Thursday, 10:24 AM
Jury duty excuses can now be filed -- and rejected -- online
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Students whining about a heavy course load, doctors who are just too busy, and people feigning prejudice can now go online to file their best excuses to try to get out of jury duty.
Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to allow prospective jurors to respond to a summons on the Internet via the court system's new interactive website, www.MassJury.com. With a few clicks of a mouse, people can confirm or postpone their jury service, request a hardship transfer, or give their best excuse in the hopes of being disqualified.
"They now have a new avenue for trying to persuade us that they don't have to show up for jury duty," said Jury Commissioner Pamela J. Wood.
By entering a unique access code on the website, jurors can also get directions to the courthouse, complete the mandatory demographic survey, and fill-in their confidential questionnaire. Officials anticipate that the website will save money on return postage and printing costs.
While the website may make it easier to give excuses, that doesn't mean more people will be getting out of jury duty.
"We are no less likely to approve their disqualifications over the Internet than any other way," Wood said.
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