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Alabama has become the latest state to consider a law allowing those 75 and older to be excused from jury duty. A House committee last week approved a bill that would allow Alabama residents 75 and older to be excused from jury duty. The bill is now headed to the full House for debate. State Representative Mac Gipson sponsored the bill after several elderly constituents complained that jury duty posed a significant hardship on them, according to local media reports. The proposed legislation would require judges to dismiss those 75 or older from jury duty if they make written requests. Gipson said the bill would not prevent any elderly citizen who wants to be considered for jury duty from serving. Alabama is not the only state to consider waiving jury duty for elderly citizens. New Jersey also excuses those 75 and older, while in Florida, Texas, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Oregon, you must be 70 to get out of jury duty. South Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee are even more lenient, granting exemptions to those 65 and older. Wyoming, for some reason, chose 72 as the age of exemption. But not all states have embraced granting broad exemptions to jury duty based on age. In California, a bill proposed in 2004 to exempt those 75 and older from jury duty failed in committee in a 3-7 vote. Among committee members’ concerns: whether the bill inadvertently implied that Californians are less competent to serve as jurors once they reach 75, whether the move would adversely impact the state’s troubled jury system and whether the age of 75 was too arbitrary. Additionally, critics noted, elderly citizens could still seek exemptions on a casey-by-case basis.

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