Troubleshooters: Woman with Critically Ill Husband Denied Request to Miss Jury Duty


POSTED: Monday, March 14, 2011 - 5:13pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 9:39pm

EL PASO – Imagine being the sole caregiver of your critically ill spouse, on a very fixed budget, while trying to be excused from jury duty, only to be denied. That's the situation one El Paso woman finds herself in.

Linda Connell says her 70-year-old husband, Lott, needs round-the-clock care.

“He's got end-stage lung disease...heart failure...diabetes...bleeding disorder, so he requires a lot of things,” said the 61-year-old woman.

Connell described her daily routine; she said after she wakes up every morning, she gets her husband ready.

“...getting him up, we give him a breathing treatment. Then I get him washed and dressed....take his sugar. I give him his pre-food medications.”

That's all before breakfast time. Connell said she sent the city a doctor's note, and explained why she can't do jury duty.

“We live on social security. There's no money there to pay for somebody to come in here and stay with him so I can serve on jury duty.”

But her request to be excused, was denied. Connell said she doesn't know what to do, since she's expected to serve this Wednesday.

“I just kind of said, 'Well, I'm really sorry. There's no way I can be there, so if you have to issue a warrant...if you're going to take me out of here, you're going to take him, too.'”

Connell said she doesn't understand why she's being singled out for jury duty, in such a populated city like El Paso. Meantime, she hopes the city will understand her situation.

“I would want to tell them, have some compassion,” stated Connell.

Meantime, after numerous phone calls, The Council of Judges got back to us late this afternoon, and told us the woman was exempt from jury duty this time. However, Linda Connell is concerned about what will happen when she's summoned for jury duty, in the future.

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I completely support this couple. I missed jury duty one time. The February BIG FREEZE. The back half of my house caved in because a well insulated pipe burst. My elderly parent was one day home from major surgery. The cave in stopped at bed. I needed to rearrange the house for her safety. I called the jury duty number. They insisted I come. I did not go and sent pictures of the house and a doctors note. I was fined $225. The judge would not listen. They made us wait two hours to pay fines.

I know this woman personally and if you had to walk just a few steps in her shoes, you would NOT be so ready to judge! Not only does she have her husband to care for 24/7, but she did not tell you ALL his illnesses, nor enlighten you about her own. She has tried unsuccessfully many, many times to get help with a better working wheelchair for her husband, only to be denied with the explanation that he doesn't need to be in a wheelchair - he is a paraplegic and his chair is in dreadful shape.

I had jury duty when the City was shut down due to Black ice, 80+ accidents had already happened by 8am and school was starting late. We were the only court open. I had no one to watch my kids since school was starting late. City Police were asking everyone to stay off the roads due to the hazardous conditions, but they made all 100 jurors go in. I had no one to watch my kids, and they told me "Can't they stay home by themselves?" They are under 10!!

There must be more to this story than meets the eye. I'll be watching for a followup story to see what happens.

If there wasn't a process to go through WHEN wanting to claim an exmeption then noone would appear from jury duty and then our judicial system would not able to function. EVERYONE SHOULD COMMIT TO JURY DUTY! IT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY AS A UNITED STATES CITIZEN.
There is always a procedure when you file an exemption for jury duty. YOu must fill out the questionnaire completely and then claim exemption.citizens are never "SINGLED OUT"

its also my GOD given right not to serve works both ways

Obviously, you have never been faced with this woman's type of issue. So you are volunteering for her? You must be a compasionate idividual...NOT.
Not everyone in El Paso has this kind of problem, like you seem to think, and I'm sure she would rather have the opportunity to serve on jury duty than for her husband to be in his current condition.

Yes, we should commit to jury duty IF YOU ARE ABLE TO. Obviously this woman couldn't do it, and that's why she even got a letter from her husband's doctor's office so she could be exempt from it. So even though she showed them the information and filled out the questionnaire, and they still said NO, then yes, she has every right to feel singled out.

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