side story ..... Not because i don't want to do jury duty (I actually liked doing it!), but because of my personal feelings, I've sworn to anyone who would listen that if I ever got called up for anything that involved something bad to a child, I swear to high heaven I would look the attorney in the face and say, "Trust me .... the defense does NOT want me on this jury!" I couldn't imagine sitting there and having to listen to that kind of stuff and if I HAD to, then the guy is going to fry and I'm tellin' them right up front!

MamaMia808 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:40am
post #10 of 44

Heehee! Sooo interesting to hear all this! I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out potential jurors! icon_wink.gif But I have to say, we always need smart jurors. I mean, the defendant wants smart people to decide his/her fate and the victim definitely deserves to have smart people to help get them some justice!

BakerAnn Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 10:05am
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

When I was on jury duty, there was a woman who obviously didnt' want to be there. She said, "Well, I figure there must be SOMETHING there or they wouldn't have arrested him." The defense declined her to sit on the jury. icon_smile.gif

Just as a side story ..... Not because i don't want to do jury duty (I actually liked doing it!), but because of my personal feelings, I've sworn to anyone who would listen that if I ever got called up for anything that involved something bad to a child, I swear to high heaven I would look the attorney in the face and say, "Trust me .... the defense does NOT want me on this jury!" I couldn't imagine sitting there and having to listen to that kind of stuff and if I HAD to, then the guy is going to fry and I'm tellin' them right up front!




That reminds me of a time many years ago when my children were small, I was sole support, and I got called for jury duty. When it looked like I was going to have to serve (and like you, I don't object most of the time) I knew the weekend's upcoming wedding cake would probably have to be turned over to someone else.

They asked me how I felt about anyone who would sell drugs to kids. I looked at that attorney and said simply, "A big tall tree and a short piece of rope."

I was back baking later that evening!

dreamacres Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 11:45am
post #12 of 44

I would be happy to give up a thousand cake orders, would jump for joy to be facing the challenge of struggling with business and personal life to set on the jury of the man who is facing charges for molesting my grandchildren. He is free walking the streets seven months after charges have been filed. Trial keeps getting changed. Please consider setting on a jury, you could be making a difference in letting a drug dealer, child molester, etc. free to offend again. Don't count on the morals of others to do the right thing. Think about it, bad people get called for jury duty also!! Not likely another child molester will want to put a fellow offender behind bars???

karateka Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 12:45pm
post #13 of 44

Don't get me wrong. I've always wanted to serve, I think it would be fascinating. But I can't do a sequestered trial where I can't come home at night, or anything really long....

I actually do have cake orders scheduled this year, and I can't imagine having to call the bride and cancel on her because the trial is still going on!

I hate it that so many try to get excused....I believe that every citizen should serve. But...let's be practical. How the heck am I supposed to make a wedding cake if I'm on a sequestered jury? It is doubtful that I'd end up on one of those, but it could happen......

Ellie1985 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:35pm
post #14 of 44

I have been called for jury duty 4 times and all 4 times I was picked to be on the jury. I must "fit" the ideal jurist profile or something. One case I can't believed they picked me. It was a medical malpractice suit and they asked us if we felt we or someone in our family had been "wronged" by a doctor. Well I said I felt my mother had. In the jury room the other jurors said they couldn't believe they picked me. The only one I tried to get out of was for the Grand Jury which is everyday for 3 months. I told the Judge I was the primary caretaker for school age children and had I have a home based dog grooming business and that not being able to work for 3 months would kill my business. Well he said I could work nights and weekends and put me on the jury. It was a LONG 3 months!!!
It is very fascinating and also very heartbreaking when we would get child molestation cases on the Grand Jury. I agree with the other posters they should be hung from the highest tree.
As for taking cake orders, I would tell the person the situation and let them decide if they want to take the risk. Good Luck.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 6:58pm
post #15 of 44

Sequestered juries are extremely rare so I wouldn't worry about it too much, but you might want to have a backup plan in place where you have other cake decorating businesses on reserve who could take over your clients in the unlikely event you would be unavailable for an extended period of time. The May 7th order is a tough one, is there anyone else you could bring in on short notice to help you in case you get called?

