Imagine, if you will, that you just got a jury duty summons in the mail that you have to attend. We can probably guess what you're thinking.
"Oh crap, not jury duty! Now I gotta stop my whole day just to show up in a courtroom and sit through tedious legal proceedings to see whether or not I have to further dedicate hours of my life to a court case that could be days if not weeks of my time. Gee, I hope I can get out of it."
Admittedly, it's a pretty natural response to a jury duty summons. On any given day, there are other things you'd rather be doing, but jury duty can sneak up on you in an unfriendly way to really throw a wrench in your plans.
But while your first instinct might be to try and avoid it altogether, attorney Reb Masel strongly advises that you don't try to get out of jury duty. What's more, she makes a pretty compelling argument. She presents her case to the court of public opinion on TikTok.
This attorney on Tiktok advises folks to not get out of jury duty.
As a professional attorney, Reb is used to offering legal advice and pursuing justice for all sorts of people. In late July 2023, however, she provided a different kind of advice for folks contending with jury duty responsibilities.
She lays it out plain and simple in her four-minute TikTok.
"This is going to sound controversial, but I don't really care at this point," she begins. "If you are called for jury duty and you do not have a legitimate reason for getting out of it and you also happen to be a sane, rational person capable of making objective decisions, do you mind not trying to get out of it?"
Now, before you go into angry response mode in her comments section, Reb does make a few interesting points. She claims that she's not asking for people to stay on for weeks-long or months-long murder trials, but for smaller and shorter cases, which she calls more common. More specifically, Reb is more concerned about civil trials.
She cites cases in which clients were injured due to company negligence as well as cases involving people of color of all ages. Reb argues that a fair and diverse jury can make all the difference with underprivileged folks getting the justice they deserve.
Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to get many of those when people try to get out of jury duty.
In her experience as an attorney, she's noticed that most juries are comprised of older white boomers of higher income who are unable and unwilling to understand the plights of the plaintiffs. If more people of different backgrounds were willing to serve on juries, then folks in civil trials may actually stand a chance against the privileged.
As you might have guessed, the comments section of Reb's TikTok is starkly divided.
One person who agreed with her sentiment said that they'd be willing to do so if employers paid their staff in full while on jury duty instead of the $40 per day that jurors are offered for the duration of the case.
"Lots of people can't afford to take two or three or 4+ days off," they stated.
Another person wrote, "This is a wild thing to ask when people aren't being paid reasonably for their time."
But while Reb certainly doesn't condemn anyone who hasn't served on a jury and even recognizes that it can be impossible for people financially to fulfill these duties, she stands by her plea for more people to serve as jurors to represent the underprivileged.
"It would be nice if some of you rational capable people could maybe try to stop the whole 'haha funny laugh how do we get out of jury duty' BS."
Something to think about the next time any of us turn up our noses at our next summons.