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What happens if you get a jury duty summons while traveling?

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What happens if you get a jury duty summons while traveling?

Old 09-27-10, 10:13 PM
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What happens if you get a jury duty summons while traveling?

Is there anything you can do before leaving to notify the proper authorities that you may not be available if they happen to summon you? What if you're on an extended trip and the court sends you numerous notifications, none of which you are able to receive? I'm planning to go on my first cycle tour in a few weeks and since I haven't had a summons in a while it is very possible for me to get one while I'm out. I'm 22 and really want to take this opportunity to 'disconnect' so I won't be taking my cell phone and the only way to contact me will be through email. I know for a fact that traveling is a valid reason to be absent from jury duty so could I just have my family notify the court of the situation?

This jury duty business has got me wondering if there might be any other state or federal obligations to miss while out on a trip. If anyone has any insights they'd like to share on similar topics I'd be happy to learn from your experience. If not I'd be happy just to get help with the original question.


Ian
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Old 09-27-10, 10:20 PM
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The same thing that happens when you get a jury duty summons when you are not traveling. Just throw it away!

Seriously, who cares? Lots of people go on vacation all the time and don't notify the government.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:25 PM
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are you saying that its not true that the jury duty police dont track you down using the gps chip in the back of your neck, after the third unanswered summon?

thats how it works up in in Canada.

have a good trip, no use worrying about things that might happen.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:27 PM
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I don't check my mail [heck rarely even my email] on tour. If I got back and the authorities were mad at me for missing something like this I'd send them a link to the Flickr set of my tour pics and explain I didn't get the letter.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
are you saying that its not true that the jury duty police dont track you down using the gps chip in the back of your neck, after the third unanswered summon?

thats how it works up in in Canada.

have a good trip, no use worrying about things that might happen.
this
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Old 09-27-10, 10:56 PM
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The easiest way to cover yourself here is to have the Post Office hold your mail while you are traveling.

2 considerations there though.
1- If you live with Mom/Dad, so holding your mail is not a reasonable request/not possible as it would affect more than yourself.
2- If you've arranged for someone else to check your mail for/pay bills, etc. sent to the address, this would preclude them receiving the bills/mail - so it's impractical in the same manner as #1.

But, if you live alone, then the Feds/USPS will be providing you with the proof you never received any summons "on time".

Otherwise, if upon your return from the tour you have received a summons, notify the courts and provide proof of your absence from the area at the time of delivery notice/court date and you should be in the clear.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 09-27-10 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 09-27-10, 11:08 PM
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The thing is I really want to get away with this trip and depending on how things go I may stay out for a moderate amount of time or a very long time. I'm willing to make a simple call if it keeps some letters out the back of my head and me focused on the road. That said I do understand the argument and am willing to accept the advice should the rest of the members feel the same way.

Edit*
Thx drmweaver, tht's just the kind of information I was looking for.

Last edited by applebuilder; 09-27-10 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-27-10, 11:21 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it.

However, if for some reason you are worried about mail, and don't feel comfortable forwarding your mail to a friend or relative, you can use a mail-forwarding service.

I've read of some that now receive all your mail, and scan it for you and post it to an online site. You then read and review the stuff online, print out what you want to keep, and delete the rest.

I don't know how many places do this, but here's one, with a focus on people doing ocean voyages:

https://www.sbimailservice.com/

[p.s., as for jury summons, I wouldn't worry about it -- I think in most jurisdictions you just have to say you were traveling, and they'll put you in the hopper for the next round of summons]
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Old 09-27-10, 11:29 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much - in 27 yrs I've been summoned three times - twice by jurisdictions I had already moved away from and the last time by our local courts and I was never called.

I would suspect if you're from a more populated area the odds of getting summoned are even lower than my once every 9 yrs.
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Old 09-27-10, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by applebuilder
I know for a fact that traveling is a valid reason to be absent from jury duty so could I just have my family notify the court of the situation?
A cursory google for jury duty and vacations gives me the impression that the system is very tolerant of people being away on vacations or other extended trips, as long as you (or someone at home) returns the slip you will receive with the relevant checkbox checked, and (depending on the jurisdiction) a brief explanation that you are "away" for an extended period. I don't think anybody is going to go after you for that, and you'll presumably have abundant proof of your travels (not that anybody would need it). I think the most important thing is to have SOMEONE return the slip to the court with some kind of explanation, then they can tick off your box and everybody's happy. Bad things only tend to happen when you just ignore these things and let them escalate. If you're really interested, then why not contact your local court directly and ask them what you should do.

This jury duty business has got me wondering if there might be any other state or federal obligations to miss while out on a trip. If anyone has any insights they'd like to share on similar topics I'd be happy to learn from your experience. If not I'd be happy just to get help with the original question.
If you're away over the period where you would need to file a tax return then that might be something you need to talk to an accountant about (or even just call the IRS - they do answer questions over the phone). If you've never filed a tax return, and aren't earning any money, then it might not be an issue, but once you've started filing returns then it can be a red flag to the IRS if there isn't any at all from you. I'm not an accountant, but it's just something to think about. As far as I'm aware, the IRS is the only other government agency to be really scared of - unlike other law agencies, which will only come after you if you actually *do* something bad, the IRS can come after you simply for doing *nothing* (i.e. not filing taxes) and really mess up your life if you're not careful, so talk to someone before you leave. After that, you've done your homework and can put it out of your mind.

