Potential jurors are on call for 3 months
: I was called for federal jury duty on the Pali Golf Course murders, but then it got canceled. I was told to call back Feb. 14, to find out if I had to report for duty the next day. I called back even though we knew the defendants had pleaded guilty. Then they told me I have to call back on the night of March 10. I'm 63 years old and the sole breadwinner in my house. I have a job as a hospice nurse, and because I don't know if I'm going to have to serve on a jury or not, I have to make arrangements in advance to have someone else take care of my patients. So far I have had to take two days off work and will have to do it again next Tuesday. How many times do I have to call in to find out if I have to serve on a jury?
Answer: When you were selected, you should have been informed that you would be on call for three months.
However, realizing that continual postponement could be a burden, "we try not to" postpone a juror's case for more than two or three times, at most, said Cynthia Aranador, U.S. District Court jury clerk.
Technically, a juror could be called several times during that three-month period, "but we don't want to inconvenience them that many times" if there are delays or postponements, she said.
In your situation, because you are the sole breadwinner, you could try to be dismissed as a hardship case, Aranador said.
You would have to write a letter to the judge, who would then decide whether you should be dismissed. Call 541-3115 for information.
Q: I have $75 in gift certificates from A Taste of New York restaurant in Kaimuki. My wife and I went there on Feb. 21 after a three-week vacation and found it was closed. I do not recall any mention of their closing and/or refunding any certificates they issued. How do I get my $75 back?
A: You should file a complaint with the state Office of Consumer Protection. Call 587-3222 or file a complaint online at hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/ocp.
The restaurant's Web site says it "closed 2/08."
Depending on the situation, OCP might get involved on your behalf. But whether you get your money back is another matter.
Last year, OCP filed suit against the owners of L'Uraku Restaurant, alleging they violated the state's gift certificate law by selling gift certificates with expiration dates of less than two years; selling certificates to customers up to the date of its closure, without disclosing it was going to close; and refusing to provide refunds.
At that time, Stephen Levins, executive director of OCP, said, "If a company closes, it still has an obligation to its patrons. It's just not fair for a business to tell its customers who purchased gift certificates that they are out of luck."
Since then, OCP obtained a judgment against Chikara Yanagiya and World Hawaii Inc., which did business as L'Uraku.
Yanagiya was ordered to pay restitution, ranging from $25 to more than $1,000 in one case, to 140 customers, Levins said. He also was assessed more than $60,000 in penalties.
However, OCP has not yet been able to collect any money because Yanagiya apparently has left Hawaii, Levins said.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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