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Proposed bill would allow seniors to opt out of jury duty

The bill would allow people 70 years and older to request to be taken off of master list of jurors.
Those who oppose the bill say it could impede on the right to a fair trial.
Those who oppose the bill say it could impede on the right to a fair trial.


A proposed bill is making its way through the Alabama Legislature. It would allow people 70 years and older to opt out of jury duty.

"From time to time we do get complaints from elderly folks," said Houston County Judge Larry Anderson.

But those complaints to the Houston County Courthouse could soon stop. Under the proposed bill senior citizens would be able to opt out of serving jury duty. Right now there are no exemptions to serving as a juror but the sponsor of the bill—Rep. Rod Scott from Fairfield says seniors can sometimes have a difficult time making it to the courthouse. But some who oppose the bill say it could impede on the right to a fair trial.

“I like to see that wisdom on that jury and I certainly think if I were sitting in front of a jury or a victim I would love to see a little wisdom there. If I saw a jury that had a little age on them they would look at things a little differently than a 20-year-old so I like the mix,” said Rep. Paul Lee.

"I hate to just cut off any group that are willing to serve. I do understand both sides of the issues but we’re glad to have them,” said Anderson.

He says senior citizens are some of the best jurors he's seen.

"They're dutiful they get their juror summons and they’re concerned with it,” said Anderson.

 Here in Houston County he says if there is a medical issue, they will make exceptions.

"We do take into consideration age and sometimes we do have folks that call in that may be 80 or 85 and we understand we just excuse them if they have problems but if they want to come and serve then certainly we want them," said Anderson.

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