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Old 09-28-10, 12:02 AM
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Wow ur lucky, I've gotten a summons every 6 months for almost 3 years. I was able to stretch the first one a year and a half after asking for three 6 month extensions. On the fourth one I was ordered to come in and was one of the first to be chosen in a room full of people. Still I didn't have to serve because I gave the judge an excuse (a valid one) for why I couldn't participate. 8 months later I got another summons but I was good for a year so didn't have to do that one. I just figured this was normal and that last one was in February so I've been waiting for them to hit me again.

The repercussions weren't the problem as I already knew travel to be a valid excuse. I guess the idea was why deal with 15 letters later when you can make one phone call now? In my experience no matter how lucky your dumb friends might be the court always remembers your affairs.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:08 AM
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I live in town , and put a reply in , saying , I have no car, to get there ,
please Budget for including the cost of a a Taxi , to and fro,
and I can serve.
never heard from them again.

not owning a car is a suitable handicap, It seems.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
I live in town , and put a reply in , saying , I have no car, to get there ,
please Budget for including the cost of a a Taxi , to and fro,
and I can serve.
never heard from them again.

not owning a car is a suitable handicap, It seems.
haha
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Old 09-28-10, 12:17 AM
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It might be better for you to stay home and wait for the jury duty summons. While doing that, you can worry about the extended holiday that you are missing.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by vik
i don't check my mail [heck rarely even my email] on tour. If i got back and the authorities were mad at me for missing something like this i'd send them a link to the flickr set of my tour pics and explain i didn't get the letter.

ignorance is not an excuse. You will comply.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:40 AM
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Some municipalities will allow you to volunteer for jury. Once you volenteer they may not be able to call you in for another year (or whatever the local timeframe is). I once entered the wrong date in may calendar for jury duty and ended up going to court a week early. The clerk entered me in as a volenteer so I wouldn't have to come back a week later.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by skilsaw
It might be better for you to stay home and wait for the jury duty summons. While doing that, you can worry about the extended holiday that you are missing.
The point is to avoid dealing with the summons. By making similar calls I've probably already reduced the mail I'm gonna have to return to by 70%. Thinking 'I'm having fun now but it's going to be a bit** when I get back,' is only going to make my extended holiday seem shorter.
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Old 09-28-10, 02:46 AM
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Regarding jury duty ... I'm in my 40s and so far I have never been asked to do jury duty. The idea that I might receive a jury duty letter while travelling has never occurred to me.

Regarding tax ... after moving to Australia from Canada in June 2009, I had to do my last Canadian tax return from Australia. I had the documentation I needed sent to me, I printed the tax forms from the website, and filled it in and sent it off like I would if I were in Canada. If you have access to the internet you can take care of stuff like that fairly simply.
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Old 09-28-10, 06:09 AM
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I know I put in an iniitial silly response, but I too in my mid 40s have never, ever had a jury duty summons (cue the letter arriving tomorrow................) and in fact only know one friend who has received one (and this was about 6 or 7 years ago) so as Machka says, this is something completely off my radar as well.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:35 AM
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Before taking an extended year-long type trip I've done everything to get rid of regular bills. For the ones that I can't predict like a jury duty summons, I've changed my address to someone that can screen my mail.

I've received perhaps half a dozen jury duty summons in my life, though none while actually on tour. One I received prior to a long trip for period I was going to be gone. I responded indicating that I was taking an extended trip out of the country and didn't hear from that again.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:58 AM
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I got a jury duty summons back in the 80's while I was in the military. I was stationed in Guam - the summons was for Pensacola, Florida where I had spent a couple months for technical schooling ; while there, I had changed my legal residence to Florida to avoid paying state income taxes. I ignored the summons for 2 years. Pensacola eventually did follow up and sent a letter to my Commanding Officer who called me in, bit**ed at me a bit then had me bring him copies of my orders to Guam, watched me seal them in an envelope, put a stamp on the envelope and had a Master Chief march me down to the mail box where I put them in the mail box. We won't go into what the Master Chief had me do for interrupting his day with such important stuff.

Point is, never heard from the Pensacola court system again.

I heard a lot of military people did the same thing with Texas, Nevada and Alaska when possible. They also got out of jury duty by claiming non-availability - being out of state usually was sufficient; overseas wasn't required.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
I live in town , and put a reply in , saying , I have no car, to get there ,
please Budget for including the cost of a a Taxi , to and fro,
and I can serve.
never heard from them again.

not owning a car is a suitable handicap, It seems.
Here, the clerk would tell you to put in your schedule and budget a couple weeks in jail. It might be a good enough excuse to keep you from being selected from a jury; it's not an excuse to avoid appearing for selection. They've got no tolerance for people trying to lie their way out of service.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:48 AM
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I'd be inclined to not pre-notify them. Bureaucrats seem to be really good at screwing up anything out of the ordinary and this might lead to more problems than it solves.

My first choice would to have someone you trust screening your mail and if necessary notifying them you are out of state. I would generally try to do this for other reasons than jury duty. I wouldn't bother if jury duty notifications were the only reason, but I figure there might be some other issue that I would want to hear about.

My second choice would be to not worry about it and deal with it when you get back.

Not complying with a notification that I did not receive would not worry me in the least.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:10 AM
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they should have a check box where you can tell them that you have too much education so both sides are going to eliminate you. But more to the point, the last time I was in the jury pool for the county court, there was one guy that got off of being on a jury because he was going to be on vacation on the given trial dates. He had some excuse for every trial, the judge was getting pretty sarcastic by the end of the day
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Old 09-28-10, 11:45 AM
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Take it from someone who hit the road for 4 months with no phone and no email and who lived in a city where they do hunt you down for intentionally ignoring jury duty, it's not something worth devoting any head space to.
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