On December 22, 2010 I received a letter in the mail from the local county courthouse containing the following information:
You are hearby summoned to participate in the jury trial process of your judicial sysytem. Your name was randomly selected by the computer from the Jury Wheel. The Jury Wheel results from combining names from the Voter Registration and the Department of Motor Vehicle computer files. Often citizens express that serving on jury duty creates difficulties and inconviences for them. We recognise this and consequently , after you complete your service, you will not be rewuired to serve on jury duty for 24 months. Your participation is vital, and your contribution to this important process is appreciated.
PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO PERFORM JURY SERVICE
A person summoned for Jury service who fails to appear or complete jury service as directed shall be ordered by the Court to appear forthwith and show cause for his failure to comply with the Summons. If he fails to show good cause for non-compliance with the summons, he is guilty of criminal contempt and upon conviction may be fined not more than three hundred dollars ($300) or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than three (3) days or both.
On another paper included with the letter, it informs me my term of service will be from January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2011. It tells me that I will receive a notice approximately 1 1/2 weeks prior to the trial's start date, if I am needed to serve.
I was hoping that I would make it through the three months with out having to serve, but I received a second letter in the mail yesterday with this information:
Attention Prospective Jurors:
You have been selected for a jury trial scheduled for March 1, 2011. You will need to call in on Monday, February 28,2011 after 6:00 p.m., to find out if the trial is going to proceed as scheduled. The number to call is...
There was some other information included with the first letter, including the rate of pay for jurors. When I read it, I was shocked!
Jurors shall receive the following pay: $5.00 for each one-hald day, unless they reside more than thirty miles from the courthouse and then they shall receive $10.00 for each one-half day. All jurors shall receive mileage fees for their travel expenses from their residence to the courthouse and back at the rate of forty-four and one half cents ($0.445) per mile as established by the County Commissioners.
Oh boy! I'll be rich!
It also says on the paper that was with the first letter:
If you have been asked to appear on a given date, be prepared to stay the full day for jury selection. Any citizen selected for the trial will serve for the duration of the trial, however long that trial may last.
It goes on to say that in our county the normal trial time is one to three days, and that it rarely goes over that.
After reading all this information and learning how low the pay is for jurors, I decided to research the pay for jurors in other states. I thought no other state could have pay rates for jurors this low. I was surprised to learn that although we were almost at the bottom, there are a number of other states with extremely low rates of pay for there jurors as well.
Here is a link to a list of pay juror pay rates, so you can see what the juror pay rate is in your state. You'll probably find out that it is lower than you thought it would be, unless you have already served in the past and found out from first hand experience.
Federal juror pay is a little better than it is in many states, but still isn't very high.
I've been lucky enough that I've never had to serve on a jury, so this will be a new experience for me. However, I'm still hoping that I won't have to be on the jury though. (fingers crossed!)