Top Ten Methods of Evading Jury Duty (Some Theological, Some Otherwise)

Yesterday I spent one looong day serving “jury duty.” My husband would tell you I’m a whiner for complaining about this. This is the first time in my 9-year “voting career” that I have been summoned for jury duty, compared to the four or so invitations that Justin has received.

I have to confess that, although I should have perhaps entered into this experience a little more excited about performing my civic duty (as the people in the jury service orientation video reminded me, “Jury Service is one of the greatest signs of our nation’s privileged status…,” and I’m often surprisingly receptive to Kant’s ideas of “duty ethics”), I couldn’t muster much excitement.

So, instead, I spent my time in the waiting room brainstorming all the possible ways that I could ensure a dismissal from service were I to make it all the way to the “interview phase” of jury service.

I now offer you, in no particular order, my top ten methods for avoiding full-fledged juror service (Note: They are heavy on the satire). May they serve you better than they have served me:

10. I’m a staunch adherent to Two-Kingdom Theology, as were many of my Mennonite forebears. So, while I very much respect and support the court’s God-ordained right to make decisions regarding criminal justice, my allegiances and loyalties lie with God’s kingdom, and I don’t want to mix the two.”

Of course, at this point, the judge/attorneys could point out that I am, in fact, serving jury duty because I’m a registered voter and the gig would be up…

9. My sensibilities are too post-modern/post-structural for this court. My tendency, were I selected, would be to deconstruct everyone’s argument, to look for both/and solutions, and the best that I could promise to offer at the end of a trial would be a solid ‘perhaps.’ Besides, I’m a little offended by this dualistic ‘guilty vs. not guilty’ paradigm you are using.”

8. I’m a strict complementarian. As such, I don’t believe that women should be engaging in rational thought and discourse in the public sphere. Wouldn’t my skills be better served providing childcare for jurors and/or baking tasty treats to share at a court recess?”

OK, you’re right: can’t go that far.

7. Even though several weeks ago I spent an entire blog post trying to dispel some of the confusion between the Mennonites and the Amish, I could play with the confusion created by our shared heritage in order to befuddle the courts. I could suggest that I need extra mileage reimbursement because of the daily wear and tear on my horse and/or request that my $15/day stipend be paid exclusively in hay.

6. “I’m a pacifist.”

This is true, and somehow, and unfortunately, surprisingly effective at making attorneys and judges squirm.

5.  “I’m a feminist. As such, I hate all men, and would have to rule against the plaintiff, defendant, judge, or all of the above, just depending on gender.”

Again, probably not a stereotype I would actually want to promote.

4. “I have pregnancy brain. It’s ‘scientifically proven’ that at least 75% of my brain energy goes to my uterus at this point in time.”

3. I’m a 6.5 generation German immigrant. Are you sure you feel comfortable with a foreigner on your jury? Sometimes cultural nuances can be tricky.”

2. I just finished a Master’s degree at a highly liberal educational institution. You could pretty much just call me a communist. I even like Cuba.”

1. Or, I could just suck it up, stop playing into stereotypes, answer questions honestly and serve whatever jury “sentence” comes my way….not as exciting, though.

Any other suggestions?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Top Ten Methods of Evading Jury Duty (Some Theological, Some Otherwise)

  1. ordinary (mostly)

    The only time my father ever emphasizes his graduate education (and uses the title ‘Dr.’ to refer to himself) is when he’s called for jury duty.

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      Hmm, didn’t think of that one. Today as I was listening to interviews several people did emphasize titles though…

  2. Erica

    Just suck it up and go do it. There’s a good chance they won’t pick you anway. I find it very fascinating to see how the court system works. maybe that makes me a geek.

  3. Tell them you are “not of this world” and see if they still want you on the jury.

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      Oo, nice. Depending on their religious sensibilities, they could either think I was some kind of crazy X-files style conspiracy theorist or into apocalyptic eschatology.

  4. I def like the “Im pretty much a communist” thing. Aside from blatant racism which members of my family have used in the past, the best one I could think of, and will use one day, is to just be super shady and develop a slight but still noticeable twitch.

    • Hannah Heinzekehr

      Somebody did suggest the racism idea to me, but I felt like that was going too far…they did ask a lot of questions about that, though. I like the twitching though. I could cultivate my own “shady personality.”

  5. Eliza

    I love that you started with the two kingdoms. Once you finish telling them about the two kingdoms they would probably think you are crazy or be so befuddled they would just let you go. : )

  6. LOL! I have no concrete suggestions as i have never been invited to jury duty in my life, but i cannot see you with a “shady personality.” lol but i did see this Mennonite policy prepared and adopted by Georgia-Carolina District of Southeastern Mennonite Conference on July 16, 1991, and adopted by Southeastern Mennonite Conference, with slight revision, on June 25, 1993: http://www.anabaptists.org/tracts/jury.html

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