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Jury Service Reform

The right to trial by jury is one of our society’s most valued liberties. According to a 1998 American Bar Association public opinion poll, 78% of the public rates our jury system as the fairest way to determine guilt or innocence, and 69% of those surveyed consider juries to be the most important part of the justice system.

PROBLEM: Despite the public’s strong support of the jury system, interest in serving on juries has dropped off substantially in recent years. Each year, approximately 15 million Americans are summoned to jury duty. A significant number citizens simply ignore the juror summons. In some urban jurisdictions, fewer than 10% of its citizens respond. While a portion of this non-response rate is attributable to out-of-date records and summonses that are mailed to the wrong address, many citizens simply ignore their civic obligation and opportunity to serve. Those who do arrive at the courthouse often avoid service through “occupational exemptions” that benefit certain professions or come presenting flimsy “hardship excuses” to escape jury duty. All too often, they are successful. Jury duty can impose a severe financial hardship on working people. In most states, employers are not required to pay their employees during any period in which they are absent for jury service. These citizens are faced with receiving only a miniscule court fee (usually $10- 40) per day for their service, an amount that may not even reimburse them for transportation costs. High-income professionals avoid jury service through statutory exemptions, hardship excuses, and lax enforcement of summonses. Juror hardship is particularly great in the small percentage of trials that can last several days, weeks, or months. This trend has made it difficult to fill the jury box, increased courts’ administrative costs, and threatened the constitutional right to a representative jury.

ATRA’S POSITION: All citizens should equally share the obligation or jury duty regardless of their occupation and income level. Not only does requiring all to serve more fairly distribute the burden of jury service throughout the public, but it is also necessary to ensure a diverse and representative jury. ATRA encourages the states to lessen the burden on working people called for jury duty and thereby encourage their service by:

  1. Establishing an easy method of obtaining one automatic postponement of jury service to a date of the juror’s choosing;
  2. Adopting and implementing a one-day/one-trial system;
  3. Limiting the frequency of jury service;
  4. Requiring that businesses provide employees with their regular salary for the first ten days of jury service, while exempting small businesses from this obligation;
  5. Protecting the employment benefits of those who serve on juries by not permitting employers to require their employees to use leave time in order to serve; and
  6. Creating a fund to provide additional compensation for jurors selected to serve on long trials.

ATRA also encourages states to ensure that all people serve on juries by:

  1. Eliminating all occupational exemptions from jury service;
  2. Tightening the standard for hardship excuses; and
  3. Providing that ignoring a juror summons is punishable as a criminal misdemeanor.

OPPOSITION: No one opposes the effort to encourage greater participation on juries.

Alabama

Jury Service Reform: SB 87 (special session) (2005). Provided the right to one automatic postponement with the requirement that service be rescheduled within six months of the original summons.  Protected small businesses (defined as having five or fewer full time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is already serving.  Limited the frequency of service to no more than once every two years.  Prohibited an employer from taking any adverse employment action against an employee solely because the person serves on a jury.  Clarified that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the period in which he or she leaves.  Set stricter for prospective jurors to be excused from service.  Increased the maximum fine for contempt for failure to appear from $100 to $300.

Arizona

Other Reforms. In 1993, Arizona became one of the first states to initiate a major jury reform initiative when the Arizona Supreme Court established its Committee on the More Effective Use of Juries.  The Committee adopted 55 recommendations.  Fifteen of these recommendations resulted in immediate changes to the Supreme Court Rules.  The implemented reforms primarily aim to increase juror comprehension and involvement in trials.  These reforms include encouraging mini-opening statements prior to voir dire, giving jurors copies of jury instructions, providing juror notebooks, allowing jurors to ask questions, and allowing jurors to discuss the evidence among themselves during civil trials. Arizona’s reform is viewed as a model by other states.  Arizona did not succeed, however, in implementing universal service recommendations such as expanding juror source lists, using follow-up procedures for non-respondents to jury service, carefully monitoring deferral or excuses from service, and revising statutory provisions for jury pay.

Jury Service Reform: HB 2520 (2003); A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222; A.R.S. § 21-335; A.R.S. § 21-336, A.R.S. § 21-336.01; amended A.R.S. § 21-202; A.R.S. § 21-236; A.R.S. § 21-315; A.R.S. § 21-334; repealed A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222. Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund from a modest filing fee to compensate jurors a minimum of $40 and a maximum of $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect at least $40 but not more than $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.  Provides for protection of small business owners by requiring the court to postpone the service of an employee if another employee of that business is already serving on a jury.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.  Provides for jurors to serve no more than one day unless selected to serve on a trial.  Provides that a willful failure to appear for jury duty is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2305 (2005); Amended A.R.S. § 21-202. Amends criteria for prospective jurors to be excused from service by permitting a person who is at least 75 years of age to have the option to be temporarily or permanently excused from service.  Provides that a judge or jury commissioner may temporarily excuse a prospective juror for good cause, such as a lack of transportation or absence from the jurisdiction.  Includes technical changes to the statement required for verification of the medical need for an excuse due to a mental or physical condition that makes the prospective juror unfit for service.

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2133 (2006); Amended A.R.S. § 21-222. Modifies key provisions of ALEC’s Jury Patriotism Act that was adopted in 2003 to make jurors eligible to receive compensation from the lengthy trial fund (up to $300 per day) for those who serve on juries for more than five days.  In such circumstances, jurors would then receive additional compensation beginning from the fourth day served.

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1142 (2012) Allows jurors of lengthy trials to begin being paid at the higher rate on the first day of service, instead of the fourth day, if their employer does not compensate them.

Colorado

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1159 (2004); Amended C.R.S. 13-71-104. Establishes stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from services. Provides protections for small business by allowing employees of small businesses to reschedule service if another employee from the same firm already is serving on a jury.

