Even the U.S. green card holders temporarily residing in South Korea are not exempt from jury duty. Recently, Seoul resident Dave Kim, 31, was summoned as a jury.
The letter was sent to his parent’s home in the L.A. County.
“I called the court to request an exemption and they asked for my paperwork,” Kim said. “I had to prove that I lived out of the country. It was bothersome for days as I had to prepare the paperwork to send the documents.”
By law, green card holders are exempt from jury duty. However, some green card holders who have applied for U.S. citizenship have been summoned to serve in the past.
“I changed my name to an English name as I was applying for a citizenship,” said L.A. resident Han-sol Lee, 39. “The letter that summoned me to serve was made out to my Korean name. The situation was rather unclear so I called the court and let them know that I’ve already received my citizenship. Then, they immediately told me that I had to serve my jury duty and show up with my paperwork to prove that I’ve changed my name.”
The L.A. Superior Court has revealed that an average of 3 million residents of the L.A. County are called in for jury duty every year, but the response rate is still only at around 50 percent. As the court does not have sufficient number of juries, it has been handing out harsher punishments to those who fail to serve without valid reasons.
Many Korean-Americans cite lack of ability to converse in English as their main reason for requesting an exemption, but the court’s reception has been increasingly dismissive.
Even green card holders who receive summons for jury duty are required to respond.
“I requested for an exemption on the court website, but was told that I needed to call the court,” said Steve Kim, who owns a U.S. green card. “I ultimately received my exemption by going through the automated system, but the process was surprisingly complex. I thought to myself that many Korean-Americans may struggle to get their exemptions.”