Seniors could get out of jury duty easier with new bill

Politics - Government

What excuse have you used to get out of jury duty? Well, one state lawmaker wants to make it easier for people 75 years or older to do just that. A bill would stop older people from jumping through hoops to get out of jury duty.

“It doesn’t preclude them if they want to serve on jury duty. They still can, it’s just they don’t have to go through the hoops to get out of jury duty,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Espanola.

Sen. Martinez said in his district, the commute to the courthouse could be a long distance for some and difficult when bad weather hits. Sen. Martinez said jury duty can be demanding and hopes this bill would make it easier on older people who cannot make the commitment.

As for the other side of the aisle, Senate Republican Minority Leader Stuart Ingle said he doesn’t see a problem with this bill.

“It will be interesting to see how it’s looked on at the judiciary committees and things like that,” said Sen. Ingle, R-Portales. “Lots of times, different factions want different ages of jurors there and the old expression of, ‘I’m judged by a group of my peers,’ and it will be interesting how it will be talked about how to pick juries.”

Right now, people 75 years or older can get out of jury duty if they file an affidavit requesting to be exempt.

The senators said it is important to practice their civic duty, but if they’re unable to, this bill would make it easier for them.

This bill will be heard in the Senate Public Affairs Committee, but no date has been set yet for the hearing.

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