Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Saturday, October 23, 1999

How can I get
off jury duty? Age,
business, illness, child ...

Question: I was called to do jury duty. But I work 12-14 hours a day every day to keep my business going. I am also 75 years old. Last year, I was excused from state jury duty after explaining my situation. This year, I explained my situation again, but was sent a letter saying my reasons were nonexcusable and that I would have to ask the judge to excuse me. What are the hardships that would allow someone to be excused from jury duty? Is there an age limit?

Answer: There is no age limit to serving on a state court jury, said jury clerk supervisor Freida Baker.

She also said her office can excuse people from serving only if they prove they have been operating a business for three years or less; for medical reasons, with a doctor's note; or in the case of a mother caring for a young child.

"Any other kinds of requests (to not serve) would have to be done through the courts by a judge," Baker said.

However, she was puzzled by your statement that you had been excused last year.

People summoned to jury duty in 1998 wouldn't be called back in 1999, unless they were deferred by a judge last year, Baker said.

Normally, "We try to match Social Security numbers for all the people who received notices last year so we don't include them this year," she said.

However, a mistake in the numbers somewhere along the line could account for the premature call-back, she said.

That all said, you can be excused from serving on a federal jury if you are over the age of 70, said U.S. District Court jury clerk Cynthia Aranador.

You wouldn't automatically be excused and would have to request such a ruling from the clerk's office, she said.

Other reasons that could get you off a federal jury without going to court: if you served on a federal or state jury within the past two years; if you are a practicing physician or dentist; or if you are a volunteer firefighter or volunteer member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for federal, state or local government.

All other reasons must be assessed and decided by a judge, Aranador said.

Q: Is it legal to use state conservation land for personal use? There is a resident on Kanapuu Drive in Kailua growing all kinds of things outside his property line.

A: We passed on the address to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement division. An inspector found no violation "as far as the state is concerned."

What he did find was a buffer zone ranging from 50 to 125 feet between the private property and state conservation land.

If you have any such concerns in the future, call DLNR's Conservation and Resources Enforcement Division, 587-0068.

Q: What organizations can I contribute to besides the Hawaiian Humane Society? I hear there are a few no-kill animal shelters around. Do you know their names and addresses?

A: The only one we have a contact number for is the non-profit Sylvester Foundation (259-0064), founded by Candy Meunier.

There were stories two years ago about the Hawaii Cat Foundation and K-9 Rescue League, but we couldn't find any current listing for them.

If anyone connected with such groups would like to share any information, call Kokua Line at 525-8686.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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