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Say that I spend a few years traveling the world, visiting Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.. Then I come back to my home in the California to find missed several Jury Duty summons in the mail.

Am I liable for missing all that Jury Duty and not responding to any of it? What is one supposed to do if they want to take an extended trip somewhere? Or is one basically not allowed to take such trips if they are a US citizen eligible for Jury Duty?

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    how does a 'trip' last for 'a few years' ? are you, say, a permanent resident of japan and are studying there? or are you really on what a 3 year vacation? is there such a thing for non-retired people?
    – BCLC
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:33
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    @BCLC I purposefully didn't give a reason. It could be for work, visiting family, vacation, any number of reasons. But I'm not sure if any of those reasons are pertinent to the question. The point is that one is out of the country for an extended period of time. Maybe visiting a bunch of sites around the world, from europe to asia to africa, etc..
    – chausies
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:53
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    "stay there for a few years" implies you need a residency visa for Japan...
    – Trish
    Jan 20, 2023 at 20:29
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    Many moons ago, shortly after graduating in the US and moving to Europe for a while, I got a jury summons. A friend forwarded it to me, I filled in that I had moved, and that was that. To some extent, it is presumed that you deal with mail forwarding or have somebody take care of it. But, you have the proof that you were out of the country.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 20, 2023 at 20:30
  • @Trish I updated the example to be "traveling the world". Now one doesn't have to be a permanent resident. They're simply flying from country to country, staying not overly long in each one.
    – chausies
    Jan 20, 2023 at 21:27

2 Answers 2

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What is one supposed to do if they want to take an extended trip somewhere? Or is one basically not allowed to take such trips if they are a US citizen eligible for Jury Duty?

In the US you are not required to seek permission to travel, or prove your past whereabouts to the government if you happen to miss some civic duty. They generally call up way more people than they need for this sort of reason.

The length of time you are gone or where you choose to travel is irrelevant. In my experience you are given about a month heads up. If you didn't receive the notice until you returned from out of town, and they send a follow up, simply inform them of the fact that you were gone and didn't receive the notice until you returned.

Jury duty is an obligation to some extent, but it is also a right and a privilege. It isn't a criminal offence you are liable for if you didn't get the notice. If it were that important to verify your availability ahead of time the notification would be sent registered mail with a signature required.

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  • I mean you sort of have to ask permission to travel to the country you want to visit. Although I know that is not what you meant.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 21, 2023 at 8:48
  • @NeilMeyer, correct that’s not what I meant, and also not true in many cases. Jan 21, 2023 at 15:46
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Under 28 USC 1866

(g) Any person summoned for jury service who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the district court to appear forthwith and show cause for failure to comply with the summons. Any person who fails to show good cause for noncompliance with a summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.

There are certain statutory requirements disqualifying a prospective juror, such as being unable to speak English, not being a citizen, of having a conviction or pending felony charge, otherwise you are at the mercy of the court, and may vary from federal court district to district. Typically, however, you just need to explain the hardship that jury duty would pose.

In California, failure to appear for a state jury summons is treated as contempt of court, for which you can also be punished. However, disobedience would have to be willful, not just negligent. California follows a "two strikes" policy, meaning that after you miss the first obligation, they send a more strongly worded second notice.

There is no real likelihood that you will be prosecuted if you don't receive and respond to the jury summons, as long as you were not willfully ignoring the summons. When people leave the country for a long period, they typically leave someone "in charge" to take care of details (property taxes etc.). If you failed to give your assistant an instruction regarding jury summonses, or if they willfully tossed the notice, you would not be held criminally or civilly liable.

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    So being in Cambodia when the trial was happening would probably be "good cause" for missing jury duty.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 21, 2023 at 8:45

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