Federal juror pay to increase May 7

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The daily pay rate will increase to $50 a day

Starting May 7, those called to serve federal jury duty will get paid 25 percent more. Last week, President Donald Trump signed a bill increasing the daily rate for juror service from $40 to $50.

The juror pay raise is the first in 28 years. The new rate will bring jurors closer to being compensated at the federal minimum-wage rate of $58 a day.

U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo told the Chicago Tribune that the pay bump will ease the economic burden of serving, which should make the juror panel more reflective of the overall population.

“More diverse juries is what we’re all after,” Castillo said.

Included in discretionary spending bill

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 11 House members called for the pay boost in a letter to the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees judiciary spending.

“While juror compensation was never meant to serve as a substitute for a salary and obviously does not, raising the daily rate of juror compensation to $50 per day would provide some small relief for the sacrifices made by jurors,” the lawmakers wrote.

The pay increase was included in one paragraph of a 2,231-page bill that provided the federal judiciary with $7.1 billion in discretionary spending -- an increase of $184 million from the previous fiscal year, according to a news release from the U.S. Courts.

“We are especially pleased that Congress recognized the critical public service provided by the citizens who serve on juries as well as the attorneys who represent defendants who can’t afford a lawyer,” said James C. Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

The new rate applies to both grand jurors and those who serve on trial, or petit, juries.

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