What do jurors do for money in long trials?

I was just informed by my wife that I received a jury summons and while I have always wanted to serve on a jury, I am afraid of being on one of those trials that last for months. I believe the McMartin Preschool Trial of the '80s lasted for over a year. What did the jurors do for money during that time? What does your company do if you have to serve on a really long trial? Is there a special fund for such things?


Some employers, such as mine, give you regular pay during the trial. Some expect you to give the company the compensation that the court gives to you, while others (such as mine) do not.

Long trials like the McMartin Preschool Trial, are really rare.

Uh ? Interesting. I didn’t know US jurors were compensated - it’s always presented as doing your citizen’s Duty (capital included), so I figured it was inherently* pro bono*. So where does the compensation money come from ? State treasury ? Percentage skimmed off whatever damages are incurred by the losing side ?

How does it work for self-employed? If I were to have to be on a jury for longer than, say, a month, I don’t know that my current clients could deal with that - they’d go elsewhere and I’d be SOL. Not to mention the loss of income that would result from it.

If you are self employed you can probably be excused from jury service if it’s a hardship. As mentioned above many trials are short, some last 1 day or even less.

I was on a criminal trial jury about three years ago and got some minimal amount of money. Something like ten dollars a day. As for the self-employed, they would bring this up during the jury selection process. When I served, the judge excused anyone for whom the service would be a financial burden.

The state generally pays jurors a stipend if they have no other source of income. However, it’s not much – maybe about $25 a day. You couldn’t live on it.

For long trials, retired jurors and single-income couples usually make up the bulk of the jurors.

I was a juror in a civil trial in Oklahoma City in the early '90’s. We were paid $12.50 a day for parking and lunch whether we were employed or not. The judge for the trial was not easily swayed with arguments to get out of jury duty; being self-employed was not reason enough to be excused. I remember a salesman telling him that he would miss certain deadlines if he had to serve, but that didn’t cut any ice.

By the way, the trial that I served on lasted 3 weeks. I was in grad school at the time (and did that turn out to be a bitch of a semester), so I didn’t have to worry about salary. Most people I know don’t have paid time off for jury duty. I have no idea how jurors handle it when a trial lasts several months.

I got waivered for one duty, I had just gotten out of rehab for my back and couldnt sit in a chair for more than a few hours without back spasms[New York]. I got out of my second for being hospialized with pneumonia[Virginia]. Havent gotten any jury duty here in CT.

I have an friend who was on the jury of a high profile police corruption case that ended up lasting almost two years from start of jury selection to the day it officially ended with a hung jury (after six weeks of jury deliberations).

His employer offered paid time off for jury duty and honored that. But the reality is that you can’t just leave a job for months (let alone years) and not be impacted so he essentially ended up working two jobs through that whole time. A mild-mannered juror by day and an ass killing whatever it is he does by night. With most lunches and breaks taken with dealing with work issues. The only vacation he got in that period were the occasional day when court wasn’t in session for some reason and he didn’t tell his employer.

It really was the most miserable experience of his life. Not just because of the life disruption but because the view of the justice system he had was thoroughly dysfunctional.

In the UK, your current wages are paid, it amazes me why any democracy would do otherwise - it just means that you end up with folk who can’t think of a reason to get out of it. You also end up with a jury that is hardly representative of the population.

Easy solution, before you go in, tell someone on the defence that you think the accused is guilty as hell and deserved what is coming to them.

I’m not sure which tickles me more, the notion of a professional juror who’s now retired or the notion of a couple showing up for jury duty.

“I wuv you, Snookums”
“I wuv you, Pookycakes.”
“Would you two shut up? That’s no way to get excused. You need to start shouting at each other!”

And government employees. At least in CA government jobs pay your wages while serving on jury duty. As a result my stint on a jury was sort of an informative little vacation.

Even English CEOs who might make a millons of pounds a year in salary?

My work paid me exactly zero. The state gave me $6/day but parking was $15/day. I now have foreign residency so it doesn’t matter.

Or the Rolling Stones?

I was on a trial for a little more than three weeks a few years ago. We all got $5 per day and reimbursement for one-way mileage to the courthouse. My company paid my salary for the entire duration. Several people on the jury weren’t as fortunate, and tried to put in a few hours at their jobs every night, except for a building contractor. He was in a bad mood for three weeks, and lost money every day.

When they pick a jury for trials they expect will take a long time, they spend a long time picking from a much larger juror pool, because they’re not going to force someone to go bankrupt or anything, but in my most recent service, people who claimed financial hardship but who admitted that they had savings to cover a few weeks were told to tough it out.