A judge in San Antonio is proposing hazard pay for grand jurors during the coronavirus. Back in mid-March, when COVID-19 swept across the world and made its first contact with the United States, there were two separate grand juries that were in session. While these juries were wrapping up their two-month terms, the panels agreed to continue their service for an extra two months.
Judge Ron Rangel is suggesting that his jurors be granted hazard pay for going above and beyond by extending their service. Rangel continues, ”We didn’t know where we were headed. We had no idea how contagious this virus was.”
In spite of all of the virtual uncertainty at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, jurors continue to extend service since a moratorium on jury duty had been enacted and it was therefore impossible to seat new juries.
Judge Rangel explains, “It was a scary time and these individuals actually said regardless of the unknown forces that may await us in the courthouse, were willing to come in and put aside our own personal safety to make sure justice is done”
Judge Rangel plans to ask county commissioners that these jurors, who made a selfless decision in the midst of a global pandemic, that the jurors be paid $40 more a day than they are typically paid.
The judge explains, ”What the judges would like to do is pay them for an additional day per week for the time that they were here extra. The time that they went above and beyond what they initially signed on for.”
Judge Rangel estimates the cost for the county to award their dedicated jurors with hazard pay will amount to $14,720. Whether or not Judge Rangel will be successful in his efforts to award faithful jurors with hazard pay has yet to be decided.