Juror Service Courts- H.B. 1153 (2011); C.R.S. 13-71-101- 13-71-133. Requires each juror service summons to include instructions for retrieving jury service acknowledgment information.  Allows jurors to be notified by telephone of date changes and requires juror service information to be available via internet for 12 months after time of juror service.  Changes mandatory payment to jurors from weekly to within 10 days after service for trial jurors, and "at least on a monthly basis" for grand jurors.

Indiana

Jury Service Reform: HB 2008 (2003); Amended La. R.S. 13:3041; La. R.S. 13:3042; La. R.S. 13:3044(c); La. R.S. 13:3106; La. R.S. 23:965(A)(1); Enacted La. R.S. 13:3042.1; La. R.S. 13.3050. Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect up to $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  The bill did not specify a financing mechanism, but tasked the Louisiana Supreme Court to develop recommendations for the Legislature to consider at some point in the future.  Prohibits employers from dismissing or otherwise subjecting employees to any adverse employment action for responding to a jury service summons.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 232 (2006). Provides a one-time postponement to another date within one year upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or necessity.  Protects an individual called for jury service who provides reasonable notice to his or her employer from being subjected to adverse employment action.  Prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees to use annual leave for jury service.  In addition, the legislation eliminates automatic postponement from jury service including those for ferry-keepers and persons employed in attendance at such ferry, people age 65 and older, government officials, legislators, armed services, veterinarians, dentists, Indianapolis School Board members, and police and fire department members. 

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1686 (2009); Amended Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-28-4-8 (repealed effective July 1, 2007). Provides that an individual at least 75 years of age may be exempted from jury duty if the individual requests an exemption from jury duty.

Maryland

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1185 (2005); HB 1185 (2005); Repealed Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 7-202(d), Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-202(5)(i)1.C., Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-207, Md. COURTS AN Increases juror compensation from $15 to $50 per day, after the fifth day of service.  Provided leave time protections for employees.

Missouri

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 494.432 R.S.Mo. Provides for stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from service.  Allows one automatic postponement from service.  Specifies a maximum fine of $500 for those who fail to appear for jury service.  Provides for employee protections which prohibits employers from requiring employees to use personal or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty.  Provides for small business protections which required a court to reschedule the service of a summoned juror if the juror works for an employer with five or fewer employees and has another employee already summoned during the same period. 

Mississippi

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 13 (special session) (2004); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23. Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per day, starting      on the eleventh day of service.  In such circumstances, jurors who can show hardship may also receive compensation of up to $100 per day from the fourth through tenth days of service.  Specifies circumstances under which jurors may be excused from service.  Provides for penalties for those who fail to appear: fines up to $500 and/or three days imprisonment, or alternatively community service.

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 2488 (2006); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23. Postpones the enactment of the jury service portion of H.B. 13 (2004) until January 1, 2008.

New Mexico

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 240 (2005); Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-10.1; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-2; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-3. Provides for: automatic postponement, allowing summoned jurors to reschedule     service within six months of the original date; small business protections, allowing jurors who work for employers with fewer than five employees to postpone service if another employee is summoned within the same time period; leave time protection; and an expansion of juror source lists to include income tax filers.  The legislation includes a hardship standard, defining that an excused juror must demonstrate that participating in their service would (1) be required to abandon another person under the person's care or supervision due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of jury service; (2) incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of necessary daily living expenses of the person or the person's dependent; or (3) suffer physical hardship that would result in illness or disease. Hardship would not exist solely because a prospective juror will be absent from employment.

Ohio

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 71 (2004); Amended ORC Ann. 2313.12; ORC Ann. 2313.16; ORC Ann. 2313.18; ORC Ann. 2313.34; ORC Ann. 2313.251; ORC Ann. 2313.99. Provides for one automatic postponement from service with the requirement that juror must reschedule service within six months of the original summons.  Sets stricter criteria to be excused from service and allowed citizens 75 years of age or older to be excused upon request.  Prohibits employers from taking any disciplinary action that could lead to the discharge of any permanent employee due to absence from work for jury duty.  Provides that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the time period of service.  Protected small business (with twenty five or fewer full-time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is summoned to jury service during the same period.  Reduces the maximum period of availability for jury service from three weeks to two weeks.  Provides for the establishment of an electronic juror notification system (cellular telephone, pager, or other forms of telecommunication) to alert the juror of the need to appear in person in court during the period of availability provided in the juror summons.  Eliminates the maximum permitted daily juror compensation rate of $40.  Provides the Board of County Commissioners with authority to provide a higher rate of compensation.  Increases the minimum fine for failure to appear for jury service from $25 to $100.  The maximum $250 was unchanged by the new law.

Oklahoma

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 479 (2004). Provides jurors the right to automatically postpone service one time.  Reduced the length of service from a two-week term to no more than one day unless selected to serve on a jury.  Limits jury service to once every two years.  Creates a lengthy trial fund which compensates jurors up to $200 per day, starting on the eleventh day of service – the fund is to be financed by a $10 filing fee on all civil cases.  Provides jurors employment protections by prohibiting employers from penalizing jurors who serve.  Provides small business protections by allowing an employee of a small business to differ service if another employee from the same firm is already serving in the same period.  Increases penalties for no-shows.

Oregon

Jury Service Reform: H.B. 3034 (2011). Provides that a judge or clerk of the court may not defer jury service for a person more than once unless the person seeks deferral for a specified emergency and the person could not have anticipated circumstances when the first deferral was granted.  Under the legislation, an employer may not require that an employee use vacation leave, sick leave, or annual leave for time spent by an employee in responding to summons for jury duty and the employer must allow the employee to take leave without pay for time spent.

Texas

Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1704 (2005). Increases juror pay in both civil and criminal cases from not less than $6 per day to not less than $40 per day, beginning on the second day of service.  The increased compensation is to be financed by a $4 fee placed on individuals convicted of a crime.  Provides prospective jurors with one automatic postponement from service, in which case service must be rescheduled within six months after the date of the original summons.

