Legislation to increase compensation for jurors emerged from a conference committee in the final days of the session with an increase from $30 to $50 per day, rather than from $30 to $100, as originally proposed. HB 2317 (Williams Graves) and SB 789 (Spruill), as introduced, would have increased the compensation to $100 per day; HB 2317 was amended in House Appropriations to provide for an increase to $50, while the Senate approved the original increase to $100. A compromise of $50 emerged from conference. This more incremental approach was preferable for local governments, as compensation for jurors in civil cases is funded by localities, while compensation for jurors in criminal cases is funded by the state (with the exception of misdemeanor cases where the charge is written on a local warrant or summons, in which case the jurors are paid by the locality in which the summons is issued).
Juror compensation was last increased in 1993 (from $20 to $30). Legislation to increase the daily rate to $100 was also considered during the 2022 session but was ultimately reduced to $50 and then tabled in House Appropriations over concerns about the uncertainty of estimating the impact on the state. A 2022 report published by the National Center for State Courts found that $50 was the highest amount provided by any state compensating jurors though a flat rate per diem fee, as Virginia does; $50 was also the highest amount paid by states that use a graduated fee system (in which jurors are paid a reduced flat rate fee on the first day of service and an increased fee after being sworn in as a trial juror or after a certain number of days of service). Some states also provide compensation to jurors for travel expenses, and several require employers to compensate employees with their regular wages or salaries for a certain number of days while serving as jurors.
VACo Contacts: Katie Boyle, Phyllis Errico, Esq., CAE, and Joe Lerch, AICP