Can You Afford Jury Duty?
Happily I went as the foundation of our country and the equal application of its laws are dependent on those people sitting in the jury box.
A lot of people though find it a financial hardship… and I can see why… many employers don’t pay your wages while serving (they should!) and the vast sum of $15 the court systems pays really only covers the cost of lunch in the overpriced courthouse cafeteria.
Should they pay more?
Loss of one day’s pay makes little difference to most people but could be devastating to some living paycheck to paycheck let alone if empaneled for a multi-day trial.
Honestly, I think by imposing such a hardship that the courts should reimburse at least at a minimum wage rate for those who otherwise can’t afford the “day off.”
They ask so many other questions that seem “nosy” (including who you work for). Asking to see a pay stub for verification that you don’t get paid much isn’t unduly so.
Yes the system is tax funded… but serving shouldn’t be limited to just those who are “well to do” and I would prefer the broadest possible cross section of citizens available to judge me if I was the one in the defendant’s box.
This is probably one of the very few times I would be willing to pony up a little more in taxes.
As a postscript I ended up spending most of the day with 39 other potential jurors, of many ethnic backgrounds but seemingly all in the middle age, middle class range with some students thrown in, being grilled by the judge and the lawyers before they picked the seven they needed… I wasn’t one of them…. but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
So are you “civic minded” enough to do your duty despite maybe losing a day’s pay?
Do you think we should pay the equivalent of minimum wage even if it makes the system cost more if it would broaden the potential pool of jurors?
Do you have every intent of doing everything possible to get out of it if called?
Photo credit: stock.xchng.