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Massachusetts Office of Jury Commissioner Regulation 9: Excusing Jurors from Juror Service for Reason of Extreme Hardship: Authority and Procedures

(Mass. Gen. L. ch.234A, §39)

[Disclaimer]

9.1 This regulation sets forth the authority of the Chief Justices of the Superior Court Department, the District Court Department, the Boston Municipal Court Department, the Juvenile Court Department, and the Housing Court Department (hereinafter, "the Chiefs") to excuse jurors from juror service upon a finding of extreme hardship and to defer, advance, or otherwise modify a term of juror service upon the finding of hardship. This regulation also sets forth the procedure used to excuse a juror from juror service and to defer, advance, or otherwise modify a term of juror service.

9.2 Massachusetts General Laws chapter 234A, §39 grants judges the authority to excuse jurors from juror service, in part or in full, upon a finding of extreme hardship. Judges are authorized to defer or advance or make certain modifications to any term of juror service upon a finding of hardship. Judges may exercise this authority any time before or during a juror's term of service.

9.3 The Chiefs are justices of a trial court of the Commonwealth. For purposes of this regulation, the Chiefs shall be vested with the authority granted to all judges set forth in Mass. Gen. L. ch. 234A, §39.

9.4 From time to time, the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) receives requests from prospective jurors who seek to be excused from juror service or have their juror service deferred, advanced or modified for compelling reasons that do not meet the criteria for disqualification set forth in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 234A. In some of these cases, appearing in court before a judge to seek to be excused from juror service would pose an extreme hardship for such prospective jurors.

9.5 In the interests of justice, the Jury Commissioner shall have the discretion to present such prospective jurors' requests for excuse, deferment, advancement or modification to one of the Chiefs or his or her designee for review and disposition. Any such designee must also be a judge of a trial court department. The presentation of such requests to one of the Chiefs or his or her designee may include such supporting or opposing documentation as the Jury Commissioner deems necessary.

9.6 The Chief or his or her designee may dispose of such requests by excusing the juror from juror service, deferring the juror's service date, advancing the juror's service date, modifying the juror's term of service in accordance with Mass. Gen. L. ch. 234A, §39, or denying the juror's request for excuse, deferment, advancement or modification.

9.7 The OJC shall communicate the disposition of each request to each prospective juror.

9.8 The denial of a prospective juror's request for excuse, deferment, advancement or modification shall not preclude the prospective juror from presenting the request to the court on the juror's day of juror service.

Amended January 30, 2013, effective March 1, 2013.