Why At-Home Parents Should be Excused From Jury Duty

It’s story time, y’all.

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Recently, I was called into jury duty. Being a working at-home mother (I write books in addition to being an influencer), I simply couldn’t do it. I sent the notice back telling the great people of LA County why I couldn’t serve on the jury.

A few months passed, and I received another notice from them: I was called in again and my “excuse” of being an at-home parent with a then-four-year-old wasn’t good enough. I was scheduled to report on a certain date and time.

I was pissed off, if I want to keep it 100. While my husband and I do make good money between the two of us, any disruption of that will cause a financial hardship. Every bill we have is accounted for and we’re on a budget since we’re saving for a home.

After my husband agreed to take a day off for me to go to jury service, I hurriedly got into my car and rushed way across town to L.A. Superior Court. Now, this is significant because I wasn’t assigned to a courthouse closer to me. The time spent in the car was close to 45 minutes for a one-way trip. I was also hitting rush-hour traffic for those heading to work.

After I arrived, managed to find cheap parking, and headed to the courthouse, the instructions on where jury duty was wasn’t exactly clear. I went on a different floor originally, just to go back down to a different floor. Then the room I was supposed to go to was changed to another room around the corner.

When I finally checked in, the woman clerk told me I was too late and they couldn’t use me. I was about 20 minutes late. I explained to her my situation as to why I was late and I told her I had to get last-minute child care because I stay at-home with my son. She asked how old my son was and I told her he was four.

She then proceeded to tell me that I would need to try harder to find child care and that she will excuse me for that time but I would have to report back in a few weeks (it would’ve been late October). I told her I couldn’t do it for the same reason why I was late; she said it didn’t matter. I told her flat-out, I would ignore the summons.

And I have.

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So I complained to my mother about what happened and my mother listened to my rant. Finally, after hearing everything I had to say, she asked a simple question:

“Now, that you’re mad, what are you going to do about it?”

The question took me by surprise. I think in this day and age of people being mad and the whole ‘cancel culture’, no one actually takes their actions seriously. You’re mad at Kanye, but are you going to stop listening to his music? You’re mad at the politicians, but are you going to vote better people in office next time around?

Why you mad, bro?

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My mother told me how she once wrote to numerous California politicians about a law she wanted to pass (I can’t remember the details). And the only politician who replied back to her was this guy:

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Yeah, that’s two-time California Governor Jerry Brown.

I took my mother’s advice and decided I was going to write to pretty much every major California politician. I was even going to write to Satan-in-Chief himself.

Here was my letter:

Dear Politician,

I’m not sure if you would even read this email but here it goes.

I’m Crystal K. and I’m a stay at-home mother. My husband works for the City of X. I’m the primary caregiver for our son, four-year-old Bogdan. We don’t have any family that is close or nearby to watch our son.

I was recently called into jury duty. I told them originally I couldn’t do it because it would be a financial hardship since I’m the primary caregiver of our child. They only delayed, but did not excuse me entirely. When I was called again, I was late reporting because I had to find last-minute childcare. My husband had to stay home from work to watch our son during a time it is hard for us for him to miss any work.

When I showed up for jury duty, I was told I couldn’t sit through the orientation because I was late, even though I explained my situation. The clerk said it wasn’t an excuse. I told her I had a young son at home and I was the primary caregiver; she repeated it wasn’t an excuse. She gave me another date to report and I told her I would not show up because it would be the same issue.

I feel that is incredibly unfair to stay at-home parents who are the primary caregivers. Jury duty only pays $15 a day while child care pays $10 an hour. That is a huge discrepancy. This is for a healthy child. If a child has special needs, the cost is more.

I have researched online and it seems other states around the nation excuse stay at-home parents from jury duty, yet Los Angeles is the only one that does not. I feel that is incredibly disrespectful. If a parent can not afford jury duty because of the obvious child care cost discrepancy, how are they expected to be a fair and honest juror?

I feel a law should be enacted to exclude stay at-home parents from jury duty if they demonstrate a financial hardship.

I think this is a situation that needs to be addressed for the city of L.A.

Sincerely,

Crystal K.

So, I sent that letter to the following:

  • Gubernatorial candidate John Cox
  • Governor-elect Gavin Newsom
  • Senator Kamala Harris*
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra
  • State Senator Anthony J. Portatino
  • Assembly member Chris R. Holden
  • Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Donald Trump

And guess who wrote back to me? The bolded.

Kamala Harris has an underline with an asterisk because while she wrote back, it was very clear she didn’t read my letter at all. Like, bish, why humor me?

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She gets the Tupac gif for posterity. 

Senator Feinstein gave a very detailed response and I could tell her (or her staff) wrote it because they actually named Bo in the letter. So did the State Senator’s staff. Xavier Becerra told me he couldn’t help me because it was beyond his jurisdiction, but he recommended the state senators I could talk to about it.

I found it to be very interesting that the one person who I thought would look into this – Eric Garcetti – ignored my email entirely. I guess he’s too busy trying to set up of a rumored higher office run than care about what’s going on in L.A.?

I almost want to slap that bitch.

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I don’t know if this law will ever pass or will it ever be considered enough to even hit the state senate floor. However, I tried and for now, that’s good enough. I hope to bring this up again and have it be considered a law in California that will benefit all at-home parents and caregivers.

So, I thank my mother for giving me the encouragement and strength to pursue this. That will forever be my motto now: ‘Now that I’m angry enough about something, what am I going to do about it?’

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