Philadelphia Man Gets Out of Jury Duty With Novel Name Trick

Yasir Zarif El, somehow got out of jury duty by claiming he styles his name differently than the all caps format used in jury summons.

The Daily News has a story Thursday about the return of scofflaw court, which brings in the unlucky few who skipped jury duty and now have to answer for it.

Scofflaw court appears to be like many minor-infraction courts: You get yelled at by a judge for a little bit, pretend to act contrite, then pay a fine. In this case, you get a $50 fine and a new summons to appear for jury duty. Four people skipped scofflaw court entirely, and now have bench warrants out for their arrest.

But it was one man, 58-year-old Philadelphia hero Yasir Zarif El, who came up with a novel way to get out of jury duty. The Daily News’s Patricia Madej writes:

Yasir Zarif El, 58, said he didn’t respond to the summons because it featured his name entirely in capital letters — which the court noted all summons are. He claimed that since his name is stylized differently, the summons wasn’t addressed to him. He also called the juror qualification questionnaire “inappropriate.”

[Judge] Minehart suggested the name on the summons be rewritten. Zarif El refused, and then Minehart excused him from duty. “We don’t think you belong on a jury,” Minehart said. “We don’t want you on jury. We want good citizens on jury.”

Thanks for the tip, Daily News! The next time I see my name spelled as MCQUADE instead of McQUADE, I’m going to contest it and get out of all my civic duties. “It’s a damn shame,” I’ll say. “Just remember NOT ALL CAPS when you spell the man’s name.”

Or, probably not. While it worked for one Yasir Zarif El, I can’t say I’ll try it myself, and I doubt it’d work for you now that this plan has been exposed in the newspaper.

[Daily News]