Utah

Jury Service Reform: HB 324 (2003). Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship or incur substantial costs or lost opportunities due to missing an event that was scheduled prior to the initial notice of potential jury service.  Provides that a person who fails to appear for jury duty is in contempt of court and subject to penalties under Title 78, Chapter 32, Contempt.  Provides that a person who willfully misrepresents a material fact regarding qualification for, excuse from, or postponement of jury service is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.

2012
Arizona
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1142 (2012)

Allows jurors of lengthy trials to begin being paid at the higher rate on the first day of service, instead of the fourth day, if their employer does not compensate them.

2011
Colorado
Juror Service Courts- H.B. 1153 (2011); C.R.S. 13-71-101- 13-71-133.

Requires each juror service summons to include instructions for retrieving jury service acknowledgment information.  Allows jurors to be notified by telephone of date changes and requires juror service information to be available via internet for 12 months after time of juror service.  Changes mandatory payment to jurors from weekly to within 10 days after service for trial jurors, and "at least on a monthly basis" for grand jurors.

2011
Oregon
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 3034 (2011).

Provides that a judge or clerk of the court may not defer jury service for a person more than once unless the person seeks deferral for a specified emergency and the person could not have anticipated circumstances when the first deferral was granted.  Under the legislation, an employer may not require that an employee use vacation leave, sick leave, or annual leave for time spent by an employee in responding to summons for jury duty and the employer must allow the employee to take leave without pay for time spent.

2009
Indiana
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1686 (2009); Amended Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-28-4-8 (repealed effective July 1, 2007).

Provides that an individual at least 75 years of age may be exempted from jury duty if the individual requests an exemption from jury duty.

2006
Indiana
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 232 (2006).

Provides a one-time postponement to another date within one year upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or necessity.  Protects an individual called for jury service who provides reasonable notice to his or her employer from being subjected to adverse employment action.  Prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees to use annual leave for jury service.  In addition, the legislation eliminates automatic postponement from jury service including those for ferry-keepers and persons employed in attendance at such ferry, people age 65 and older, government officials, legislators, armed services, veterinarians, dentists, Indianapolis School Board members, and police and fire department members. 

2006
Mississippi
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 2488 (2006); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23.

Postpones the enactment of the jury service portion of H.B. 13 (2004) until January 1, 2008.

2006
Arizona
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2133 (2006); Amended A.R.S. § 21-222.

Modifies key provisions of ALEC’s Jury Patriotism Act that was adopted in 2003 to make jurors eligible to receive compensation from the lengthy trial fund (up to $300 per day) for those who serve on juries for more than five days.  In such circumstances, jurors would then receive additional compensation beginning from the fourth day served.

2005
New Mexico
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 240 (2005); Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-10.1; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-2; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-3.

Provides for: automatic postponement, allowing summoned jurors to reschedule     service within six months of the original date; small business protections, allowing jurors who work for employers with fewer than five employees to postpone service if another employee is summoned within the same time period; leave time protection; and an expansion of juror source lists to include income tax filers.  The legislation includes a hardship standard, defining that an excused juror must demonstrate that participating in their service would (1) be required to abandon another person under the person's care or supervision due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of jury service; (2) incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of necessary daily living expenses of the person or the person's dependent; or (3) suffer physical hardship that would result in illness or disease. Hardship would not exist solely because a prospective juror will be absent from employment.

2005
Texas
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1704 (2005).

Increases juror pay in both civil and criminal cases from not less than $6 per day to not less than $40 per day, beginning on the second day of service.  The increased compensation is to be financed by a $4 fee placed on individuals convicted of a crime.  Provides prospective jurors with one automatic postponement from service, in which case service must be rescheduled within six months after the date of the original summons.

2005
Maryland
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1185 (2005); HB 1185 (2005); Repealed Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 7-202(d), Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-202(5)(i)1.C., Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-207, Md. COURTS AN

Increases juror compensation from $15 to $50 per day, after the fifth day of service.  Provided leave time protections for employees.

2005
Alabama
Jury Service Reform: SB 87 (special session) (2005).

Provided the right to one automatic postponement with the requirement that service be rescheduled within six months of the original summons.  Protected small businesses (defined as having five or fewer full time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is already serving.  Limited the frequency of service to no more than once every two years.  Prohibited an employer from taking any adverse employment action against an employee solely because the person serves on a jury.  Clarified that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the period in which he or she leaves.  Set stricter for prospective jurors to be excused from service.  Increased the maximum fine for contempt for failure to appear from $100 to $300.

2005
Arizona
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2305 (2005); Amended A.R.S. § 21-202.

Amends criteria for prospective jurors to be excused from service by permitting a person who is at least 75 years of age to have the option to be temporarily or permanently excused from service.  Provides that a judge or jury commissioner may temporarily excuse a prospective juror for good cause, such as a lack of transportation or absence from the jurisdiction.  Includes technical changes to the statement required for verification of the medical need for an excuse due to a mental or physical condition that makes the prospective juror unfit for service.

2004
Ohio
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 71 (2004); Amended ORC Ann. 2313.12; ORC Ann. 2313.16; ORC Ann. 2313.18; ORC Ann. 2313.34; ORC Ann. 2313.251; ORC Ann. 2313.99.

Provides for one automatic postponement from service with the requirement that juror must reschedule service within six months of the original summons.  Sets stricter criteria to be excused from service and allowed citizens 75 years of age or older to be excused upon request.  Prohibits employers from taking any disciplinary action that could lead to the discharge of any permanent employee due to absence from work for jury duty.  Provides that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the time period of service.  Protected small business (with twenty five or fewer full-time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is summoned to jury service during the same period.  Reduces the maximum period of availability for jury service from three weeks to two weeks.  Provides for the establishment of an electronic juror notification system (cellular telephone, pager, or other forms of telecommunication) to alert the juror of the need to appear in person in court during the period of availability provided in the juror summons.  Eliminates the maximum permitted daily juror compensation rate of $40.  Provides the Board of County Commissioners with authority to provide a higher rate of compensation.  Increases the minimum fine for failure to appear for jury service from $25 to $100.  The maximum $250 was unchanged by the new law.

