On Your Side: Doing Your Civic Duty

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, January 15, 2008

EVANS, Ga. --- Jury duty. Everyone gets called for it and few want to go. And if you don't have one of just a few excuses, you are required to serve.

What do you think can get you excused from jury duty?

Having to work? Nope.

Don't have transportation? No on that too.

What about having a bed-ridden parent you're taking care of? That's a no also.

In fact, your chances of getting out of jury duty? Two friends I call slim and none.

When it comes to caring for his mom, Tony Gancasz is all she's got.

"We're going into the 5th year with her being bed-ridden." he said while tending to her.

Day and night, he's taking care of her. Whatever she needs, he has to do it. And he can only slip away for a little bit at a time to run a few errands.

"Most times, i'm gone away is for shopping for groceries or medicines is 1 to 2 hours." he said.

Tony recently got something in the mail that could cause him to be away for longer, a jury duty summons. But he figured he wouldn't have to serve since he is the sole care-giver for his mom. That's not true.

"I was told that was not an adequate. It was not an excuse for getting out of jury duty." he said.

It may seem heartless, but it is the law.

There are really only around 6 reasons Georgia State Law allows for to be excused. One of which is for someone who is the sole caretaker of a child under 6. Essentially because a child can't take care of itself. But neither can a bed-ridden parent like Tony's mom. But that situation isn't on the books, so it doesn't count.

"The legislation doesn't have that in the code section that allows the clerk or the judge to just excuse for that reason." Columbia County Clerk of Court Cindy Mason said.

As of now, Tony will just have to come up with the several hundred dollars it will cost to have someone stay with his mom while he's doing his duty.

"I just can't figure out why this isn't a good reason." he said.

Here's the reasons allowed by Georgia State Law that you can be excused for jury duty for:

1) Being 70 years or older.
2) Having a child under the age of 6 that you are the sole caregiver for.
3) Being a home school teacher.
4) Being a full-time college or university student.
5) Being a member of the military who is stationed more than 50 miles away.
6) Being a spouse of a member of the military who is stationed more than 50 miles away.

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