I handled Los Angeles County jury duty in 2017, and again in April, 2019. I had a sour experience with it, because of the structure of jury duty.

California legislators designed California county-level jury duty laws. Based on those laws, CA jurors receive $15.00 a day, $0.17 a mile

as their pay – starting day TWO, and completely taxable. Those amounts have not increased since the year 2000. As a voter and taxpayer, I personally pay each CA legislator more than $100 K annually, completely taxable. I also pay each of them at least $192.00 / day as a per diem $0.53 / mile completely tax-free. As this document shows, I gave them big raises since 2010, and somehow, they forgot to invent raises for California jury duty temp job employees.

California legislators invented a new major gas tax increase in 2017, and they thoughtfully invented autopilot increases as part of that tax. For some reason, they forgot to raise the jury duty mileage level pay to compensate. That matters, because jury duty temp job employees can’t telecommute. We commute between home and the courtroom building, and we likely drive to do this. When every judge and every lawyer who works in every courtroom building in California takes public transportation to get to work, legislators can fairly demand that jury duty temp employees equally take public transportation. As sales taxes, and direct and indirect gas taxes, combined with government road toll charges, government traffic congestion pricing, etc. all increase, government will make a profit on jury duty soon enough, if it doesn’t already.

Jury duty is a job. It perfectly matches the IRS definition of a job. A federal judge defined jury duty as a job. The California judiciary – including California Supreme Court Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye – embedded this vid at its official jury duty webpage. That vid co-starred a Los Angeles County judge, and it clearly defines jury duty as a job. These facts alone prove that jury duty is a job, and when citizens show up for jury duty, they must receive the highest prevailing minimum wage, for all hours they work as jury duty temp employees. This covers day one. They must also receive the CA legislature mileage rate – at least $0.53 / mile – for all miles honestly counted. Because regular jurors never apply for a jury duty temp job, they earn these amounts on a tax-free basis, with zero tax paperwork. Otherwise, if jurors pay tax on the salary and mileage, they end up with less than minimum wage, and less than the CA legislator mileage rate, for a job that government forces them to take.

Government “experts” will insist that California state and / or county governments just can’t afford to solve these problems. Well,


  1. California will spend $213 billion in its 2019 budget


  1. Many cities in Los Angeles County alone charge 10% sales tax, and rising fast


  1. California will spend $250 million on the 2024 Olympics – but only if necessary


  1. California will spend $250 billion on a high-speed railroad project:


  1. a $100 billion sticker price, and rising fast


  1. an estimated $100 billion line item for interest on the borrowing – interest rates will obviously not stay low forever


  1. an estimated $50 billion to cover graft, greed, corruption, embezzlement, theft, and skim

which alone prove that California legislators can budget to Make It Fair for jurors. Other people can likely think of other examples to add to this list. Legislators can even budget the money to pay for top-to-bottom California jury duty system audits, to see if those systems operate in a fair, unbiased, even-handed way as they hire jurors. All of this can easily happen without even one tax increase. California lawyers will obviously support jury duty pay and mileage reforms, and jury duty system operation and hiring audits. Every California jury duty temp job employee well remembers the jury duty trial voir dire warm-up speeches. The speeches where judges and lawyers preach and screech that jurors are the most important people in the jury duty trial courtroom. Those speeches.

I never went to law school, and I don’t own a lawyer license. Therefore, I did my research and I figured out jury duty law. Jury duty might seem like an obscure issue, except that March Fong Eu proved how obscure issues can lead to great political success, certainly in California. Legislation crafted with hearings and debate obviously becomes the ideal way to reform jury duty. At this time, California government has little incentive to reform the problem. The lawyer industry built itself a nice little jury duty trial business model here in California. That business model depends on jurors for survival. What a shame if California jury duty temp job employees went on strike, to force jury duty reform. What a shame if California jury duty temp job employees went on strike, to force jury duty system hiring fairness audits . . .

Frank Solomon wrote Common Sense – Third Millennium as the first book about American jury duty law.

Blog: ijuror.blogspot.com Twitter: @fbsolo1