2004
Oklahoma
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 479 (2004).

Provides jurors the right to automatically postpone service one time.  Reduced the length of service from a two-week term to no more than one day unless selected to serve on a jury.  Limits jury service to once every two years.  Creates a lengthy trial fund which compensates jurors up to $200 per day, starting on the eleventh day of service – the fund is to be financed by a $10 filing fee on all civil cases.  Provides jurors employment protections by prohibiting employers from penalizing jurors who serve.  Provides small business protections by allowing an employee of a small business to differ service if another employee from the same firm is already serving in the same period.  Increases penalties for no-shows.

2004
Colorado
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1159 (2004); Amended C.R.S. 13-71-104.

Establishes stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from services. Provides protections for small business by allowing employees of small businesses to reschedule service if another employee from the same firm already is serving on a jury.

2004
Mississippi
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 13 (special session) (2004); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23.

Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per day, starting      on the eleventh day of service.  In such circumstances, jurors who can show hardship may also receive compensation of up to $100 per day from the fourth through tenth days of service.  Specifies circumstances under which jurors may be excused from service.  Provides for penalties for those who fail to appear: fines up to $500 and/or three days imprisonment, or alternatively community service.

2004
Missouri
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 494.432 R.S.Mo.

Provides for stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from service.  Allows one automatic postponement from service.  Specifies a maximum fine of $500 for those who fail to appear for jury service.  Provides for employee protections which prohibits employers from requiring employees to use personal or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty.  Provides for small business protections which required a court to reschedule the service of a summoned juror if the juror works for an employer with five or fewer employees and has another employee already summoned during the same period. 

2003
Arizona
Jury Service Reform: HB 2520 (2003); A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222; A.R.S. § 21-335; A.R.S. § 21-336, A.R.S. § 21-336.01; amended A.R.S. § 21-202; A.R.S. § 21-236; A.R.S. § 21-315; A.R.S. § 21-334; repealed A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222.

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund from a modest filing fee to compensate jurors a minimum of $40 and a maximum of $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect at least $40 but not more than $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.  Provides for protection of small business owners by requiring the court to postpone the service of an employee if another employee of that business is already serving on a jury.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.  Provides for jurors to serve no more than one day unless selected to serve on a trial.  Provides that a willful failure to appear for jury duty is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

2003
Utah
Jury Service Reform: HB 324 (2003).

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship or incur substantial costs or lost opportunities due to missing an event that was scheduled prior to the initial notice of potential jury service.  Provides that a person who fails to appear for jury duty is in contempt of court and subject to penalties under Title 78, Chapter 32, Contempt.  Provides that a person who willfully misrepresents a material fact regarding qualification for, excuse from, or postponement of jury service is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.

2003
Indiana
Jury Service Reform: HB 2008 (2003); Amended La. R.S. 13:3041; La. R.S. 13:3042; La. R.S. 13:3044(c); La. R.S. 13:3106; La. R.S. 23:965(A)(1); Enacted La. R.S. 13:3042.1; La. R.S. 13.3050.

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect up to $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  The bill did not specify a financing mechanism, but tasked the Louisiana Supreme Court to develop recommendations for the Legislature to consider at some point in the future.  Prohibits employers from dismissing or otherwise subjecting employees to any adverse employment action for responding to a jury service summons.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.

1993
Arizona
Other Reforms.

In 1993, Arizona became one of the first states to initiate a major jury reform initiative when the Arizona Supreme Court established its Committee on the More Effective Use of Juries.  The Committee adopted 55 recommendations.  Fifteen of these recommendations resulted in immediate changes to the Supreme Court Rules.  The implemented reforms primarily aim to increase juror comprehension and involvement in trials.  These reforms include encouraging mini-opening statements prior to voir dire, giving jurors copies of jury instructions, providing juror notebooks, allowing jurors to ask questions, and allowing jurors to discuss the evidence among themselves during civil trials. Arizona’s reform is viewed as a model by other states.  Arizona did not succeed, however, in implementing universal service recommendations such as expanding juror source lists, using follow-up procedures for non-respondents to jury service, carefully monitoring deferral or excuses from service, and revising statutory provisions for jury pay.

Colorado
Notes:

In 1996, the Colorado Supreme Court established its Committee on the Effective and Efficient Use of Juries using Arizona and California as its models.  Based on the Committee’s recommendations, the legislature eliminated occupation as a lawyer as ground for challenge for cause in a criminal trial and developed a procedure for insuring exemption from the jury pool after service.  The Supreme Court also implemented various comprehension reforms through rule changes, judicial training, and court order.  These include permitting juror notebooks, allowing use of deposition summaries, instructing jurors that note taking is permitted, and experimenting with pre-deliberative discussions through a pilot program.  Although the Committee developed legislation for sanctioning those who do not respond to juror summonses, it does not appear that the legislature enacted this proposal.

New York
NY Note:

In 1993, Chief Judge Judith Kaye established the Jury Project, a statewide jury reform commission, in order to improve the response rate to juror summonses, ensure more representative juror pools, and improve the public’s understanding of jury service.  Prior to its reform effort, New York had 26 professional exemptions ranging from judges, lawyers, physicians, and police officers to ministers, podiatrists, optometrists, volunteer firefighters, and Christian Scientists.  Remarkably, these exemptions excluded over one million of New York’s citizens from the jury pool and contributed to a shortage of jurors in the 1990s.  At that time, New York courts only paid $15 per day to jurors for their service.  In December 1995, the New York legislature passed a law expanding juror source lists, eliminating all occupational disqualifications, eliminating all exemptions from jury service, providing for one deferral of jury service as of right and a 800 number to reschedule, simplifying summons enforcement procedures, increasing the juror fee to $40 and abolishing separate reimbursement for transportation costs, requiring employers with over 10 employees to pay the juror-employee’s fee for the first three days, and creating an ombudsman to administer and enforce the law prohibiting employers from penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service.  The court also adopted various reforms to increase juror comprehension and public education, and invested significant resources to improve court facilities and services.  Following New York’s reform, press reports hailed the increased diversity of the jury pool and the greater willingness of those summoned to serve.

