Among the nations of the world, the United States uniquely places emphasis on the right to trial by a jury of our peers. Three of the amendments in the Bill of Rights protect jury trials. Each state’s constitution guarantees this vital right. Movies and books, from classics like Twelve Angry Men to modern stories like Runaway Jury, put the jury’s ability to protect the innocent and convict the guilty on center stage.

Jury duty is an opportunity to directly serve our community and is essential to maintaining and preserving the freedoms we cherish as United States citizens. To serve as a juror is to help ensure that our fellow citizens receive the protection—and when necessary, the penalty—of the law. Jury duty is also a good chance to demonstrate to our children how important the court system is in defending liberty and property.

However, the law recognizes that there are times in life when we simply cannot fulfill this civic duty. For those times, your state has enacted laws exempting citizens from serving on a jury.

1. In my state, can I be exempted from jury duty because I homeschool?