Matthew Minner | August 12, 2022 | Personal Injury
Many people who receive a notice that they have been called for jury duty are not too happy about this prospect. Jury duty can be disruptive, leading to lost wages and difficulty handling your other obligations. If you do not want to serve on a jury, you may be able to be excused from this duty.
What Is Jury Duty?
The United States Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to a fair trial by a jury of their peers. However, juries can also serve in civil cases. Having an objective jury is an integral part of our justice system and is considered a civic duty.
How Are Jurors Selected in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, a master list of prospective jurors in a county is prepared each year.
This list includes all people over the age of 18 who:
- Hold a personal identification or valid driver’s license issued in the county
- Filed an individual income tax return that shows a physical address in the county
- Registered to vote in the county
Jurors are randomly selected from this pool.
Once jurors are selected from the pool, they must report to jury duty. They may or may not be chosen for a particular trial based on the voir dire process, in which the attorneys for each side interview witnesses to determine if they are biased or otherwise not appropriate for the jury.
Requirements to Become a Juror in Kentucky
Kentucky requires that all jurors meet the following requirements:
- 18 or older
- A citizen of the United States
- A resident of the county
- Has sufficient knowledge of the English language
- Has not been previously convicted of a felony or convicted without being pardoned or receiving a restoration of civil rights
- Isn’t currently under indictment
- Hasn’t served on a jury within a 24-month period
If you do not meet these requirements, you should inform the jury administrator since you should be disqualified from serving.
Exemptions for Jury Duty in Kentucky
Kentucky law does not allow any automatic exemptions for jury duty.
Reasons to Be Excused from Jury Duty
There may be valid reasons why a person cannot serve on a jury. Because there are no automatic exemptions in Kentucky, it is up to you to show that serving on a jury would create an unreasonable hardship.
Some possible reasons potential jurors may give to request an excuse from jury duty include:
- The juror is currently breastfeeding their child
- Serving on a jury would create a hardship for the juror or their employer
- The juror has a job that affects the health or safety of others that may be jeopardized if the juror had to serve
- The juror has a firmly-held religious belief about the criminal justice system
- The juror has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity
- The juror is a caretaker of young children and does not have alternative arrangements for care if they had to serve on a jury
Other excuses may apply based on your circumstances.
Requesting Excusal from Jury Duty in Kentucky
If you believe that serving on a jury would be an unreasonable hardship, you can request that the court excuse you from jury duty. You must prepare a letter stating why you believe you should be excused and submit it to the court.
You are responsible for ensuring that the letter arrives at the appropriate court before the day you are summoned for jury duty. The court will respond to your request by U.S. mail.