California
California Notes

In 1995, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court and the California Judicial Council, the research and policymaking body of the court system, established a Blue Ribbon Commission on jury reform.  Several of the Commission’s recommendations involved universal service such as providing mandatory procedures for enforcing jury summonses, increasing juror fees, requiring all employers to continue paying usual compensation for the first three days of jury service, developing tax credits for employers continuing to pay employees during jury service, and providing a list of factors judges should use when making the “good cause” determination. The Judicial Council appears to have had limited success convincing the legislature to implement its recommendations.  In 2002, California trial courts adopted a one-day/one-trial system to lessen the burden of service on jurors and the California Supreme Court amended California Rules of Court 701 to strengthen standards for hardship excuses.

Tennessee
TN Note:

In 1998, the Tennessee Bar Association formed the Jury Reform Commission.  In its May 1999 report, the Commission recommended that the legislature increase juror pay from $10 to $40 per day, plus parking costs, with a cost of living adjustment.  The Committee also recommended that the legislature eliminate occupational and disability exemptions from jury service, expand juror source lists, and adopt a one-day/one-trial model. The report also included recommendations to the court system for various reforms to improve juror comprehension such as juror note taking, juror questioning of witnesses, juror notebooks, instructions at the beginning of trial, and written jury instructions in civil cases.  The court implemented many of the reforms aimed at improving comprehension during a six-month pilot project commencing in September of 2001.  The court recently extended this pilot project, which includes model jury instructions on notetaking and juror questioning of witnesses, indefinitely.

Despite the Commission’s success in implementing jury trial reforms, Tennessee continues to have numerous professional exemptions, which provide members of chosen professions with an automatic postponement of jury service not enjoyed by others.  These include all persons holding elected office; practicing attorneys, certified public accountants, public accountants, physicians and clergy; acting professors or teachers of any college, school or institution of learning; members of fire companies and all full-time law enforcement officers; persons over sixty-five (65) years of age, disabled by bodily infirmity or specially exempted by any other positive law; pharmacists; persons not in the full possession of the senses of hearing or seeing; and practicing registered professional nurses upon written confirmation by the hospital administrator that jury duty service would compromise patient care.   Tennessee jurors also continue to receive a mere $10 per diem fee.  Tennessee law does, however, require businesses with over five employees to pay their employees their regular wage, minus the juror fee, during the entire period of jury service.

District Of Columbia
Notes:

The Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit organization, established the D.C. Jury Project Planning Committee in April 1996.  In 1998, the Council published its recommendations in “Juries for the Year 2000 and Beyond.”  The District court system has implemented several of these recommendations.  It changed the jury selection process to have every potential juror answer at least one question in open court and to provide attorneys with more information about jurors so that they could make decisions based on biases rather than appearance.  The District also expanded and improved the accuracy of its juror source lists; a change that has saved thousands of dollars in postage for undeliverable summonses. The District’s court system expanded communication with and education of jurors through a new orientation video, handouts, and brochures.  The court system has encouraged judges to adopt various comprehension reforms through judicial training such as allowing jurors to take notes, providing jurors with exhibit notebooks in extended trials, permitting counsel to make interim summations, and providing written jury instructions for the jury’s use in deliberations. 

Prior to the D.C. Jury Project, jurors received a $2 transportation fee and $30 per day for every day they are seated on a jury.  Thus, on the first day of trial, jurors received only a negligible transportation fee.  District of Columbia law already required that businesses with over ten employees pay employees their daily wage, minus the court fee, for up to five days of service.  However, the Council recognized that the self-employed, unemployed, contract workers, and those who work for small employers receive no compensation for the first day of service.  The Council, noting that the federal courts pay $40 per day for the first thirty days of jury service and $50 thereafter, recommended that the District raise the daily fee to at least cover the minimum cost of transportation.  The Council also recommended that jurors receive a lunch stipend on the first day. In 1999, the Council had limited success when the District increased juror travel pay from $2 to $4 per day.  The District has not otherwise increased juror fees or provided a lunch stipend.

Texas
TX Note:

In 1999, the Texas Legislature adopted several recommendations of the Texas Supreme Court’s Jury Task Force.  These reforms included increasing juror pay from $6 per day to a rate that varies based on the length of jury service, establishing a uniform juror summons and questionnaire form, exempting from jury service those who have served within the past three years, and strengthening civil penalties and adding criminal penalties against employers who fire or threaten employees for performing jury duties.

Maryland
MD Notes:

In 1998, the Maryland Court of Appeals established the Council on Jury Use and Management.  The Council completed a study through the work of three committees: Jury Pool and Summonsing Process; Quality of Jury Experience; and Trial Procedures and Role of Jury.  One of the Council’s top recommendations was for the legislature to consider enactment of a law requiring employers to compensate employees called for jury duty, paying the difference between daily juror pay provided by the court and the normal daily rate of compensation, with the employer obligation extending to a maximum of three days.  The Council also recommended various reforms to the court system such as increasing juror comprehension and more actively involving jurors in the trial, expanding juror sources lists, providing better orientation of jurors before they report for duty, and offering jurors day care services.  It appears that the legislature has not yet adopted the Council’s recommendations.  Jurors continue to receive $15 per day from the state for their service and counties may supplement the State per diem amount by local ordinance.  Employers may not fire employees for lost time due to jury service, but are under no legal obligation to pay their employees for time spent as jurors.

Mississippi
MS Note:

In 1988, Mississippi enacted HB 774, which removed the exemption from jury service previously enjoyed by doctors and lawyers.

Constitutionality: Unchallenged

Arizona
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1142 (2012)

Allows jurors of lengthy trials to begin being paid at the higher rate on the first day of service, instead of the fourth day, if their employer does not compensate them.

