Jury box
A jury box at Superior Court in downtown San Diego. Courtesy of the court

Assembly Member Chris Ward from San Diego has reintroduced a bill to increase the compensation for California citizens serving on grand juries to encourage more diversity.

His bill would raise the daily compensation — currently just $15 to $25 in different California counties — to attract a more diverse group of citizens.

“The people that serve on grand juries are largely volunteers and not always reflective of the communities they are representing,” said Ward.

He said grand juries often lack racial and ethnic minorities and do not reflect a broad range of experience in the community.

“Ensuring that jurors are fairly compensated for their time while increasing transparency around the jury selection process will attract a more diverse pool of people to serve,” Ward said.

His bill would tie compensation to the prevailing wage rate or income level of the county where the jury is impaneled.

A grand jury is a body of 19 citizens who are charged and sworn to investigate county matters of civil concern as well as inquire into public offenses within the county. 

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.