Monday, August 23, 2010

Failed by Technology

I've been summoned for jury duty for the month of October. Jury duty is something that someone has to do, but how about the people who have jobs that will pay them for doing their civic duty not pregnant, stay-at-home Mom's who have a whole lot planning to do on extremely short notice to line up child care and early morning transportation to child care.

Tonight I filled out the required juror qualification form. I decided to file the form online. I figured it would be quicker, easier, save me a couple cents and since I'd be asking to be excused I could then receive correspondence quickly through email.

I went to the website. Filled about the basic information. Clicked the required Save button. Filled out Questionnaire 1, clicked the Save button to be able to fill out Questionnaire 2, clicked Save. At this point the form was submitted and the dialog box reminds you not to send a duplicate paper copy to the court. At this point a new option appears that you can ask for your dates of service to be postponed.

I clicked on that. The page comes up with 3 drop down boxes. Reason for Postponement ( I chose the Caregiver-Child option), County of the Court you have been summoned to and, finally, a drop down box of months to choose for your postponement date (only 6 months from your original summons date).

There was no text box to submit an explanation. If I had filled out the paper copy I would have been required to submit a letter along with the juror qualification form where I could have outlined my situation and asked to be excused or at least have a long term postponement. I had no way of knowing that I would not be able to do this online. I fully expected to have the opportunity to write an explanation in a text box. In this instance it would have been better, by far, to do things the old fashioned way-- filled out the paper, put the stamp on the envelope, and wait for a return letter.

After a long deliberation, while staring in disbelief at the computer screen, and an after 10pm phone call to Chrissy that made her think something was horribly wrong, I decided to request to be postponed to April 2011. At that point I will havee 3 children, one under a year old. When I am summoned then, assuming they grant the postponement, I will fill out the PAPER form and write a letter.

Surely, the court has no grounds to deny the postponement when I chose one of their options for postponement. I'll believe it when I see it though.

1 comment:

chrissy said...

Even though I know I wasn't much help, I was so happy you called (after I realized what was happening)! I really do hope they give you the postponement. April will be much better.