Looking for some realistic legal advice (or supportive and/or cooler heads) regarding jury duty here in the State of Texas. To be specific; I fully understand and respect that it's my civil duty to serve the community as a juror. This is not the issue - it all comes down to what is right and what is not.
Basically; I was summoned to jury duty on Wed of this month. (IE 3/27/2019) with less than a month's notice. To that end; I followed the "online juror" system where it asked a bunch of questions seemingly randomly selecting me to serve on the 450th District Court on the 8th of April. I was fine with this... and had no concerns.
This changed today when I got the week in advanced reminder about serving today at 6pm. That when I sent a very strongly worded email back to the travis county jury account stating that I wouldn't be reporting for jury duty. Let me explain.
The form email to me today stated the following (I'll trim it down to only relevant portions):
VERY IMPORTANT: Please confirm receipt of your assignment by replying to this email stating your full name.
Thank you for completing the summons response. Unless otherwise instructed, you must report for jury duty service on the anticipated report date/time listed above. Failing to report may result in the court issuing a Show Cause Order requiring you to appear in court to explain your reason for your failure to report for jury duty service.
2. Reserved juror parking is not available. You are encouraged to use public transportation (CapMetro http://capmetro.org/) or other available means of transportation. Please keep in mind that the courts are not able to validate or reimburse you for parking garage tickets (any parking garage) or reimburse towing costs, so if you park at a garage or in a space subject to towing, any fees incurred will be your responsibility.
If you use metered parking around the courthouse on the first day of your jury selection, please follow the instructions on the meter. Here is the link for where the meters are located in downtown Austin: https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Transportation/Parking/meter_areas_042015.pdf
If you receive a parking citation with the stated violation of “Expired Meter” or “Expired Pay Station,” it can be dismissed by the City of Austin if you turn it in to the bailiff of the court you are assigned to or, send a picture of the parking citation and email to the jury office at: [email protected] along with your contact information. Please submit within 5 days to avoid a late notice by the City of Austin.
Very Important! If you receive a parking citation for any other violation other than “Expired Meter” or “Expired Pay Station” you are personally responsible for paying that ticket.
This is what ended it for me.
1) Let's just state for the record right now; that my day-time employeer has no issues allowing me to serve. It's not even a concern. They will continue to pay me my salary while I serve.
2) I'm not in financial stress. I can afford to pay for parking... if it was something I needed to do. IE If it was a pinball festival... or some other recreational activity I wanted to do.
This is how I responded to that email at 6:43pm tonight:
I will not be reporting due to this email.
As a Citizen of the United States; I expect there to be no financial hardship incurred because of this civil duty.
The fact that the state ( or County) government refuses to pay for parking or provide reserved parking for Jurors indicates you really don’t understand your responsibilities. My tax dollars should go to this; the fact that it doesn’t indicates a broken system.
I won’t be paying for my own parking or taking the inconvenient and expensive public transportation.
and "signed" with my full name.
The fact of the matter is I'm funking pissed about the balls on our government... thinking they can dictate to me how *I* choose to spend my money. I pay my damn taxes... I support my community thru those takes and proudly exercise my right to vote.
What makes ZERO sense to me is how the hell the state government thinks it's their right to trample my liberties and "tax" me additionally for the "privileged" for "serving" as a juror. I know those are a lot of big words which really shouldn't be used to describe this situation... but I'm really angry at the audacity of the government.
No. I don't think this is the end of it; and no... I'm sure they'll may some bullsh1t threat to me that I really don't have a choice. But; really?! Ummm… I'm pretty sure the constitution doesn't say they have this right.
I'm sure at some point early next week I'll get an email from them. And/or I'll be forced to call them on the telephone to "discuss" this matter... but really; I'm "done" with this. If they want to issue a "Show Cause Order" - that's fine. This is just something I feel very strongly about.
So; what would you do? Yes, I know that 99% of other people would say it's far cheaper to pay for parking than to have to hire a lawyer to go against the state for contempt of court charges or whatever... but damnit... really? If I don't standup for what is right; who will?