B-107895, FEBRUARY 11, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 373

B-107895: Feb 11, 1952

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FEES - JURORS - ATTENDANCE IN COURT PRIOR TO TERM OF JURY SERVICE INASMUCH AS THE PROVISIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE FIXING THE TERM OF JURY SERVICE TO COMMENCE ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF CERTAIN MONTHS AND TERMINATE ON THE MONDAY PRECEDING THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE NEXT MONTH WERE INTENDED MERELY TO DELIMIT THE PERIOD WHICH PERSONS ARE TO SERVE AS JURORS AND DO NOT PROHIBIT THE PERFORMANCE OF INCIDENTAL SERVICES SUCH AS QUALIFYING AND RECEIVING PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS OUTSIDE THAT PERIOD. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5. REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THIS OFFICE WILL APPROVE PAYMENTS OF JUROR FEES FOR ATTENDANCE ON THE DAY PRECEDING THAT ON WHICH A TERM OF JURY SERVICE COMMENCES.

B-107895, FEBRUARY 11, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 373

FEES - JURORS - ATTENDANCE IN COURT PRIOR TO TERM OF JURY SERVICE INASMUCH AS THE PROVISIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE FIXING THE TERM OF JURY SERVICE TO COMMENCE ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF CERTAIN MONTHS AND TERMINATE ON THE MONDAY PRECEDING THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE NEXT MONTH WERE INTENDED MERELY TO DELIMIT THE PERIOD WHICH PERSONS ARE TO SERVE AS JURORS AND DO NOT PROHIBIT THE PERFORMANCE OF INCIDENTAL SERVICES SUCH AS QUALIFYING AND RECEIVING PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS OUTSIDE THAT PERIOD, THE PER DIEM AUTHORIZED FOR JURORS UNDER TITLE 28 U.S.C. 1871 MAY BE PAID FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH INCIDENTAL SERVICES PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF A TERM OF JURY SERVICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, FEBRUARY 11, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 5, 1952, REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THIS OFFICE WILL APPROVE PAYMENTS OF JUROR FEES FOR ATTENDANCE ON THE DAY PRECEDING THAT ON WHICH A TERM OF JURY SERVICE COMMENCES.

YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE QUALIFYING, SELECTING, AND PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTING OF PETIT JURORS TO SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAS BEEN DONE HERETOFORE ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE JURORS' TERM OF SERVICE. TITLE 11, D.C. CODE, 1940 ED. SECTION 1405, PROVIDES THAT THE TERM OF SERVICE OF A PETIT JURY SHALL BEGIN ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF CERTAIN MONTHS AND TERMINATE ON THE MONDAY PRECEDING THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE NEXT MONTH, UNLESS THE JURY IS SOONER DISCHARGED BY THE COURT OR IS HELD OVER ON AN UNCOMPLETED CASE. HOWEVER, THE DELAYS INCIDENT TO QUALIFYING AND INSTRUCTING NEW JURORS ON THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE MONTH HAVE ON OCCASION MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR JUDGES TO TRY JURY CASES ON THAT DAY. YOUR STATE THAT IN ORDER TO EXPEDITE THE BUSINESS OF THE COURT IT HAS BEEN ARRANGED FOR JURORS TO ATTEND COURT ON THE MONDAY PRECEDING THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE MONTH FOR THE PURPOSES OF INQUIRY INTO THEIR FITNESS TO SERVE AND OF RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS AS TO THE GENERAL NATURE OF THEIR DUTIES, AND YOU REQUEST MY DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF COMPENSATING JURORS FOR THEIR ATTENDANCE FOR SUCH PURPOSES PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THEIR TERM OF SERVICE.

COMPENSATION FOR JURORS IS AUTHORIZED BY TITLE 28, U.S.C. SECTION 1871, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

GRAND AND PETIT JURORS IN DISTRICT COURTS OR BEFORE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS SHALL RECEIVE THE FOLLOWING FEES, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED BY LAW:

FOR ACTUAL ATTENDANCE AT THE PLACE OF TRIAL OR HEARING AND FOR THE TIME NECESSARILY OCCUPIED IN GOING TO AND FROM SUCH PLACE AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF SUCH SERVICE OR AT ANY TIME DURING THE SAME, $7 PER DAY * * *.

IT IS EVIDENT FROM A READING OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION OF THE U.S.C. THAT THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF A PER DIEM TO JURORS IS A DAY OF ACTUAL ATTENDANCE AT THE PLACE OF TRIAL OR HEARING OR A DAY OF NECESSARY TRAVEL PRELIMINARY OR SUBSEQUENT THERETO. WHILE IT MAY BE UNNECESSARY IN THIS JURISDICTION FOR A PROSPECTIVE JUROR TO SPEND A DAY TRAVELING TO ATTEND COURT, THERE IS NO DOUBT, IF SUCH TRAVEL WERE NECESSARY, AS TO HIS RIGHT TO PER DIEM THEREFOR, WHETHER THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER HIS TERM OF SERVICE AS SPECIFIED BY TITLE 11, D.C. CODE, 1940 ED. SECTION 1405. SUCH BEING THE CASE, AND SINCE THE LATTER SECTION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INTENDED MERELY TO DELIMIT THE PERIOD DURING WHICH PERSONS SHOULD SERVE AS JURORS FOR THE HEARING OF CASES, AND DOES NOT REFER TO OR PROHIBIT THE PERFORMANCE OF OTHER INCIDENTAL SERVICES SUCH AS QUALIFYING AND RECEIVING PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION OUTSIDE THAT PERIOD, NO REASON APPEARS WHY COMPENSATION MAY NOT BE PAID FOR INCIDENTAL SERVICES SO PERFORMED, AS IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO JURORS FOR ATTENDANCE UPON THE COURT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH INCIDENTAL SERVICES PRIOR TO THE FIRST TUESDAY OF THE MONTH WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE.