Friday, April 19, 2024

A Fugitive from Justice

During my stay in Ohio, the new owner of my old house invited me to stop by.  I really didn't feel any pangs of emotion returning to the place where I spent most of my life, although it was a rather surreal experience.

The owner said that there was only one piece of mail that looked important that had been sent to me at the old address.  She handed me a summons for jury duty that had arrived a few days earlier.  I thought to myself, if I had never received the summons and did not show up at the courthouse on the date of service, there would be a warrant for my arrest.  I had visions of returning to Ohio sometime in the future and being met by the police when I landed at Cleveland airport.  (I checked on the internet, and failure to show up for jury duty in Ohio carries a charge of contempt of court, $100 fine plus court costs and / or three days in jail.)

The summons unfolded to include a form for requesting excusal from jury duty.  I checked change of address and provided my new address (both my private mailing service in Florida, and my actual address in Mexico City) and my new phone number.  I went to the post office and sent it on my last day in Ohio.  However, I also called the courthouse.  The lady said that it doesn't matter that I am now living 2500 miles away.  As long as I am registered as a voter in Cuyahoga County, I am required to serve. 

I found a form on the internet from the Ohio Secretary of State in which I can cancel my voter registration.  However, I don't want to do that.  I want to be able to vote in the November election.  Besides, I don't know if cancelling my registration AFTER receiving a summons would be valid.

I am going to have to make some more calls, but I have a feeling that I am going to have to make another trip to Ohio much sooner than I had planned!   


  1. I doubt the situation in Ohio is much different than in Wisconsin. When I was on a jury in 2009, after the trial ended, we were allowed to ask the judge questions. One of the questions asked by a fellow juror was what would happen if they hadn't shown up for jury duty. The judge said "nothing" because they didn't have the resources to follow up on people who didn't show up. They just threaten people with fines or jail time to encourage people to show up. I was really surprised he told us this! And I doubt there are more resources available now.

    1. Thanks, Meredith. I called the courthouse again, and this time the lady said that I would be excused from jury duty.