Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) said he has introduced legislation that would exempt emergency services personnel from jury duty in an effort to not compromise public safety.
“I believe that our dedicated emergency services folks should be available at all times to respond to threats to public health and safety,” said Diamond. “Granted, jury duty is a public service, but the volunteer fire and emergency service technicians are charged with saving lives, many times in an immediate fashion. This exemption from jury service should become law so that we will have all of our first-responders ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
Diamond said a constituent who serves as a volunteer firefighter contacted him for help to be excused from jury duty as the work was in a small department, and would have a significant impact on that company’s ability to respond to emergencies. Despite a letter being sent from the chief of the department, the request was denied. He added that this excuse is not written into law.
“This bill is needed because it is a commonsense provision to aid in the protection of our communities,” said Diamond.
House Bill 1837 is awaiting committee assignment.
Although the notices sent to prospective Schuylkill County jurors do not mention it, people age 75 and older no longer have to serve on juries in Pennsylvania.
“If they’re 75 or older, all they have to do is say, ‘I request to be excused,’ ” Clerk of Courts Maria T. Casey said. “This (needs) a wider dissemination.”
Read more in the Republican Herald.
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