Fill and sign Excuse from Jury Duty Letter online and download in PDF.
What is an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter?
An Excuse from Jury Duty Letter is given by an employer in response to a Jury Summons given to their employee, indicating that said employee is unable to attend Jury Duty for a certain reason.
Jury Summons are given to randomly selected people from lists of registered voters and people with driver’s licenses who live in the district of the court. These summons call on said randomly selected people to appear on a particular date and time to serve on a jury for a court hearing. This service is called Jury Duty. Jury Summons are specific to the person they are sent to, and cannot be transferred to another person.
Having a Jury present for court proceedings ensures the defendant’s right to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution: The right for the defendant to have a speedy and public trial and an impartial jury.
The Jury’s role in court is to decide whether the defendant in the trial is guilty or not guilty for criminal cases and liable or not liable in civil cases. This decision must be reached only through consideration of the evidence presented in court, and based on the instructions of the judge. Because of this, no particular legal experience is needed when serving as a juror, and are often instructed not to learn anything about the case before the trial, or to speak to any parties involved with the case (i.e. witnesses and lawyers). All information that the Jury receives must come from the trial itself.
One juror will be designated the presiding juror (or head juror) at the beginning of the proceedings - whether by the judge or vote by the jury, depending on the district. The head juror is responsible for facilitating jury discussions, asking questions (often to the judge) on behalf of the jury, and announcing the jury’s verdict.
Jurors can be called for both Civil and Criminal cases. In Criminal cases, the government bringing the case against the defendant must prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The jury must then come to a unanimous decision. In Civil cases, the standard of proof is a preponderance of evidence, or in other words, the weight, credit, and value of the evidence as a whole on either side of the argument must be considered. In this case, the jury still has to come to a unanimous decision unless otherwise instructed.
Jurors are paid $50 per day of the trial, which can increase to $60 if the trial lasts for 10 days or longer. Employers may continue their employee’s salary during all or part of said employee’s jury service, but they are not required to do so. Instead, they are forbidden by law from firing, intimidating, or coercing any permanent employee because of their jury service.
The requirements to be eligible to be appointed as a juror are the following:
- be a United States citizen;
- be at least 18 years of age;
- reside primarily in the judicial district for one year;
- be adequately proficient in English to satisfactorily complete the juror qualification form;
- have no disqualifying mental or physical condition;
- not currently be subject to felony charges punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; and
- never have been convicted of a felony (unless civil rights have been legally restored)
Failing to attend jury duty can result in being charged a fine of $100 to $1000 and/or being held in contempt of court and ordered to do community service or even jail time.
Each District Court maintains its own rules, policies, and procedures when it comes to jury duty. As such, each court may have its own set of acceptable excuses from service, which may or may not be outlined in the jury summons. These excuses are granted at the court’s discretion, and cannot be appealed or reviewed by any other entity.
Who needs to use an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter?
An Excuse from Jury Duty Letter is important for people who have valid reasons for not being able to attend court as a juror and for employers who have similarly valid reasons for keeping an employee from serving as a juror. While each district court may have different sets of rules when it comes to what constitutes a valid excuse from Jury Duty, there are a few common reasons that can affect people’s ability to attend jury duty.
- Work-related issues. As serving as a juror for a trial requires that you take time to attend the court hearings and in some cases be sequestered for long amounts of time, issues relating to work may affect a person’s ability to serve as a juror.
- Health-related issues. If one is ill and therefore unfit to physically travel to serve as a juror, they, their employer, or any other trusted party may submit an excuse letter citing sickness as a reason for not being able to attend jury duty.
How to fill out an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter?
Get a copy of Excuse from Jury Duty Letter template in PDF format.
The Excuse from Jury Duty Letter is very short and easy to fill out, only taking up a single page.
However, it may help your case to prepare documents that can verify your reason for requesting that your employee be excused from jury duty, and assure the court of the validity of the excuse.
Sender’s Name and Address, and Date.
Enter your full name, address, city, state, and ZIP code. Then enter the date that the letter was or is to be submitted.
Politely address the person that you are addressing the letter to. If you are addressing a clerk of the court, use their full name (no abbreviations). If you are addressing a judge, the proper salutation should be: “Dear Honorable Judge [Full name of the judge]”. As with the clerk of the court, do not abbreviate any title or part of the judge’s name.
Name of Employee
Enter the name of the employee that you are requesting to be excused from jury duty.
Jury Duty Period
Enter the period of time that the employee has been summoned to do jury duty for. This will often be indicated on their jury summons.
Enter the name of the employee that you are requesting to be excused from jury duty, then provide the explanation for your request that they be excused in the space below. You may attach an extra sheet of paper if needed.
Important note: It may help to attach relevant documents to serve as evidence that the excuse being given is valid. For example, if there is a highly important work function performed by the employee that no other person can do, attach documents that provide details on said work. Or, if there are concerns outside of work, such as the employee’s health or safety, attach documents that can verify the validity of said concerns, such as a doctor’s note.
Attach a copy of your contact information to the letter. Make sure that you are providing updated contact information, and that if or when the court calls to approve (or reject) your excuse, you are able to answer the call/respond to the message ASAP, so use your preferred method of notification unless the Jury Summons specifies the way through which the court will contact you or your employee.
Sign the form in the given space to certify that you are the one requesting that the above-indicated employee be excused from jury duty.
Submit the Letter
Submit the letter to the court through mail or email. If you send the letter through email, it is best to download and send it as a PDF file to make sure that it maintains the same format and appearance regardless of the software used to open it.
Start filling out a Excuse from Jury Duty Letter sample and export in PDF.
Tips when filling out an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter
The Excuse from Jury Duty Letter is a very short letter, but in order to ensure that your request for your employee to be excused goes well, and to avoid any potential legal consequences, it is important to make sure that you are properly filling it out.
Double-check the Jury Summons and State Rules. The Jury Summons can sometimes include information on what is considered acceptable excuses from jury duty, as well as the person to contact/send letters to. It may also state that even those excused from jury duty must attend the trial in person regardless of not having to serve as a juror themselves. Since each district court’s rules can be different from each other, it is important to review the Jury Summons to ensure that your given excuse will be considered a valid one, or otherwise what other requirements may be needed in order to file an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter. Some states may also have particular policies when it comes to being excused from Jury Duty, so make sure you also check with the rules of your state to make sure that your employee is not adversely affected by being excused.
Provide Documents for Evidence. Having documents that verify your reason for requesting that an employee be excused will make it more likely that the court will approve your request, provided it considers the reason for being excused a valid one. Attach any such documents (such as certification of any kind that proves that an activity or particular work cannot be missed, or proof that you will be understaffed and unable to operate properly without the employee) to the letter when you send it to the recipient.
Take note of deadlines. Some courts will have a deadline by which requests for exemption must be sent in order for them to be considered. This date may be included in the Jury Summons, but also might only be posted by the court elsewhere. Typically, failing to submit an Excuse from Jury Duty Letter by this deadline will result in a person not being excused from jury duty, but allowances are made for emergency situations on a case-by-case basis.
Ensure that the information you entered is correct. Anything you put on the letter must be correct and updated or you may be held in contempt of court and subject to the legal consequences implied.
Make a copy before sending. For the purpose of keeping a record (and also to make sure that you have a spare in case anything happens), make sure to copy your letter before you send it.
Create a Excuse from Jury Duty Letter document, e-sign, and download as PDF.