Excuse from jury service undermines the important purpose of providing jurors who represent a fair cross section of the citizens of the State and casts a direct and unfair burden on other citizens selected for service. For those reasons, Sec. 8-402 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Annotated Code of Maryland provides in part:
To be excused, an individual shall show, on a juror questionnaire, during an interview, or by other competent evidence, that extreme inconvenience, public necessity, or undue hardship requires excusal.
An individual may be excused:
- Only for the period that the jury judge or jury commissioner considers necessary; and
- Not more than twice unless the jury judge finds that the individual has shown an extraordinary circumstance that requires an additional excuse.
When the period set under this subsection expires, a jury commissioner again shall summon the individual for jury service.
Requests for complete excusal from jury service, or postponement to a later time must be in writing and, as required by law, are granted only in the most extreme circumstances.
Throughout the term, the Jury Judge and/or the Jury Commissioner will attempt to be as accommodating as possible with the schedules of each individual juror. However, they must meet the needs of the court as well. Jurors may be excused for medical appointments, illnesses, important business or personal appointments, vacations, etc.
All excuse requests must be in writing and mailed with the Juror Qualification Form within 10 days of receipt of the summons. Please note that requests to be excused on medical grounds must be accompanied by a doctor's note. Written notification confirming or denying the request will be sent to the juror.
For emergencies, the juror should call the Jury Office at 301-952-4385
The court determines how many potential jurors are needed to make an appropriate selection pool in each individual jury trial and only notifies that amount to appear. Therefore, it may be impossible to grant any last minute requests to be excused. Again, do not wait until scheduled to appear to present your conflict. You must notify the Jury Office as soon as the potential for conflict exists.