Diabetes and Jury Duty

Just Joyce
By Just Joyce Latest Reply 2013-10-27 13:39:24 -0500
Started 2013-10-16 21:31:20 -0500

If you as a diabetic has had jury duty, I would like to know what the experience was for you. I ask because I have always managed to get out of it after hearing about the horrible experiences my friends have had here in Maryland. My doctor wouldn't give me a letter excusing me from jury duty.

One friend whose diabetic could not get her doctor to write and excuse for her even though her diabetes is out of control. At 9:00 am she was sent to a courtroom to possibly be chosed for a jury. When the judge asked if there was a reason anyone could not served, she told him she was diabetic, showed him her bracelet and asked if there were concessions for those who are diabetic chosen for the panel. She explained that she would not be able to sit on a jury panel unless she would be able to have a snack. He told her there was nothing he could do. She said by 10:30am she could feel her blood sugar dropping. By noon she was begining to feel really bad and needed to go to the bathroom. At 12:45 she was even worse. When the judge called a recess. She said at that point she could barely open he glucose tablets and another jurist helped her. She was able to go to lunch and return but was still feeling bad. She said the judge asked her how she was feeling. She said she told him that he knew what her problem was yet he did not excuse her and she thought that was wrong how he contributed to how she was feeling. She said for the afternoon court session he stopped every 30 minutes and gave her permission to have some candy if she needed it.

I had to go to court and had to be there at 1:00pm. One never knows what time a case is called. I had eaten breakfast. I ate lunch at 11:00 and left for court at 12:15. When my sister and I entered the courthouse and went through the scanner and had our purses checked. My sister was told to throw the candy she had in her purse for me into the trash. I explained that I am diabetic and would need the candy depending on how long it would take them to call the case. I asked for a supervisor who said that was the rule so in the trash went my candy. It was 4:45 when we left the courthouse. I didn't think I would make it to the car a block away. My sister had to go in Walgreens to get me something to eat.

I have jury duty at the end of the month. I called the courthouse and asked if they made concessions for diabetics and was told no. I immediately sent an email to my State Senator and two of the delegates last night. I got a response this afternoon. The delegate said he contacted the court and was told that they make concessions for diabetics because it is the law. I am calling them in the morning to find out what they tell me and will get the name of the person I speak to.

It terrifies me that I could be chosen for a jury because I don't want to have a low that is really bad. Every time I go to jury duty I get chosen for a trial. You can take lunch and snacks and they have a snack machine but you can only eat in the waiting room.

It would be interesting to know how you guys have handled this problem.

20 replies

msann 2013-10-22 19:58:15 -0500 Report

I was on grand jury 2 years ago judge talk to all of us they would give me breaks I did real good wish you luck!!!

dietcherry 2013-10-21 09:05:12 -0500 Report

I get slapped with the threat of jury duty every 2 years like clockwork! My county used to accept a Drs note stating that I was not an ideal candidate to serve. Now theyve decided that diabetics are deserving of suffering right along with the rest of the public and that old trick dont work!

The last couple of times I received jury notice, I called the Clerk of Courts office and informed the nice lady that my BG drops swiftly and without notice and therefore I couldnt possibly give the court case(s) the undivided attention to detail and focus they required on the very real chance that I may go Hypo and could potentially make a grave error in judgement as a result. Works like a charm.

On a side note, she did inform me that I would be permitted to discreetly check my BG in the jury box and leave the proceedings long enough to treat a low if warranted. Even though she agreed to excuse me, this information still gives me nightmares.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-25 21:53:10 -0500 Report

I got excused because of a fight at one trial. The defendant came in and the woman beside me said Oh My God I know her. At the time I was reading a book. The Judge, prosecuter and defense attorney were having a discussion at the bench that seemed to go on forever. I heard the woman repeat that she knew defendant and I ignored her. The next thing I hear the woman beside me say "mind your d**n business. I had no idea who she was talking to. I went back to reading. Then I hear the "N" word and it got ugly fast. There were two women sitting in front of us who were white. I had been talking to them in the jury room. The next thing I know I am called to the bench. The judge asked me what happened then tells me I can't say I don't know because I was sitting in the middle of it.

My Brain To Mouth Disorder (BTMD)kicked in and I said "with all due respect your honor, how dare you sit there and tell me what I can or cannot say". He said you were sitting there so I assume you know". Again BTMD kicked in and I said "Again no disrespect your honor but when you assume, you make and ass out of you and me". That went over well cause now he is totally done with me. I told him I was reading. I heard the woman beside me say she knew the woman. I went back to reading and she repeated it and I ignored her. The next thing I heard was her say mind your d**n business. Again I went back to reading. Then I hear her yelling who you calling a "N". Just like you, I have no idea what started it and since I wasn't involved, I really don't care who started it. He told me he could hold me for attempt of court. BTMD again and I said you can do as you see fit but remember you told me I couldn't say I didn't know then you assumed I would know what happened because or where I was sitting. As a judge you should know that you cannot coerce a witness by telling the witness, me, what I can or cannot
say when you asked me a direct question and you should know not to assume anything. He sent me home.

The last time I was there, this woman stood up in the jury room and excused herself to everyone as she walked down the aisle. She went over to the counter and talked to the clerks. The next thing we all heard was this woman yelling at the top of her lungs "As you can see I am a white woman. I hate every person in this room who is not white, I don't even like poor white people" I swear I think even the phones stopped ringing when she did that. It was hilarious. They made her sit down and told her she could not leave the building. A sheriff came in and searched her belongings. She was still sitting there after I was called to a court room and returned. A sheriff stayed in the room. Everyone was excused for the day and the sheriff escorted her out of the building. She walked over got in a car and kissed the man driving like nothing happened. Never a dull moment in this city no matter where you go.

