Jury duty is quite a controversial issue in North America. While a 2017 Pew Research poll claimed that over two-thirds of Americans viewed the practice as “part of what it means to be a good citizen,” just over 60% of those by YouGov saw the year In 2018, Americans surveyed juries as “very good” or “fairly effective” in achieving their stated goals.
Additionally, according to YouGov, 7% of Americans say they lied to avoid jury duty. Lying to avoid jury duty has become a cliche in the media. The TV Tropes website documents numerous TV shows and films in which characters make a point of lying or deceiving officials to try to escape a jury.
However, in both the United States and Canada, there are many legitimate reasons one might attempt to evade jury duty. They may feel they have a conflict of interest, they work in areas that are off-limits to jury work, or they simply know that letting a jury do the work would put too much strain on them both financially and personally bring in practice.
A woman on TikTok recently went viral for her attempt to break free from jury duty in Ontario, Canada.
User Kayla (@kittykatkayla69) later commented that she knew she wouldn’t be selected (she said, “I’m paid hourly and can’t afford to take more than a day off work” and “I couldn’t keep my mouth shut”). She said this was just a bit of a joke and that her jury subpoena was actually canceled before she arrived. Still, the video sparked an outburst of discourse on the platform, with many weighing the pros and cons of getting involved in what many believe to be a civic duty.
@kittykatkayla69 I WAS THERE 2 MINUTES BUT civic duty ✅✅✅✅ #amberheard #johnnydepp #court #juryduty #gains ♬ Original sound – KittyKatKayla69
In her video, Kayla wears a cat shirt, “paw mitts” and a Patrick Star hat. From there, she documents her journey from home to the courtroom, where she is released because “jury duty is actually eliminated.”
Kayla’s video joins a slew of other viral videos documenting similar attempts to evade jury duty.
In 2021, TikTok user Mia similarly went viral after showing off her crazy duty outfit in front of the jury, which she wore to try and avoid being selected.
listen below how you think I should talk myself out of jury duty 🥰
♬ Dear Katara – L.Dre
While these videos are fun, it’s more than likely that wearing a ridiculous outfit won’t get you released from jury duty.
When a similar topic was discussed on the Quora website, several lawyers and legal professionals jumped into the discussion to share why a judge wouldn’t be fooled by a silly t-shirt or bright pink hat.
“Judges tend to be bright enough and experienced enough to understand and recognize when someone is engaging in deception,” wrote attorney Paul Dezso deHolczer. “Judges have heard every story you’ve ever thought of, and some haven’t… You probably won’t surprise a judge, but if you do, you won’t put a judge out of his game for very long or to such an extent that.” he loses sight of the ball and the score. Judges have counter-movements for tricks like that.”
Other attorneys agreed.
“…Judges weren’t born yesterday: you’re not the only person unhappy about being called to jury duty or wanting to tell a big story about why they can’t serve, and judges have heard every excuse in the book ,” attorney Ty Doyle wrote. “In fact, most people are probably itching to go home, and as a lawyer, I would be more concerned for the people who really want to serve on a jury than for those who would rather make money or spend time with their families.” , Etc.”
Doyle then continued, writing, “The reality is that in a jury pool of about 50 people, there are usually two or three people that are actually crazy, and you can’t fake that crazy. The non-crazy people who really, really don’t want to be on a jury generally don’t get selected (why would a lawyer risk having an angry/sulky jury for his/her client?), so you better off, just to be honest about why you choose not to serve…”
Some TikTok commenters under Kayla’s video agreed.
“The staff does not select the jury. Crown and defense picks based on private interview questions,” shared one user. “Clothes don’t matter, it’s all based on your social values and views of not having a headstrong person.”
Despite this, users on TikTok used Kayla’s comments section as a place to express their feelings about the practice.
“People can’t have a right to a fair jury trial if they don’t have a jury… please do your civic duty as a citizen,” one commenter shared. “You would want them to show up for you.”
“I’ve waited my whole life to be on the jury,” added another.
Some took the opposite view, saying they understood Kayla’s move since jury duty is emotionally draining and often underpaid.
“They don’t pay enough for the jury,” wrote one commenter. In Ontario, according to CBC, jurors make anywhere from nothing to $100 a day, depending on the length of the trial.
We reached out to Kayla via TikTok comment.
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*Initial publication: June 9, 2022 at 8:14 am CDT
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/woman-tries-to-get-out-of-jury-duty-debate/ A woman tries to wear an outfit to avoid jury duty, sparking debate