jury duty for airline pilots


Well-Known Member
Knowing my luck, I'd probably be preparing for a trip when I'd receive that all-important letter: "You have been summoned for jury duty". As a U.S. citizen (over 18), you're required to serve at least once and are essentially allotted three attempts of jury duty service before a warrant is issued for your arrest.
If you're on reserve with any 121 sched. carrier and the length of either a civil or criminal case is unknown, what choices do you have? Neither the government nor the airline is particularly lenient.
Being a citizen of this wonderful country comes with it's responsibilities, jury duty is one of them. I've got a long time before I can call myself an airline pilot, but my geuss is that they have to respect the fact that "duty calls" every now and then and you have no choice but to comply.

Not sure how the airlines deal with this problem but I am positive they have a policy implemented that deals with jury duty, and the time implications that come with it.

Any of you all-mighty line pilots have insight??
I don't know about the 3 strikes and you're out thing, but I do know being a pilot got me out of a potential 4 week trial just last month. I explained that my company had only 2 pilots and that a 4 week absence would creat an inconveniance. I would think an airline with many available pilots could absorb an individual's absense a little easier. The judge dismissed me without a problem. Now I know it is a civic priveledge and responsability to serve our country's judicial system as a juror but I figure my pending Kuwait / Iraq tour gives my concious a little breathing room.
Uhhhh....not sure where you get the info about the arrest warrant, but I'd double check that.
When I got called for jury duty when I worked at Eagle I just took the summons into my supervisor, they removed me from all trips/reserve obligation with no questions asked. I can't remember if it was pay protected or not, I'd have to check my old contract, but since it was federal jury duty I was paid pretty well anyway, and got a $90 a night hotel stipend (even though at the hotel I used my airline discount and only actually paid $40).
By the way, the airline is REQUIRED by law to release you from work to do your civic duty on a jury. The only way to get out of it is to have your employer write a letter saying you are absolutly indespensible, and that your absence will be detrimental to the company. (My parents were self-employed small business owners, and they were the only employees, when my mom got called up for jury duty, my dad had to write such a letter, as the business literally could not function without her.)
For jury duty, you usually get the letter a good deal ahead of time (for me it was more than 2 months), so its not like you'd have to report the next day. As for warrants, I think that in a lot of areas if you don't show up without giving them a reason, they'll issue a bench warrant in your name. So, they won't try to find you unless it gets really slow someday... so you'd better be on a big trip at the time.
Your employer is obligated to let you go. However, if you really don't want to be on the jury, it is very easy to get out.

1. When given the chance, voice your opinions to the max. Talk alot.

2. The ringer is telling them straight out that you could not be impartial. The best example of this would be to (in a drunk driving case for example) say you couldn't be impartial because someone you know was somehow affected by a drunk driver. Don't lie, but using this example you could use anyone. A friend, family, friend of a friend.
A friend of mine got called when she was supposed to do a trip. She just called and told the scheduling people that she had been summoned.

The thing that sucked for her was that she had to go to the court by LAX, so she couldn't get away from the airport even though she got called for jury duty!
It's a good thing that you're given ample time to prepare for jury duty; the bottom line is that it's unwise to continually evade jury duty for any reason, be it financial hardship, unwillingness, or the like.

If I get it, I'll attend.

MQAAord, I'm glad American Eagle reprieved you of your duties while you attended. I don't know the implications if you're flying for a non-U.S. airline, though.
I dunno what it's like for pilots (I wish I did
) but my employer gives me paid time off for jury duty...which I did once. I know it doesn't have to be paid time, but I'm guessing employers legally have to let you out of work.

When I served, the judge exused me (with no questions asked) because it looked like the trial could go for weeks and I had a business trip scheduled in a few days.

