Missouri Chief Justice Calls for Urgent Increase in Juror Pay: State Representative Rudy Veit Supports Proposal

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court is calling for an increase in juror pay, citing embarrassment among judges in the state when disclosing the current rate. Chief Justice Mary Russell made the plea during the 2024 State of the Judiciary address held in Jefferson City. She emphasized that Missouri’s statutory minimum for juror pay has remained unchanged since 1989, at just $6 per day plus seven cents per mile for travel expenses. State Representative Rudy Veit, the vice chair of the Missouri House Judiciary Committee, is backing the chief justice’s proposal to improve juror compensation.

Veit, a Republican representing Wardsville, agrees with Chief Justice Russell’s concerns about the impact of low juror pay on jurors’ ability to fully focus on their responsibilities in the courtroom. He highlights how asking jurors to commit several weeks to a trial becomes challenging when they have other pressing matters in their lives.

To address this issue, Representative Veit has introduced a bipartisan bill to raise juror pay. However, his three-page House bill 1457 has yet to receive a hearing. Veit emphasizes the need for an increase in juror compensation to ensure that jurors can dedicate their full attention to the cases they are hearing.

Improving juror pay is seen as a necessary step to ensure the effectiveness and fairness of the judicial system in Missouri. Higher compensation could alleviate financial burdens on jurors and allow them to better focus on the evidence and arguments presented during trials.

The low juror pay in Missouri is a long-standing issue that deserves attention. By increasing compensation, the state can demonstrate its commitment to upholding justice and provide jurors with the support they need to fulfill their duties effectively.

Efforts to address this issue will require the cooperation of lawmakers in the state. With backing from Chief Justice Russell and Representative Veit, there is hope for progress in improving juror pay and promoting a more equitable and efficient judicial system in Missouri.

As the conversation continues, it remains to be seen when Veit’s bill will receive a hearing and if it will garner support from fellow lawmakers. The importance of adequate juror pay cannot be overstated, and it is crucial that Missouri takes steps to rectify this issue and ensure that jurors are fairly compensated for their time and service.