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Oklahoma’s Lengthy Trial Fund Promotes Fairness

Oklahoma’s Lengthy Trial Fund Promotes Fairness

The fairness of our criminal defense system is dependent upon juries that represent a broad spectrum of the community. What happens when a juror is asked to serve for a trial that is expected to last for months? How can a working person afford to participate in this essential act of citizenship?

Effective in 2004, Oklahoma residents have access to the Lengthy Trial Fund, which provides full or partial wage replacement or wage supplementation to jurors for more than 10 days of service. Through the fun, residents may obtain:

  • Replacement or supplemental wages of up to $200 a day beginning on the 11th day of jury service
  • Replacement or supplemental wages of up to $50 a day from days four through 10 service, with a showing of significant financial hardship

In most state trials, jurors are entitled to $20 per day, plus mileage and parking reimbursement.

Jurors in federal cases are paid just $40 a day, a per diem rate that has not increased since 1990. Jurors are reimbursed for travel expenses and cannot be fired from their jobs. However, employers are not required to continue to pay salaries during federal jury service, although they are encouraged to support this act of citizenship by paying the difference between workers’ regular salaries and the daily stipends. More than 60 percent of American workers have benefit plans that include pay while serving on a jury. That figure is deceiving, however. Top earners are the ones most protected by this benefit — 83 percent — while low wage workers, the ones least likely to be able to afford to serve, are largely not covered. Only 34 percent of workers in the bottom quarter of income have wage replacement from their employers.

Oklahoma residents deserve access to justice, using the laws and courts to secure their rights and privileges of citizenship. Jury service is an essential right to ensure fairness. Attorneys with experience handling criminal law matters are another key to justice, and ours will fight for you.

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