I just got a summons in the mail for grand jury duty and I really want to get out of it. Any tips on how I can escape from jury duty? And what's the difference between a grand jury and regular old jury duty anyway?

2005_02_ask_jury.jpgWe hate to tell you this, but you're probably not going to get out of it, and besides, we wouldn't advocate shirking your responsibilities as a law-abiding citizen. Serving on a jury is an important part of the justice system in this country. A grand jury, unlike a petit (regular) jury, does not decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Rather, the grand jury decides if there is enough evidence to indict a suspect. If the grand jury votes "true bill" then the case goes to trial.

When we were recently called for grand jury duty there was no voir dire, or questioning of jurors, which is when people typically try to escape from jury duty by appearing to be biased. We were simply assigned to a grand jury and there was no arguing about it or getting out of it.

But hey, look at it as a good excuse to prepare for Law and Order: Trial By Jury. Or maybe you'll end up meeting your future spouse, just like in this past Sunday's New York Times Vows column.