In college I got a summons for jury duty over the summer when I was away, so I didn't show up. Like a year later I was talking to a lawyer that I work with about it, and he gave me his card and told me to stick it in my wallet in case I ever got pulled over for speeding or anything---because there could be a bench warrent out for my arrest. So I'm guessing they do regularly issue bench warrents if you don't show up.
I just looked it up in our Policy manual, and we are given paid time off for jury duty for days we miss a trip, up to 15 paid days. So let's say you have 15 days off in a month, and are working 16, then if the trial lasts the entire month you would get paid for 15 of the 16 days you were supposed to fly. That's the way I read it anyways.
Did you receive your jury summons by "Certified Mail"???? If not, you cannot be held responsible for not receiving the summons:) Get it? I know that judges like to talk tough on this one, but our jury duty summons look pretty much like all of those damn car sales forms and I just throw those things away in one big heep. Get it (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)?????

Seriously though, the courts could not afford to send jury duty notices by certified mail. Thus they depend on good hearted people (who don't know any better) to show up and deal with it.

If you were a suspect, victim, witness or the like your subpoena comes certified. Thus you must attend. Because there is physical record of your service. Otherwise they cannot prove that you got the notice. In court if it aint written down, it never happened........
In CO we are summoned three times. But that means you have to actually appear at court. The strange thing is, when you call the night before to see if the court is still going to be in session, if it gets postponed that does not count as one of your three appearances. Once you have sat in the court room and heard the required speech by the judge as to your responsibilities (typically takes all morning) then you are chosen at random to be called to be a juror. If you are dismissed after you take a seat, you have then served your duty, you are free to go and you won't stay in that pool of people to be called back. So, unless you are called up to jury stand you may be called back two more times to complete your third.

If you write a letter to the Judge before hand with a VERY valid reason why you cannot attend, and you called to the jury stand, typically you will be released, but this doesn't count as your jury duty, you will stay in the pool of people to be called upon.

Every employer in the United States must make concessions for its employees to serve Jury duty. Even if it is the most inconvient thing in the world, you will have to appear to be dismissed. You can however call early, once you are summoned, and tell them you will not be in town.

If you fail to appear and do not call ahead of time you will be held in contempt of court and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
In Arizona they try to do something like that and the media shows judges threatening all the time. However, they have no way to proove you ever got the summons unless it is sent by a processor or at the least, certified mail. If they cannot hold suspects accountable for non service, than they cannot hold Joe and Jane public accountable. However, the court counts on most people being fearful of some action and showing up. Some people even like the process. I am in court enough in my profession and to sit in the jury box is just not going to happen. Plus I would never be allowed to be a juror on a criminal trial (a bit of bias there). Civil maybe.... Actually a friend of mine got stuck on a six week civil trial.
Actually a friend of mine got stuck on a six week civil trial.

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When I was on a jury, the judge didn't threaten to hold us in contempt for lying during the selection process, he threatened that he'd make sure we got selected for a 6 week malpractice suit.
I'm probably one of the few people who actually wouldn't mind doing jury duty, but the only time I've ever been selected was a couple of weeks after I sold my FL house. I wasn't going to go down and pay for a hotel room for however long it was going to take, so I just told the county that I had moved.

I think that if you did get selected, you'd just need to notify scheduling. It would probably be treated like military leave.
Jury duty was pretty fun actually. But everyone kept telling me that "Oh, they don't like airline pilots because they're too analytical".

I think I was one of the first ones chosen.
Jury duty was pretty fun actually. But everyone kept telling me that "Oh, they don't like airline pilots because they're too analytical".

I think I was one of the first ones chosen.

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That's funny, I was told "they like college students because they're still able to go into thinking mode," and yeah, I was one of the first ones that they kept.
The one first time I was called for jury duty, I was selected and served on a jury for a civil matter involving two minors who got into a fight at the bus stop. Both ended up with either missing teeth or loose teeth.

The kids were actually friends again by the time the trial had started. It was the parents who were suing one another.

It was almost comical to watch. It got ugly between the "adults" while the two boys kept looking over at each other and laughing.

We decided 60/40 liability - which REALLY set off one of the dads.

Ahhh - good times, good times.

The worst part about jury duty is waiting to be selected. At least here in Tampa, that is. Very uncomfortable room with nothing to do... at all.
I've been removed from the criminal jury duty database because I used to work for a Police Department. Civil cases, on the hand, are something I have not been called for.

I really wish I could have been on the civil case when the jury awarded some idiot $1,000,000 more spilling coffee on her lap. There is no way in hell I would have allowed that person to become rich for being stupid.