Nick1962 2013-10-19 16:45:58 -0500 Report

In my area it depends on the case, federal or local, but in both cases you usually end up excused during the selection process - which you have to show up for - and can't get pre-exempted.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-19 21:29:25 -0500 Report

I missed my date and the make up date is Monday. Can't do Monday so I was told to wait for the letter to come and then get another date.

Nick1962 2013-10-21 09:26:05 -0500 Report

For federal here you get called for one trial, and if you get excused you can immediately leave so if not selected you can be out in an hour. For county they have a one day/one trial rule where you spend the whole day and can get called for any number of cases, but if not seated at the end of the day, you’re done for 2 years OR if you ARE seated, you’re there for the whole trial. Our county jury selection suite is pretty posh though.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-25 21:28:54 -0500 Report

Nick that is how ours is. The last time I got picked for a jury but I wasn't diabetic. It was a two day trial. Ours is a dump even though they upgraded with pleather sofas. Last time I was there, the sofa's were gone and replaced with chairs that have you aching in an hour.

Nick1962 2013-10-26 13:50:00 -0500 Report

Yeah, that's how our Federal courthouse is - metal chairs or wood church pews. For County we have a cafe', video game room with a pool table, big screen TV's, outdoor patio, business center, quiet room - the whole works.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-18 14:27:08 -0500 Report

Update, I missed my date so I just called and spoke extensively with the person answering the phone. They now have concessions for diabetics. All we have to do is inform the judge. I have to see how this will work.

Harlen 2013-10-18 07:45:08 -0500 Report

I know this is bad but after doing 15 stents that's more then I wish to do.
Now I hate every one and they are all guilty lol
They don't call on me any more lol

JoleneAL 2013-10-27 13:39:24 -0500 Report

I spent numerous years working in the judicial system and frankly, if the police arrested someone and the grand jury indicted them, then they are guilty in my book. I'm sick of the whole system. If I'm ever called for jury duty, that's what I'm going to tell them. If I have to sit all day, then so be it.

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time 2013-10-18 05:00:21 -0500 Report

Imagine the liability if something went very wrong with a diabetic!! That's crazy. They have to make concessions for you. They surely wouldn't keep a cancer patient from chemo or refuse an epipen to someone with allergies.
That's a ridiculous hassle and not necessary. I say wrote every letter you can and make a fuss. They'll give in or not call you. I have to eat about every 3 hours and check my sugar 5-8 times a day.
As a type 1 I feel like the general public doesn't understand the dangers of a low and that diabetes doesn't just mean you can't have a cupcake with frosting. I'm aggravated for you!!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-18 13:23:17 -0500 Report

One Step this city gets sued all the time. The problem is the training of the staff and the fact that a lot of diabetics won't speak up and out.

The first time I went to jury duty, it was a murder case in a neighboring community. We were called to the courtroom. When the judge asked why a person could not serve, an older woman stood up and said her son was murdered and she could not be fair or partial. The judge said she would not be excused. The defense chose her. She had a heart attack.

It seems that those in charge of these kinds of things don't understand or care to understand. What is even worse there are diabetics who think every diabetic is the same which isn't true.

GabbyPA 2013-10-17 15:29:10 -0500 Report

I have wondered this as well. I have served several times, but not as a diabetic. The last call in I was not chosen, but it did have me worried too.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-10-17 14:23:21 -0500 Report

Great question Joyce.
I haven't thought about it yet. So far no jury summons since I have been diagnosed and out of the hospital and moved twice.
I used to get a summons 2 to 3 times a year. Somehow my voter registration, my non driver's ID, and some other record were different, so the county court picked me often. Most times the case not settled before the morning I was to go. A few times it was just before I was ready to leave. There were times I was out in the truck with so long I got the notice out of the PO box long after the date to appear. Then I just had to go in and explain why I missed (again the case usually had been settles out of court). The two times I had to go in, we only watched part of the video about serving before the case was suddenly settled, so I went home.
Perhaps I had better spend sometime today and check out what the City and County of Denver rules are. We have lived at this address long enough and are registered voters one might come any day. Hubby had a Dr. note where we used to live, due to the seating at the court house aggravated his pain from his incomplete spinal cord injury. But do not know if that would be a qualifying condition here.
I hope the city and county website will have the info. I sense it would be like the gates of hell to go downtown and try to deal with the officials. Sometimes I miss my small town at least I was on a first name basis with a few of the former city mayors and administrators.
Hope some others give insight.

ShellyLargent 2013-10-17 11:01:59 -0500 Report

I've never had an issue with my doctor writing an excuse for me. I hate that here in Idaho, I have to do this every time I get a summons. I get one every 2 years…

Sorry to hear that it's such a hassle!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-17 12:19:51 -0500 Report

Shelly, when I was taking care of my mom, her doctor got me excused because I could not leave her alone all day. I mailed it with my summons and faxed a copy to the courts and was told if I didn't show up they would have a Sheriff come and arrest me. I told the woman who called me to send a sheriff. I then had to write a letter to her supervisor and enclose yet another copy of the summons and the doctors letter.

This is Baltimore City, nice place to visit but doing business with city employees is like opening the gates of hell.

kimfing 2013-10-16 21:46:08 -0500 Report

wow interesting. Isn't that discrimination? Good for u to cnoatct the government. Thank you!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-10-17 11:51:40 -0500 Report

Kim that is what I am working on. If necessary, I will go before our state legislation to get some rules changed. It helps that I personally know and have worked with my State Senator and Delegates. They also know that I am very good at holding them accountable when their interest appears to not be beneficial to the people they serve. I don't have a problem writing letters.

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