In May I received a summons for jury duty in the mail. It listed my term of service beginning June 30th and to run for two consecutive weeks. I followed the instructions which were to go online to the county court website, enter my juror number and fill out the questionnaire which would determine my eligibility to serve as a juror. When filling out the questionnaire I answered the question about disability and accommodations by explaining that I had left side deafness and would need to be seated so that my right ear was toward the person who was speaking. Also that any background noise might interfere with my ability to hear what was being said. I swore that I had answered all questions honestly and hit the submit button.
From there my instruction were to either go to the website or call the phone number given, after 5:00 PM on the evening before my first day of service, to see if I needed to report the following day for duty or to receive further instructions (when to call again).
It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that it occurred to me that I should have reported my having Parkinson’s Disease. I am not sure why I didn’t think of it at the time. It’s likely because I have not really let PD stop me from doing anything that I normally do, but perhaps it’s because PD is making me more forgetful. (LOL) I am not sure that the PD would effect my ability to serve as a juror but the tremors, that make me look like I am shaking my head, could be misinterpreted by others as some type of response rather than the involuntary movement that they are. The other thing that might become an issue while serving on a jury is that prolonged sitting causes my leg muscles to tighten up, so standing and walking become difficult after sitting for too long.
At this point I decided not to bother contacting them with the additional information, but just to wait to see how things played out. I imagined the worst thing that could happen was that I could be charged with perjury for lying on my questionnaire but I figured the PD might be an acceptable defense.
The other thing that had been on my mind since receiving the summons, of course, is the pandemic. Are the courts really holding jury trails and if so how are they practicing social distancing? I had hoped they would let me know ahead of time what would be expected of me. Last Wednesday they did – I received an email with the following message.
No jurors will be called for your entire jury term. Therfore, you are excused from jury service. Your jury service is complete, we thank you for your service.
St. Clair County Jury Clerk”
Although I’m not really sure if the courts in our county are holding jury trails at this time, I am thankful that I will not have appear and explain myself.
I have never served on a jury and have only been summoned one other time in my life. I do feel that, while I may have some difficulties that would prevent me from serving, if selected I would have been an impartial juror and been able to perform this civic duty well.
Have you ever served on a jury? Feel free to share your experience.