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Note: The comments and questions on this page came from people who visited this website. Please feel free to send your comments and questions to Professor Brenner (brenner@udayton.edu). She will respond privately, and may ask permission to post your message on this page. No one's e-mail will be used without first obtaining their permission, and names and e-mail addresses are removed before a comment is posted. Starting in 2002, the responses posted to the site indicate which of us replied: The initials SWB mean Professor Brenner wrote the response; the initials LES mean Professor Shaw wrote the response. We are also putting the year down, to indicate when the response was posted. If no initials appear, Professor Brenner wrote the response.

Is a person 65 or older excused from serving on a federal grand jury?

Is a person who reaches the age of 65 years compelled to serve on federal jury duty when called.

Response: There is, as far as I know, no blanket system-wide prohibition on having people 65+ serve. A person of that age might, however, be excused if either of the following is true:

(1) People are disqualified if they are unable to render satisfactory jury service due to physical or mental infirmity. If the person in question suffers from such an infirmity, regardless of whether it is age-related, he or she can ask the court to excuse him/her from serving.

(2) Each judicial district is required to adopt a plan which specified those it exempts from serving in addition to those which the federal jury service statute exempts. In some districts, for example, the local plan exempts persons over 70 from serving. If the plan in this person's district were to exempt those 65+ from serving, the person could seek to be excused. 

Otherwise, the person would have to show some generic reason, e.g., "undue hardship", for being excused. The person would have to contact his/her court to discuss that possibility. However, as a general matter I discourage people from trying to get out of serving on a grand jury: I think it would be a very interesting experience, and itís an opportunity to serve the justice system (not to mention one of our obligations as citizens).

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