Despite the wishes of Arlington’s Circuit Court clerk, those serving as jurors in local cases across Arlington and throughout Virginia are not necessarily going to get a pay raise any time soon.
But on the other hand, maybe they should be thankful, as Virginia’s $30-per-day stipend for jurors is actually on the high end across the country.
As the Circuit Court’s office is working to firm up its jury pool for 2022, Clerk Paul Ferguson would like to see state officials take a look at raising the rate.
“I am 100 percent in favor of increasing juror pay,” Ferguson told the Sun Gazette. “I call it ‘expense reimbursement’ for lunch, transportation, etc., because $30 covers nobody’s pay for the day if the employer makes them take vacation, when many do.”
The pay rate for jurors is enshrined in the Code of Virginia. It has not changed in more than 20 years and would require action by the General Assembly to be increased. Jurors are paid out of state funds if sitting on felony trials and out of local revenues if passing judgment in civil trials; if the case is a misdemeanor, who is obligated to pay depends on a number of actors.
The Website JuryDuty101 shows that daily rates for jury service range from nothing at all (Illinois and South Carolina) to $50 (Georgia, Arkansas, South Dakota). Virginia is on the high end of the scale, with a number of populous but parsimonious states providing less than $10 per day (Texas at $6 and New Jersey at $5, for instance, with Missouri and Mississippi also paying less than $10).
States also have various regulations about reimbursement of mileage – some do, some don’t – and whether employers are legally obligated to provide paid time off for jury duty. Only a very few states require that.
The federal court system generally pays $50 a day to its jurors.
The good news for jurors in Arlington trials? Very few last more than a few days, and most jurors are released from duty if they are not called for a trial the first day of service.