Colorado
Juror Service Courts- H.B. 1153 (2011); C.R.S. 13-71-101- 13-71-133.

Requires each juror service summons to include instructions for retrieving jury service acknowledgment information.  Allows jurors to be notified by telephone of date changes and requires juror service information to be available via internet for 12 months after time of juror service.  Changes mandatory payment to jurors from weekly to within 10 days after service for trial jurors, and "at least on a monthly basis" for grand jurors.

Oregon
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 3034 (2011).

Provides that a judge or clerk of the court may not defer jury service for a person more than once unless the person seeks deferral for a specified emergency and the person could not have anticipated circumstances when the first deferral was granted.  Under the legislation, an employer may not require that an employee use vacation leave, sick leave, or annual leave for time spent by an employee in responding to summons for jury duty and the employer must allow the employee to take leave without pay for time spent.

Indiana
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1686 (2009); Amended Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-28-4-8 (repealed effective July 1, 2007).

Provides that an individual at least 75 years of age may be exempted from jury duty if the individual requests an exemption from jury duty.

Indiana
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 232 (2006).

Provides a one-time postponement to another date within one year upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or necessity.  Protects an individual called for jury service who provides reasonable notice to his or her employer from being subjected to adverse employment action.  Prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees to use annual leave for jury service.  In addition, the legislation eliminates automatic postponement from jury service including those for ferry-keepers and persons employed in attendance at such ferry, people age 65 and older, government officials, legislators, armed services, veterinarians, dentists, Indianapolis School Board members, and police and fire department members. 

Mississippi
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 2488 (2006); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23.

Postpones the enactment of the jury service portion of H.B. 13 (2004) until January 1, 2008.

Arizona
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2133 (2006); Amended A.R.S. § 21-222.

Modifies key provisions of ALEC’s Jury Patriotism Act that was adopted in 2003 to make jurors eligible to receive compensation from the lengthy trial fund (up to $300 per day) for those who serve on juries for more than five days.  In such circumstances, jurors would then receive additional compensation beginning from the fourth day served.

New Mexico
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 240 (2005); Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-10.1; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-2; Amended N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-5-3.

Provides for: automatic postponement, allowing summoned jurors to reschedule     service within six months of the original date; small business protections, allowing jurors who work for employers with fewer than five employees to postpone service if another employee is summoned within the same time period; leave time protection; and an expansion of juror source lists to include income tax filers.  The legislation includes a hardship standard, defining that an excused juror must demonstrate that participating in their service would (1) be required to abandon another person under the person's care or supervision due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of jury service; (2) incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of necessary daily living expenses of the person or the person's dependent; or (3) suffer physical hardship that would result in illness or disease. Hardship would not exist solely because a prospective juror will be absent from employment.

Texas
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 1704 (2005).

Increases juror pay in both civil and criminal cases from not less than $6 per day to not less than $40 per day, beginning on the second day of service.  The increased compensation is to be financed by a $4 fee placed on individuals convicted of a crime.  Provides prospective jurors with one automatic postponement from service, in which case service must be rescheduled within six months after the date of the original summons.

Maryland
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1185 (2005); HB 1185 (2005); Repealed Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 7-202(d), Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-202(5)(i)1.C., Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 8-207, Md. COURTS AN

Increases juror compensation from $15 to $50 per day, after the fifth day of service.  Provided leave time protections for employees.

Alabama
Jury Service Reform: SB 87 (special session) (2005).

Provided the right to one automatic postponement with the requirement that service be rescheduled within six months of the original summons.  Protected small businesses (defined as having five or fewer full time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is already serving.  Limited the frequency of service to no more than once every two years.  Prohibited an employer from taking any adverse employment action against an employee solely because the person serves on a jury.  Clarified that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the period in which he or she leaves.  Set stricter for prospective jurors to be excused from service.  Increased the maximum fine for contempt for failure to appear from $100 to $300.

Arizona
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 2305 (2005); Amended A.R.S. § 21-202.

Amends criteria for prospective jurors to be excused from service by permitting a person who is at least 75 years of age to have the option to be temporarily or permanently excused from service.  Provides that a judge or jury commissioner may temporarily excuse a prospective juror for good cause, such as a lack of transportation or absence from the jurisdiction.  Includes technical changes to the statement required for verification of the medical need for an excuse due to a mental or physical condition that makes the prospective juror unfit for service.

Ohio
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 71 (2004); Amended ORC Ann. 2313.12; ORC Ann. 2313.16; ORC Ann. 2313.18; ORC Ann. 2313.34; ORC Ann. 2313.251; ORC Ann. 2313.99.

Provides for one automatic postponement from service with the requirement that juror must reschedule service within six months of the original summons.  Sets stricter criteria to be excused from service and allowed citizens 75 years of age or older to be excused upon request.  Prohibits employers from taking any disciplinary action that could lead to the discharge of any permanent employee due to absence from work for jury duty.  Provides that employers may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave time for the time period of service.  Protected small business (with twenty five or fewer full-time employees) by requiring the court to postpone and reschedule the service of an employee of a small business if another employee of that employer is summoned to jury service during the same period.  Reduces the maximum period of availability for jury service from three weeks to two weeks.  Provides for the establishment of an electronic juror notification system (cellular telephone, pager, or other forms of telecommunication) to alert the juror of the need to appear in person in court during the period of availability provided in the juror summons.  Eliminates the maximum permitted daily juror compensation rate of $40.  Provides the Board of County Commissioners with authority to provide a higher rate of compensation.  Increases the minimum fine for failure to appear for jury service from $25 to $100.  The maximum $250 was unchanged by the new law.

Oklahoma
Jury Service Reform: S.B. 479 (2004).

