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10/25/2021 06:47 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=34203
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 15, 2021 12:05 PM
From: Representative Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Increasing Juror Payments and Updating Juror Payment Options
 
The compensation rate for jurors in Pennsylvania is one of the lowest in the country. In New York it is $40, the same as in DC, and in Maryland it is $15. Pennsylvania jurors are not even compensated for the cost of one proper meal during their day of service. Also under the law, a juror’s employer is not required to pay them during their period of jury service.

I see many problems with this aspect of the law. First, checks have to be drawn by an administrative officer, which takes time and causes delays in money transfers to jurors. Secondly, in smaller towns where there are no banks, as well as in many cities with a short number of banking services, it makes it extremely inconvenient for the juror to even cash the check. Finally, the checks are costly. The process of issuing a paper check can cost as much as $30. This means that the cost of the payment method is three times higher than the compensation rate to the juror.

Therefore, I strongly recommend we amend § 4561 of Title 42, Judiciary and Judicial
Procedure as follows:
 
  • Supplement the regulation regarding compensation with a description of admissible payment methods, which can be checks, debit cards, bank transfers and other appropriate methods chosen by the county commissioners; with an indication that no payment method should affect the amount of compensation granted for the jury service.
    Increase the amount of juror compensation for fulfilling their duty from $9 to $40 per day, with no increase, or decrease depending on the number of the days served.

    Jury service is one of the most important duties in our democratic system. We cannot let this outdated law discourage individuals from fulfilling this duty. Jurors deserve to be well compensated for their service and the taxpayers need to know that money is being spent for the citizens benefit and in the most economic way possible.

    Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.