Rhode Island - List of Jury Duty Excuses
Rhode Island - Getting Excused From Jury Duty
While jury duty is a civic requirement for all eligible citizens in Rhode Island, there are a number of excuses that can be used to legally get out of being required to report for jury selection or jury duty, or receive a deferral.
Rhode Island has a list of specific excuses that can be used to be exempt from reporting for jury duty, including excuses for student, breastfeeding, age and medical worker. You can also be excused if you don't meet the basic eligibility requirements for jury duty in RI.
Generally, if you qualify for one of the statutory excuses, you can respond to your jury duty summons letter with an excuse note containing proof of your excuse, and you will not have to report for jury selection.
While many states allow individuals over a certain age to request exemption from jury duty on account of their age, Rhode Island has no such statutory exemption. Elderly individuals may still be able to request exemption from jury duty on account of health, mobility, or other factors.
Prospective jurors in Rhode Island who are members of the armed services on active duty are automatically exempt from jury service.
General officers of the state; members and officers of the general assembly during their tenure of office irrespective of whether the general assembly is in session or not; are all exempt automatically from serving on a jury.
Correctional officers, deputy sheriffs, probation and parole officers, members of any paid police force of the state or of any city or town are automatically exempt from jury service.
Any members of any paid fire department of any city or town are automatically exempt from jury service.
If a juror is physically or mentally incapable of performing in a reasonable manner the duties of a juror they may not qualify to serve. Medical documentation may be required to be excused.
A prospective juror may be excused or have their jury service postponed to a later date upon a showing of mental or physical disability, illness, or the serious illness of a member of their immediate family; economic or domestic hardship, or other good cause.
The courts generally try to accommodate jurors as much as possible, and as such many jurors do not ask to be excused unless the excuse is urgent.
Can I Get Excused From Jury Duty Because I Work?
In Rhode Island, your employer is not allowed to penalize you for missing work for jury duty. Therefore, simply having a job isn't in itself enough to be excused from jury duty. However, some courts may excuse you if serving on a jury and missing work would cause undue hardship to either yourself or your employer.
Submitting A Jury Duty Excuse Letter
If you do not qualify for any of the Rhode Island statutory exemptions listed above but seriously think that attending jury selection would cause you undue hardship, you can always submit a jury duty excuse letter with your response to the summons, and ask to be excused. It will be at the discretion of the court that summoned you whether to accept or deny your excuse.
Remember - A Jury Selection Summons Doesn't Mean You'll Be On A Jury
Keep in mind that your initial jury duty summons is only for attending jury selection day, where it will be decided if you are to actually serve on a jury during the "Voir Dire" process. If you can't get out of attending jury selection, there are many ways to raise the odds that you will be excused after jury selection without being selected to serve on a jury.