Provides jurors the right to automatically postpone service one time.  Reduced the length of service from a two-week term to no more than one day unless selected to serve on a jury.  Limits jury service to once every two years.  Creates a lengthy trial fund which compensates jurors up to $200 per day, starting on the eleventh day of service – the fund is to be financed by a $10 filing fee on all civil cases.  Provides jurors employment protections by prohibiting employers from penalizing jurors who serve.  Provides small business protections by allowing an employee of a small business to differ service if another employee from the same firm is already serving in the same period.  Increases penalties for no-shows.

Colorado
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1159 (2004); Amended C.R.S. 13-71-104.

Establishes stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from services. Provides protections for small business by allowing employees of small businesses to reschedule service if another employee from the same firm already is serving on a jury.

Mississippi
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 13 (special session) (2004); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 13-5-23.

Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per day, starting      on the eleventh day of service.  In such circumstances, jurors who can show hardship may also receive compensation of up to $100 per day from the fourth through tenth days of service.  Specifies circumstances under which jurors may be excused from service.  Provides for penalties for those who fail to appear: fines up to $500 and/or three days imprisonment, or alternatively community service.

Missouri
Jury Service Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 494.432 R.S.Mo.

Provides for stricter criteria for jurors to be excused from service.  Allows one automatic postponement from service.  Specifies a maximum fine of $500 for those who fail to appear for jury service.  Provides for employee protections which prohibits employers from requiring employees to use personal or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty.  Provides for small business protections which required a court to reschedule the service of a summoned juror if the juror works for an employer with five or fewer employees and has another employee already summoned during the same period. 

Arizona
Jury Service Reform: HB 2520 (2003); A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222; A.R.S. § 21-335; A.R.S. § 21-336, A.R.S. § 21-336.01; amended A.R.S. § 21-202; A.R.S. § 21-236; A.R.S. § 21-315; A.R.S. § 21-334; repealed A.R.S. § 21-115; A.R.S. § 21-222.

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund from a modest filing fee to compensate jurors a minimum of $40 and a maximum of $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect at least $40 but not more than $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.  Provides for protection of small business owners by requiring the court to postpone the service of an employee if another employee of that business is already serving on a jury.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.  Provides for jurors to serve no more than one day unless selected to serve on a trial.  Provides that a willful failure to appear for jury duty is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Utah
Jury Service Reform: HB 324 (2003).

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship or incur substantial costs or lost opportunities due to missing an event that was scheduled prior to the initial notice of potential jury service.  Provides that a person who fails to appear for jury duty is in contempt of court and subject to penalties under Title 78, Chapter 32, Contempt.  Provides that a person who willfully misrepresents a material fact regarding qualification for, excuse from, or postponement of jury service is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.  Provides for employee protection by prohibiting an employer to require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave for the time spent in the jury service process.  In addition, it prohibits employers to dismiss or in any other way penalize employees for responding to a jury service summons.

Indiana
Jury Service Reform: HB 2008 (2003); Amended La. R.S. 13:3041; La. R.S. 13:3042; La. R.S. 13:3044(c); La. R.S. 13:3106; La. R.S. 23:965(A)(1); Enacted La. R.S. 13:3042.1; La. R.S. 13.3050.

Requires all people to serve on juries unless they experience undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  Establishes a lengthy trial fund to compensate jurors up to $300 per juror, per day for trials lasting more than 10 days, starting on the eleventh day of trial.  In such circumstances, jurors would also be eligible to retroactively collect up to $100 per day from the fourth day to the tenth day of service.  The bill did not specify a financing mechanism, but tasked the Louisiana Supreme Court to develop recommendations for the Legislature to consider at some point in the future.  Prohibits employers from dismissing or otherwise subjecting employees to any adverse employment action for responding to a jury service summons.  Allows for one automatic postponement from service.

Arizona
Other Reforms.

In 1993, Arizona became one of the first states to initiate a major jury reform initiative when the Arizona Supreme Court established its Committee on the More Effective Use of Juries.  The Committee adopted 55 recommendations.  Fifteen of these recommendations resulted in immediate changes to the Supreme Court Rules.  The implemented reforms primarily aim to increase juror comprehension and involvement in trials.  These reforms include encouraging mini-opening statements prior to voir dire, giving jurors copies of jury instructions, providing juror notebooks, allowing jurors to ask questions, and allowing jurors to discuss the evidence among themselves during civil trials. Arizona’s reform is viewed as a model by other states.  Arizona did not succeed, however, in implementing universal service recommendations such as expanding juror source lists, using follow-up procedures for non-respondents to jury service, carefully monitoring deferral or excuses from service, and revising statutory provisions for jury pay.

New York
NY Note:

In 1993, Chief Judge Judith Kaye established the Jury Project, a statewide jury reform commission, in order to improve the response rate to juror summonses, ensure more representative juror pools, and improve the public’s understanding of jury service.  Prior to its reform effort, New York had 26 professional exemptions ranging from judges, lawyers, physicians, and police officers to ministers, podiatrists, optometrists, volunteer firefighters, and Christian Scientists.  Remarkably, these exemptions excluded over one million of New York’s citizens from the jury pool and contributed to a shortage of jurors in the 1990s.  At that time, New York courts only paid $15 per day to jurors for their service.  In December 1995, the New York legislature passed a law expanding juror source lists, eliminating all occupational disqualifications, eliminating all exemptions from jury service, providing for one deferral of jury service as of right and a 800 number to reschedule, simplifying summons enforcement procedures, increasing the juror fee to $40 and abolishing separate reimbursement for transportation costs, requiring employers with over 10 employees to pay the juror-employee’s fee for the first three days, and creating an ombudsman to administer and enforce the law prohibiting employers from penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service.  The court also adopted various reforms to increase juror comprehension and public education, and invested significant resources to improve court facilities and services.  Following New York’s reform, press reports hailed the increased diversity of the jury pool and the greater willingness of those summoned to serve.

