Reporting for jury duty can be difficult when you live in another country. Not reporting, though, can mean being fined $1,500 and/or being put behind bars.
I am pretty sure officials in El Dorado County, my place of residence in California, would not track me down in Baja California Sur, but I know they could. Not showing up for jury duty didn’t seem like something I would be extradited for. But if it were, it would first mean being held in a Mexican jail before being shipped north. None of this sounded like something I wanted to experience – even for a story.
I had scrambled to get out of jury duty in April 2018 when I first visited Todos Santos. The problem then was I didn’t send in proof that I was going to be out of the country so the court denied my request. Knowing someone on the inside helped resolve that problem. I was able to send my flight itinerary and that person took care of the rest.
I leaned on that person again last month when I got the latest jury summons.
While I don’t get my mail in Todos Santos unless someone comes to visit, the Postal Service sends me an email when I have mail coming to my post office box. Sometimes a picture of the envelope is included. This is how I knew to alert my friend Rosemary to pull the jury summons from the pile. She is collecting my mail in South Lake Tahoe while I’m in Mexico.
My connection in the court system advised me to write a letter to the court stating that I am living out of the country indefinitely and to provide proof of that fact. The internet bill is all I have in my name here. A copy of my passport stamp might work as proof. That, though, only says when I entered a country. It doesn’t indicate that I’m still there.
My sister Jann took my letter to the court back to California, printed off a copy of the internet bill, and included with all of that was the jury summons Rosemary sent her. This all got sent in one envelope to the El Dorado County court on Dec. 23. I haven’t heard anything from the court. I don’t know if I will. I guess when I fly back to the U.S. later this month and I’m detained because there is a warrant out for my arrest I’ll know my letter and documentation weren’t enough.