And if you are called, saying you are a strong believer in jury nullification should get you kicked off. icon_wink.gif

I have been on two juries (ended up as an alternate both times, go figure), one civil and one criminal. The criminal case was actually a child molestation case, but the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt so the jury acquitted (I would have also voted to acquit).

0930 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 7:14pm
post #16 of 44

if you are ever called tell them upfront that you have a preconceived verdict in the trial and that it is GUILTY

if they ask you why, reply that it is because of everything you have heard and seen in the media

no lawyer will want you around for long - works like a charm in canada and i have done it!

0930 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 7:15pm
post #17 of 44

if you are ever called tell them upfront that you have a preconceived verdict in the trial and that it is GUILTY

if they ask you why, reply that it is because of everything you have heard and seen in the media

no lawyer will want you around for long - works like a charm in canada and i have done it!

tiggy2 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 7:24pm
post #18 of 44

I've been called 4 times and served twice. Was it an inconvenience...of course it was. Would I do it again....in a heart beat. Did anyone that tries to get out of it ever stop to think that maybe the person that ends up serving because they were excused may have a much bigger problem then they do?

kellikrause Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 7:53pm
post #19 of 44

I was called as a group for determination once and tried to get out of it. It was a high profile case and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant! They still made me sit there all day while they went through people to put on the jury. I should have told them every 20 minutes I had to go to the bathroom.....they probably would have sent me packing sooner. There are some times where people just can't serve.

CAC74 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:14pm
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerAnn


That reminds me of a time many years ago when my children were small, I was sole support, and I got called for jury duty. When it looked like I was going to have to serve (and like you, I don't object most of the time) I knew the weekend's upcoming wedding cake would probably have to be turned over to someone else.

They asked me how I felt about anyone who would sell drugs to kids. I looked at that attorney and said simply, "A big tall tree and a short piece of rope."

I was back baking later that evening!




Oh my gosh, too funny!! I laughed out loud a little bit! That's what they get for dealing to kids icon_wink.gif

costumeczar Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:19pm
post #21 of 44

If I was called it would kill me physically because I'd probably have to go serve then come home and do all my work, but I'd do it. ESPECIALLY if it was a child molestation case. I used to work with abused kids and I volunteered on a child-abuse prevention hotline for years, so I don't think they'd ever seat me on that kind of trial, but oh, wouldn't I LOVE to place my vote to put some pervert away!

The only time I was ever called I was not only put on the jury, but they made me the foreman. Lovely.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:21pm
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellikrause

It was a high profile case and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant! They still made me sit there all day while they went through people to put on the jury.



My wife also received a jury duty summons when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant, she just had her OB sign a medical waiver and she was excused.

tiggy2 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:38pm
post #23 of 44

One of the cases I was on was a guy that raped and beat a mentally handicapped woman.......he's in jail for a long time icon_smile.gif He actually tried to put a contract out on her life while he was in jail.

silverdragon997 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 8:40pm
post #24 of 44

I was summoned last year in Los Angeles. I happened to be in between jobs, so at first I didn't mind. But then I got called to be in a jury pool. Ugh. For 3 days I had to go down to the court house in downtown LA, and listen as 3 lawyers quizzed potential jurist (there were 2 defendants, each with his own lawyer). They all asked the exact same questions to the same people. Really? Were they not listening? Even the judge started saying "she already answered that". They had a monk who barely spoke English in the box for a day and a half before the judge finally excused him. And they started somewhere around 10 or 11 am and stopped at 4, with an HOUR AND A HALF for lunch every day. By the time they finally had a jury (I was never even called to the box), I hated the one slimy lawyer and quite frankly would have told them I'd vote them guilty just for making me come back for 3 days in a row for this nonsense. I'll go down to jury duty again when the process becomes more efficient!

