Proposed law would exempt senior citizens from jury duty in Rhode Island

The Kent County Courthouse in Warwick.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders aged 70 or older would be off the hook for jury duty under a newly proposed bill, unless they choose otherwise.

The bill, introduced in the House this week by Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, D-Westerly, would add those senior citizens to the list of people exempted from jury service in the state.

The list also includes members of Congress, the state’s general officers, members of the General Assembly, the jury commissioner and assistants, judges, court clerks, practicing attorneys, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs, probation and parole officers, police officers, firefighters and active duty members of the armed services.

All of the groups have the option to waive their exemption, if they want to still be called for jury service.

Rep. Azzinaro said he introduced the exemptions for seniors at the request of constituents.

“Many retired people head south or west for the winter months and may not get notified because they are away and not receive the mail,” Azzinaro said in an email. “Also many seniors have to depend on someone to drive them to various places.”

The bill was referred to the House Municipal Government Committee.

Massachusetts has a similar law, which allows residents ages 70 and older to choose to be removed from the jury list.