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New York State (USA) here. I work full time and my wife is a full-time stay at home mom and caretaker for our two children (ages 4 and 6).

My wife received a Jury Duty summons and is expected to show to court tomorrow for jury duty. I am taking the day off work tomorrow to be at home with our kids, but she absolutely can not perform jury duty because she is the sole day-to-day caretaker for them while I work.

What are our options as far as getting her excused from this? They can't just expect a mother to leave her small children abandoned while she performs jury duty, so I imagine there are ways to get her exempt...

  • Tell your wife to learn about jury nullification. Most prosecutors will use their peremptory strikes against such jurors. – Viktor May 1 at 22:45
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She can ask, but she does not have a right to be excused

New York law for jurors does not have an automatic right to be excused because of familial care needs. There is a right to be excused for medical or financial hardship - which you might be able to argue here if, for example, you were at risk of losing your job.

There is also a right for automatic postponement of 2 to 6 months (to allow you to arrange care, for example) but you have to request this a week in advance.

Unfortunately, as they say on their website: "Jury duty, like paying taxes, is mandatory."

That said, judges have discretion to excuse jurors and normal practice is for the judge to state the estimated length of the trial and ask for reasons why a juror cannot serve. If they satisfy the judge the juror will be excused.

  • Ridiculous! If I was oversees, what would she do with our children?! Leave them outside the court room all day long?! – hotmeatballsoup Apr 29 at 10:59
  • @hotmeatballsoup While I'm inclined to agree on a personal level, laws are not meant to be non-ridiculous. It's a good thing if they are, but that's not their purpose. – Arthur Apr 29 at 12:24
  • Please don’t yell at me - take it up with your state legislators – Dale M Apr 29 at 12:31
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    @Josef maybe - the judge gets to decide that – Dale M Apr 29 at 12:39
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    It's probably a good idea then to take your kids with you. If anyone at the court asks you to abandon your kids in order to do the jury duty then you should ask them to watch your kids for you while you do 'your duty' – mark b Apr 29 at 15:37

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