The Price of Justice

Nationally, only about 46 percent of people summoned for jury duty show up, according to a survey by the National Center for State Courts. To boost...
by | August 15, 2007

Nationally, only about 46 percent of people summoned for jury duty show up, according to a survey by the National Center for State Courts. To boost the participation rate, two Washington State counties and one municipal court system in the state have raised jury pay from $10 a day to over $60 a day -- the equivalent of eight hours at the state's minimum wage -- as part of a state-funded pilot project to see if raising jurors' compensation will get a greater number and more diverse pool of people to serve. The Jury Pay Pilot Program, in Franklin and Clark counties and Des Moines Municipal Court, started last November, and will run through October. The results will be available in early 2008, and if positive, the legislature will consider boosting the daily compensation rate statewide. The project was launched after a state jury commission report found that economic hardship was one of the top reasons people dodge jury duty. The National Center for State Courts found that in addition to raising pay, other jurisdictions have tried running ad campaigns, eliminating occupational exemptions, and summoning and fining no-shows. To learn more about the pilot project, contact the state Administrative Office of the Courts at 360-753-3365.