California
California Notes

In 1995, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court and the California Judicial Council, the research and policymaking body of the court system, established a Blue Ribbon Commission on jury reform.  Several of the Commission’s recommendations involved universal service such as providing mandatory procedures for enforcing jury summonses, increasing juror fees, requiring all employers to continue paying usual compensation for the first three days of jury service, developing tax credits for employers continuing to pay employees during jury service, and providing a list of factors judges should use when making the “good cause” determination. The Judicial Council appears to have had limited success convincing the legislature to implement its recommendations.  In 2002, California trial courts adopted a one-day/one-trial system to lessen the burden of service on jurors and the California Supreme Court amended California Rules of Court 701 to strengthen standards for hardship excuses.

Tennessee
TN Note:

In 1998, the Tennessee Bar Association formed the Jury Reform Commission.  In its May 1999 report, the Commission recommended that the legislature increase juror pay from $10 to $40 per day, plus parking costs, with a cost of living adjustment.  The Committee also recommended that the legislature eliminate occupational and disability exemptions from jury service, expand juror source lists, and adopt a one-day/one-trial model. The report also included recommendations to the court system for various reforms to improve juror comprehension such as juror note taking, juror questioning of witnesses, juror notebooks, instructions at the beginning of trial, and written jury instructions in civil cases.  The court implemented many of the reforms aimed at improving comprehension during a six-month pilot project commencing in September of 2001.  The court recently extended this pilot project, which includes model jury instructions on notetaking and juror questioning of witnesses, indefinitely.

Despite the Commission’s success in implementing jury trial reforms, Tennessee continues to have numerous professional exemptions, which provide members of chosen professions with an automatic postponement of jury service not enjoyed by others.  These include all persons holding elected office; practicing attorneys, certified public accountants, public accountants, physicians and clergy; acting professors or teachers of any college, school or institution of learning; members of fire companies and all full-time law enforcement officers; persons over sixty-five (65) years of age, disabled by bodily infirmity or specially exempted by any other positive law; pharmacists; persons not in the full possession of the senses of hearing or seeing; and practicing registered professional nurses upon written confirmation by the hospital administrator that jury duty service would compromise patient care.   Tennessee jurors also continue to receive a mere $10 per diem fee.  Tennessee law does, however, require businesses with over five employees to pay their employees their regular wage, minus the juror fee, during the entire period of jury service.

District Of Columbia
Notes:

The Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit organization, established the D.C. Jury Project Planning Committee in April 1996.  In 1998, the Council published its recommendations in “Juries for the Year 2000 and Beyond.”  The District court system has implemented several of these recommendations.  It changed the jury selection process to have every potential juror answer at least one question in open court and to provide attorneys with more information about jurors so that they could make decisions based on biases rather than appearance.  The District also expanded and improved the accuracy of its juror source lists; a change that has saved thousands of dollars in postage for undeliverable summonses. The District’s court system expanded communication with and education of jurors through a new orientation video, handouts, and brochures.  The court system has encouraged judges to adopt various comprehension reforms through judicial training such as allowing jurors to take notes, providing jurors with exhibit notebooks in extended trials, permitting counsel to make interim summations, and providing written jury instructions for the jury’s use in deliberations. 

Prior to the D.C. Jury Project, jurors received a $2 transportation fee and $30 per day for every day they are seated on a jury.  Thus, on the first day of trial, jurors received only a negligible transportation fee.  District of Columbia law already required that businesses with over ten employees pay employees their daily wage, minus the court fee, for up to five days of service.  However, the Council recognized that the self-employed, unemployed, contract workers, and those who work for small employers receive no compensation for the first day of service.  The Council, noting that the federal courts pay $40 per day for the first thirty days of jury service and $50 thereafter, recommended that the District raise the daily fee to at least cover the minimum cost of transportation.  The Council also recommended that jurors receive a lunch stipend on the first day. In 1999, the Council had limited success when the District increased juror travel pay from $2 to $4 per day.  The District has not otherwise increased juror fees or provided a lunch stipend.

Texas
TX Note:

In 1999, the Texas Legislature adopted several recommendations of the Texas Supreme Court’s Jury Task Force.  These reforms included increasing juror pay from $6 per day to a rate that varies based on the length of jury service, establishing a uniform juror summons and questionnaire form, exempting from jury service those who have served within the past three years, and strengthening civil penalties and adding criminal penalties against employers who fire or threaten employees for performing jury duties.

Maryland
MD Notes:

In 1998, the Maryland Court of Appeals established the Council on Jury Use and Management.  The Council completed a study through the work of three committees: Jury Pool and Summonsing Process; Quality of Jury Experience; and Trial Procedures and Role of Jury.  One of the Council’s top recommendations was for the legislature to consider enactment of a law requiring employers to compensate employees called for jury duty, paying the difference between daily juror pay provided by the court and the normal daily rate of compensation, with the employer obligation extending to a maximum of three days.  The Council also recommended various reforms to the court system such as increasing juror comprehension and more actively involving jurors in the trial, expanding juror sources lists, providing better orientation of jurors before they report for duty, and offering jurors day care services.  It appears that the legislature has not yet adopted the Council’s recommendations.  Jurors continue to receive $15 per day from the state for their service and counties may supplement the State per diem amount by local ordinance.  Employers may not fire employees for lost time due to jury service, but are under no legal obligation to pay their employees for time spent as jurors.

Mississippi
MS Note:

In 1988, Mississippi enacted HB 774, which removed the exemption from jury service previously enjoyed by doctors and lawyers.

Constitutionality:

Colorado
Notes:

In 1996, the Colorado Supreme Court established its Committee on the Effective and Efficient Use of Juries using Arizona and California as its models.  Based on the Committee’s recommendations, the legislature eliminated occupation as a lawyer as ground for challenge for cause in a criminal trial and developed a procedure for insuring exemption from the jury pool after service.  The Supreme Court also implemented various comprehension reforms through rule changes, judicial training, and court order.  These include permitting juror notebooks, allowing use of deposition summaries, instructing jurors that note taking is permitted, and experimenting with pre-deliberative discussions through a pilot program.  Although the Committee developed legislation for sanctioning those who do not respond to juror summonses, it does not appear that the legislature enacted this proposal.