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Jury duty is somewhat of a controversial topic in North America. While a 2017 Pew Research poll claimed that over two-thirds of Americans saw the practice as “part of what it means to be a good citizen,” only just over 60% of Americans polled by YouGov in 2018 saw jury trials as “‘very’ or ‘somewhat effective’” in reaching their stated goals.
Furthermore, 7% of Americans claim that they have lied to get out of jury duty, per YouGov. Lying to get out of jury duty has become something of a cliché in media, with website TV Tropes documenting numerous TV shows and movies in which characters make a point of lying or misleading officials to try to get out of being put on a jury.
That said, in both the U.S. and Canada, there are many legitimate reasons why one may attempt to avoid jury duty. They may believe they will have a conflict of interest, they may work in fields forbidden from serving on a jury, or they may simply know that leaving work to be on a jury will put too much of a financial and personal strain on them to adequately engage in the practice.
A woman on TikTok recently went viral for her attempt to get out of jury duty in Ontario, Canada.
User Kayla (@kittykatkayla69) later noted in a comment she knew she would not be selected (she said “I’m paid hourly and cannot afford to take off more than 1 day from work” and “I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut”). She said this was simply a bit of fun and that her jury summons was actually canceled before her arrival. However, the video still caused an eruption of discourse on the platform, with many weighing the pros and cons of engaging in what many believe to be a civic duty.
@kittykatkayla69 I WAS THERE FOR 2 MINS BUT Civic duty ✅✅✅✅ #amberheard #johnnydepp #court #juryduty #gains ♬ original sound – KittyKatKayla69
In her video, Kayla is wearing a cat shirt, “paw mitts,” and a Patrick Star hat. From there, she documents her journey from home to court office, where she is dismissed as “jury duty is actually cancelled.”
Kayla’s video joins a slew of other viral videos documenting similar attempts to get out of jury duty.
In 2021, TikTok user Mia went similarly viral after showing her wacky pre-jury duty outfit, which she stated she wore as an attempt to not be selected.
sound off below with how you think i should con my way out of jury duty 🥰♬ dear katara – L.Dre
While these videos are fun, it is more than likely that wearing a ridiculous outfit will not get one dismissed from jury duty.
When a similar topic was discussed on the site Quora, several lawyers and legal professionals jumped into the discussion to share why a judge won’t be fooled by a silly T-shirt or bright pink hat.
“Judges are usually bright enough and experienced enough to understand and realize when someone is engaging in subterfuge,” lawyer Paul Dezso deHolczer wrote. “Judges have heard every story you have ever thought of and some you haven’t…You are unlikely to surprise a judge but, if you do, you will not throw a judge off his or her game for very long or to such an extent that he or she loses sight of the ball and the score. Judges have countering moves for tricks such as these.”
Other lawyers agreed.
“…Judges weren’t born yesterday: you’re not the only person who’s unhappy about being called for jury duty or who wants to tell a tall tale about why they can’t serve, and judges have heard every excuse in the book,” lawyer Ty Doyle wrote. “In fact, most people are likely itching to go home, and as an attorney, I’d be more concerned about the people who really want to serve on a jury than those who’d rather be making money or spending time with their families, etc.”
Doyle then continued, writing, “The reality is that in a jury pool of ~50 people, there will usually be two or three folks who are actually crazy, and you can’t fake that kind of crazy. The non-crazy people who really, really don’t want to be on a jury generally aren’t selected (why would a lawyer run the risk of having an angry/pouting juror for his/her client?), so you’re better off just being honest about why you’d prefer not to serve…”
Some TikTok commenters under Kayla’s video concurred.
“Staff does not pick jury in ont. crown and defence pick based on interview questions in private,” a user shared. “clothes does not matter what so ever, it’s all based on your social values and views to have a non opinionated person.”
Despite this, users on TikTok used Kayla’s comments section as a place to express their feelings on the practice.
“Ppl can’t have the right to a fair jury trial if u don’t have the jury… pls do ur civic duty as a citizen,” a commenter shared. “You would want them to show up for you.”
“I been waiting my whole life to be on the jury,” another added.
Some took the opposing view, saying they understood Kayla’s move as jury duty is emotionally taxing and, frequently, underpaid.
“They don’t pay enough for jury duty,” a commenter wrote. In Ontario, jurors make anywhere from nothing to $100 per day depending on the length of the trial, per the CBC.
We’ve reached out to Kayla via TikTok comment.Source: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/woman-tries-to-get-out-of-jury-duty-debate/