As the recession continues, more court officials are hearing people say financial hardship will not allow them to take a seat in the jury box, says National Public Radio. The Center for Jury Studies – which provides assistance to state courts on jury trial management – conducted an informal poll of jury administrators. Some locales said it wasn’t a problem, others, like one county in Nevada, said they were hearing more desperation in the voices and letters of potential jurors.
Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies, says the impact on juries depends on how hard the recession has hit a given community, how long courts require citizens to serve, and the actual jury fee. “The national average, I think, is $22 a day, and there are still a number of states where the payment is $10 a day,” Hannaford-Agor says. “It’s certainly adding insult to injury with people who are feeling emotionally frazzled by the economic situation now.” At King County Superior Court in Seattle, jurors get paid $10 a day. “More and more now, we’re hearing from individuals [that] two days, even one day is going to be a hardship for them, that they’re not going to be able to handle that financially in any way,” says Greg Wheeler, the court’s jury manager.