We did a little online research. It’s no secret that there are many websites people use to communicate excuses or ideas to get out of jury service. However, I was surprised to see that people even use Yelp for ideas. Not only can you get some good pointers
on a restaurant or hotel, but Yelp is also a source for trying to get out of jury service! One of the most recommended strategies was rescheduling one’s service around a holiday. People felt that attorneys and judges didn’t want to schedule a trial around a holiday, so it was a safe bet to defer one’s service around holidays. What does this mean if jurors who have deferred their service get called to serve on a holiday week? These individuals are already trying to get out of serving, so they may continue trying different reasons until they are successful.
How else might a holiday week effect the composition of the venire? People with higher socioeconomic statuses would be more likely to have firm plans that include prepaid travel. Those with lower socioeconomic statuses, if they planned to travel, may have more flexible plans that include driving rather than air travel. Therefore, those with higher socioeconomic statuses may be more apt to get out of serving during a holiday week. Some with longstanding plans would have already deferred out of that week. This may skew demographics of the jury pool. Depending on your case and client, this may be more or less of an advantage.
We have no control over who shows up in the venire. Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes the pool really looks as if it mirrors the community’s demographics. Sometimes it just doesn’t look like what we would have expected. The most extreme example was a trial I had in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta. Over 40% of the jury pool was under the age of 23, and most of those individuals were Caucasian college students from the county’s affluent north side. It turns out that all of those individuals had deferred their service while they were away at college. While this is an extreme example, certain events, such as a holiday falling midweek, definitely could have an impact on who shows up for jury duty.