What to do if my mother is mentally disabled and does not speak English and she recieved a letter for jury duty?

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2013

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What to do if my mother is mentally disabled and does not speak English and she recieved a letter for jury duty?

It states that it is a final notice. She will either be fined $1,000 or jail. What should we do? Will she actually face such penalties in her condition? My mother is on SSI.

Asked on April 14, 2013 under Criminal Law, New York


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Anyone who serves on a jury must be mentally fit or competent to do so.  Considering what you describe of your mother's condition, she would not be able to legally serve.  However, to avoid any negative consequences (even by accident), you need to contact the court that sent the notice and advise them of the situation.  They may take your word over the phone-- or you may be required to submit proof of her condition.   Either way, address it upfront before they decide to issue a capias or fine. 

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