Tag: exemptions

Jury Duty Part 2: Am I exempt from being a juror?

“There were eleven votes for ‘guilty.’ It’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.” – Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men

Jury service is a civil duty. Our system would collapse without the diligent individuals who respond and serve, but the law does provide exemptions and exceptions which may be utilized to be excused. Part 2 of this blog will explore those circumstances.

General Exemptions

Louisiana provides two general exemptions from jury service.

1 – Age. Persons seventy years of age or older shall be exempt from jury service and may decline to serve as jurors. La. Const. Ann. art. V, § 33. However, they are free to serve if otherwise qualified.

2 – Prior Service. The second, all “persons who have served as grand or petit jurors in criminal cases or as trial jurors in civil cases or in a central jury pool during a period of two years immediately preceding their selection for jury service.” La. Sup. Ct. R. 25.

No exemption is automatic. A prospective juror qualifying for one of the above exemptions must assert the exemption by contacting the appropriate jury commission.

Recognized Excuses

In criminal cases, a juror may be excused when such service “would result in undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.” C.Cr.P. art. 783

In civil cases, a juror may be excused when service would result in “undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.” However, these circumstances are limited to circumstances in which an individual would:

1. Be required to abandon a person under his or her personal care or supervision due to the impossibility of obtaining an appropriate substitute care giver during the period of participation in the jury pool or on the jury; or

2. Incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of the individual’s necessary daily living expenses or on those for whom he or she provides the principal means of support; or

3. Suffer physical hardship due to an existing illness or disease. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3042

With respect to both criminal and civil service, a request for excusal can be mailed to the issuing court and should include an explanation of circumstances. In most cases, the letter must also include supporting documentation, such as, “state income tax returns, medical statements from licensed physicians, proof of dependency or guardianship, and similar documents, which the judge finds to clearly support the request to be excused.” “Failure to provide documentation shall result in a denial of the request for a waiver.” La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3042

You should serve if you can but, if you need to be excused, questions regarding exemptions, excusals, and/or qualifications should be directed to the appropriate jury commissioner’s office.

The Rise of the Drones

Drones play an increasing role in modern life; all indications are that this role will increase, maybe to disturbing levels. The popularity and availability of drones have sky-rocketed in recent years. As with most new technologies, the development of the law to regulate this technology lags behind. To their credit, the DOT and FAA have been pro-active in developing regulations. This article will address some of these regulations and the expected development of future regulations.

Initially, the FAA prohibited the use of drones in the commercial industry. Gradually, the FAA granted exemptions to certain companies for the commercial use of drones. These exemptions permitted these companies to use drones for:

(i)                  the movie and video industry;

(ii)                real estate photography;

(iii)               agricultural monitoring;

(iv)              aerial surveying;

(v)                delivery of medical supplies in rural areas; and,

(vi)              inspecting flare stacks

Applying for exemptions can be costly and the outcome is not guaranteed. However with growing commercial demand, the FAA has gradually loosened its restrictions and granted more exemptions.

The FAA and DOT finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of drones which took effect in August 2016. These regulations are available at: http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf. The issuance of these regulations is projected to generate $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 jobs over the next ten years.

While these regulations are fairly comprehensive, they prohibit the use of drones beyond the line of sight of the operator over unprotected persons on the ground. Further, there are limitations on size and when drones can be flown. Based on these restrictions, plans to use drones for delivery services will likely have to wait. However, the FAA is permitting companies to apply for waivers, available if companies demonstrate that the proposed flight will be conducted safely. Even if a drone flight is permitted, air traffic control authorization is required if the flight is in controlled airspace. Requests for waivers and authorization must be applied for on the FAA’s online portal located at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

The FAA is trying to balance the benefits of drone use with its mission to protect public safety. The FAA also provides all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines and is set to issue new guidance to local and state governments on drone privacy concerns.

The White House announced that the FAA is currently working on developing regulations to permit the safe and beneficial use of drones over crowds. As part of this development, the FAA launched an Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team and a Drone Advisory Committee.

We expect the FAA to allow a more expansive use of drones in the years to come. Like it or not, the drones are here and are not going away; they are rising.