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nlb1050 October 2nd, 2006 02:40 PM

Has anyone ever received a Federal Jury Summons
for a time they have a cruise booked/payed for and What happenned? I understand that you can request to delay it and am wondering if anyone has had to do this.

Tide Pride October 2nd, 2006 04:17 PM

I had a co worker who was booked on a cruise and they received a jury summons for Federal Court. She wrote a letter to the clerk explaining her conflict and the court wrote back and excused her from the summons and stated she would be called at a later date.
That was about two years ago and she has not be summoned to date.


Luanne Russo October 2nd, 2006 04:30 PM

That is a scary thought, that had not come to mind. I called a friend who does the jury duty thing, and she said that it would be a financial burden, and would be excused, with proof. Now we know another reason for Docs. LOL


nlb1050 October 2nd, 2006 04:56 PM

I definitely don't mind serving but not for the time they want me.

About 8 years ago I had Federal Grand Jury duty and enjoyed it. We meet once a week for 18 months and if you needed time off all you had to do was tell the jury foreman and as long as the required number of jurers would be there you could take off.

I have never had to serve regular jury duty.

Thanks for the replies.

AR October 2nd, 2006 04:57 PM

Generally, if you call the court in advance and explain the situation, they'll work with you to reschedule.

A few years ago I served on a federal grand jury for a full year, working three days every month. A previously-booked cruise presented a conflict, but our judge excused me for that period (on a federal grand jury a quorum of fewer than the full panel is sufficient to proceed). If the summons is for a petit jury, chances are they'll just postpone the entire service.

But a word of warning: do not under any circumstance ignore a federal jury summons. You will be setting yourself up for a very bad day if you do. On the day our grand jury was empaneled, the judge did a roll call as soon as she took the bench. I was amazed at the number of names that were called with no response. Later in the day after we were put to work, a US Marshal told me that "the boys" had been sent off to the homes and businesses of those who didn't show up to pick them up and bring them before her honor to explain their absences. And this is a judge who enjoys a tremendous reputation for brilliance and fairness--and for tolerating absolutely no nonsense. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in her courtroom when those people were ushered in.

None of this should be scary, though. Just take care of business ahead of time. Reasonable people will deal with reasonable people reasonably.

And, by the way, I found my year of grand jury service fascinating and rewarding. It is absolutely not true that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. We told more than one Assisitant US Attorney to take a hike. On the other hand, we were all terribly impressed with the overall quality of the Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials we dealth with. We had some high profile cases--a couple you've actually probably heard of--and it's comforting to know that once you get past the public political posturings of the Attorney General and his lapdogs, the day-to-day work by the US Attorneys is intelligent, humane and compassionate, because these are the professionals who stay when the politicians change. They're everything you hope for from the lady with the blindfold.

richstacy October 2nd, 2006 09:35 PM

In the federal system, it depends entirely on the district, but in 90% of them the clerk will give you one "bye" with a good excuse like a cruise coming up. They can always put your name back in, and have it rise quickly to the top next time. Be sure you arrange for an excuse though, some federal district judges are tough on jurors who just ignore a summons. I've even known some to spend some time in jail courtesy of the U.S. Marshal. Very scary.

A broken down old federal prosecutor.

nlb1050 October 2nd, 2006 09:40 PM

I have filled out the questionaire they sent to mail back tomorrow, and will be mailing a letter requesting a temporary excuse. This is what they tell you to do if you don't fit in any of the normal excuses ( 70 or older, medical,etc).

I certainly don't mind serving.

richstacy October 2nd, 2006 09:52 PM

Ar, I just read your post previous to mine. Having spend some 4,000 hours in a federal grand jury room as a prosecutor (in 17 years), I was delighted to read your comments! That is high praise coming form a grand juror. I don't know what district you were in or when but I'm sure you will agree that there is a difference in major investigative cases, and one time presentations for indictment.

I served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorney's from 81 through 85, and it was our recommendation that AUSAs be given career status. Prior to that time they changed with the political winds. We now have a much more professional corps of AUSAs. Some that I hired in the early 80's are still aboard, and politics is (thankfully) the furthest thing form their mind.

AR October 3rd, 2006 11:56 AM


Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria. Home of the rocket docket.

Our den mother was judge Leonie Brinkema, most recently notorious as the gray-hair-in-a-bun trial judge in the Zacarias Moussaoui matter. Our grand jury dealt with everything from reckless driving on military bases to major drug cases to terrorism. We indicted well over 70 cases, some of which involved hearing testimony over many months; others, as you note, were simple one-time presentations. It was quite a ride, and we definitely earned our fully taxable thirty bucks a day.

Glad my feelings reached someone responsible for the current positive state of affairs. It's something everyone should experience.

richstacy October 3rd, 2006 03:00 PM

I'm retired now, but I thank you for your service. It's a shame everyone can't have your experience. I haven't met many grand jurors or trial jurors in the federal system who didn't enjoy the service, though the, ahem --pay -- as you note, isn't too good.
I knew Henry Hudson, former United States Attorney from your district, who went on to be director of the U.S. Marshal's Service and a U.S. Dist Judge very well.

Fern October 3rd, 2006 09:24 PM

I was called to be on a Federal Jury last year. There were 100 of us called, and as far as I know, everyone showed up! I REALLY wanted to serve, but realized after about half a day of instructions, introductions, etc., that I knew the defendant and some witnesses (through a lady who had taken care of my Mother). I felt I had to tell the Judge this information, and was excused. They never called me again :( .

I think that serving on a jury is one of the most important things we as citizens can do, and would be happy to do it again.

(BTW, the jury found the "bad guy" guilty, (a drug lord from Dallas), just as I would have.)

nlb1050 October 30th, 2006 10:48 AM

Came home yesterday from neice's wedding and in the mail was a letter stating that my request for excusal was granted. So now just waiting for day of departure for cruise!!! Just need to get the Doc's.

Phyllbo October 30th, 2006 02:04 PM

Speaking from experience, I have been excused twice now in Florida. The first summons I got was timed for the Panama Canal trip. They let me off for that. This most recent time was to start today. I am still in WI so I asked again to not serve. That also was approved. I'm afraid that I won't be able to get to delay a third time. Sure hoping I don't have to go during our daughter's wedding cruise. I wish that I could volunteer to get it done in the many weeks that I'm not doing anything special.


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