By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento man is saying no to jury duty after being summoned to show up in a courtroom during the pandemic.

Steve Hirschauer, 65, said he’s worried for his own health and said he shouldn’t be forced to be in a position to break the law

At his age, he said he was told to stay home and avoid crowds.

“We just do all the right things and then we’re asked to come and do this,” Hirschauer said.

He received his summons last week.

“I just didn’t feel it was right during this COVID-19,” he said.

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Now he doesn’t want to put himself at risk. As thousands of prisoners are walking free for early release because of COVID-19, Hirschauer said it’s not fair the health of prisoners is being considered, but not his own.

“Early releases because of COVID, it just doesn’t seem right,” he said.

Like each of California’s 58 trial courts, operations at courts in Sacramento abruptly stopped in March because of the coronavirus.

Thousands of cases were delayed, but now jury trials are back up and running and with major safety changes including temperature checks at the door, a mandatory mask policy, and social distancing inside.

But those changes are still not enough for Hirschauer

“I just don’t quite feel safe,” he said.

Hirschauer said he’s not going to show up, which is normally against the law.

“It’s not a good idea to just not show up,” said John Myers, a law professor at the McGeorge School of Law.

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Myers said you could technically get arrested, even now, although that’s not likely.

“If you don’t appear, you can get another summons and you can be hauled in front of a judge and the judge will give you a good lecture,” Myers said.

Instead, the professor said if you don’t want to enter a courthouse, ask the jury commissioner for a postponement.

Courts are allowing you to postpone because of the pandemic, but it varies by county.

In Sacramento, summoned jurors are allowed to put off service for up to 90 days.

“The jury trial will be the last piece of a return to normalcy,” Myers said.

Marissa Perlman

Comments (3)
  1. Rx Wynne says:

    Funny how the antimaskers feel violated by the mask order, but I don’t hear much about the fact that the citizenry is not allowed to “just say NO” to jury duty. No means no, but not when the citizenry is owned and subject to tyranny. In short, the mask order, which is in the interest of every one of us and is easy, is not a violation or aggressive assault on us. Being threatened with a jury summons, on the other hand, is a primary way to know that we are not at all free and instead owned. Freedom means that not only does a citizen have the absolute right not to enter a courtroom to attend voir dire or jury duty, but he can refuse any involvement with that system with no explanation at all needed. And of course I am referring to those summonsed who are everyday people, not criminals, simply living their lives the best they can.

    1. Baba Loo says:

      Thought provoking. I had accepted it like everybody else, but it IS forcing one to do something involuntarily. It was the forcing everyone to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance that really upset me years ago in judge Jaques (“Jax”) court in Roseville years ago. I stayed seated, a little in shock, but I was too far back for him to see. I WISHED I had been in the front. If he’s still there I might go back to do it over. I’d gladly be arrested just to expose that nonsense.

  2. Rx Wynne says:

    I remember in grade school, reciiting the pledge of allegiance was refused by the Jehovah’s Witnesses since they have allegiance toward God and not a piece of cloth/idol. I didn’t want to get into *reasons*, since we should need no reason whatsoever to avoid violation of such high order by abusive judges, but the oath originally done with the hand on a bible is against what it says within the very bible. Therefore that is sacrilege, and pushing beyond that to offer the summonsed to instead “affirm” telling the truth when that is the same thing but supposedly okay for an atheist. It isn’t only atheists who don’t want to participate in ugly, fraudulent perversity and injustice. Everything about that is to serve the judge, lawyers and system. Justice is an accident in a court of law, and guilt or innocence is irrelevant. Jury nullification, which should be known about by every citizen, can get a summonsed victim in contempt of court for “jury tampering”. Free speech? Free from tyranny? Yeah. We’ll see about that.

    I’m not familiar with judge Jaques, but glad you commented, Baba Loo.

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