luckylibra Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 9:03pm
post #25 of 44

Why does everyone try and get out of them... I am a single mom with no family close by and I made arrangements and made it work as it is my civic duty to serve on a jury if requested... it was not easy and I had to sacrifice, but in my opinion it is the morally upstanding ethically correct thing to do I can not imagine making up excuses and lying to get out of it..

snowboarder Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 9:23pm
post #26 of 44

If you think you're bored and uninterested in jury duty, imagine the judge who has to sit through voir dire repeatedly and listen to people give the same excuses about why they can't possibly serve jury duty. Or imagine that you've sucked it up and are doing your civic duty and maybe you've made it into the jury box (I've served a few times) but now you have to sit there and listen to the next 130 people give the same uninteresting monologue about why they can't possibly serve which makes everything take longer than it should. If you're going to try to get out of it, at least try be original with your excuses.

silverdragon997 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 9:31pm
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowboarder

If you think you're bored and uninterested in jury duty, imagine the judge who has to sit through voir dire repeatedly and listen to people give the same excuses about why they can't possibly serve jury duty. Or imagine that you've sucked it up and are doing your civic duty and maybe you've made it into the jury box (I've served a few times) but now you have to sit there and listen to the next 130 people give the same uninteresting monologue about why they can't possibly serve which makes everything take longer than it should. If you're going to try to get out of it, at least try be original with your excuses.




The judge in my case was having none of that. One guy told her that he had been unemployed for a year and had a job interview the next day. She asked him when and where, and then said that we'd start at 11am the next day, to give him enough time to go to his job interview and still come to jury duty!

Corrie76 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 9:31pm
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowboarder

If you think you're bored and uninterested in jury duty, imagine the judge who has to sit through voir dire repeatedly and listen to people give the same excuses about why they can't possibly serve jury duty. Or imagine that you've sucked it up and are doing your civic duty and maybe you've made it into the jury box (I've served a few times) but now you have to sit there and listen to the next 130 people give the same uninteresting monologue about why they can't possibly serve which makes everything take longer than it should. If you're going to try to get out of it, at least try be original with your excuses.



At least the judge is already at work, getting paid handsomely to listen to the excuses of potential jurors....it's gotta be way more frustrating to be a self employed caker, who's losing out on a wedding cake order for the same job!

lorieleann Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 9:50pm
post #29 of 44

i was able to get postponement because of not having child care and then having my husband out of town, and no child care, and then because of no child care ....eventually they stopped calling me because i couldn't make it. I did tell the clerk that I wouldn't be able to do more than one day b/c of having my husband take a sick day to watch the kids, and the clerk said that that was fine...i just needed to mention that when and if i got selected for a trial. I wish i have been able to do it, though. The other times i've been called i never made it out of the holding room icon_sad.gif

SugarplumStudio Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 11:52pm
post #30 of 44

You can request a postponement. If it isn't granted, I would tell the bride that you may not be able to do the cake if you are called, then it is up to her. You can protect yourself if your contract.

I have the unpopular opinion that you should not try to "get out" of jury duty, no matter what. Part of living in a democracy is the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. You can't live under the blanket of rights afforded by the US Constitution then refuse to abide by them.

The first time I was summoned, I was made to use my own personal time at work.
The second time, I received a summons the day after giving birth to my son. I requested a postponement and was given a 4 month reprieve. Still out of my job on maternity leave, I arranged for child care and reported. I was excused both times after the questioning, but would have served had I been chosen.
FWIW, I have to report in CAMDEN NJ. Maybe you remember that it was ranked as the country's most violent city a couple of years ago?

Also, just for the record, it did not sound to me like OP was trying to get out it. I was just surprised by the number or posters who encouraged trying to get around serving.

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