B-81320, DECEMBER 7, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 350

B-81320: Dec 7, 1948

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1948: THIS OFFICE IS IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 29. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CLERK OF THE COURT IN PREPARING VOUCHER NO. 37. WHO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON JURORS. IT WAS THEN DETERMINED THAT A JUROR SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR DAILY TRAVEL AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED $2.00 FOR EACH ROUND TRIP. OR IF COMMON CARRIER IS USED. THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AN OVERPAYMENT MADE TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING JURORS FOR DAILY TRAVEL: VERNON JOHNSON$2.00 IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THE MARSHAL'S OFFICE REQUESTS TO BE ADVISED WHETHER MR. JOHNSON WAS LEGALLY PAID OR WHETHER REFUND OF $2 IS REQUIRED. NOT TO EXCEED $2.00 PER DAY" DOES NOT MEAN ROUND TRIP AND IS CONFINED TO A CALENDAR DAY.

B-81320, DECEMBER 7, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 350

COURTS - JURORS - PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL NECESSARY DAILY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES UNDER THE PROVISO TO SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 26, 1926, AS AMENDED, PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF "ADDITIONAL NECESSARY DAILY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES" IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $2 PER DAY TO JURORS IN THE UNITED STATES COURTS, A JUROR WHO FOUND IT PRACTICABLE TO MAKE DAILY TRIPS BETWEEN THE COURT AND HOME WHILE IN ATTENDANCE AT COURT WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR SUCH DAILY TRAVEL BASIS OF NOT TO EXCEED $2 FOR EACH DAY IN WHICH TRAVEL OCCURRED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, DECEMBER 7, 1948:

THIS OFFICE IS IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 29, 1948, FROM THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL'S OFFICE, DISTRICT OF NEVADA, CARSON CITY, NEVADA, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO THE APPLICATION OF PUBLIC LAW 779, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 25, 1948, 62 STAT. 1016, IN THE CASE OF MR. VERNON JOHNSON, YERINGTON, NEVADA, WHO SERVED IN THE DISTRICT COURT AT CARSON CITY AS A PETIT JUROR ON AUGUST 3 AND 4, 1938.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CLERK OF THE COURT IN PREPARING VOUCHER NO. 37, AUGUST 1948, ALLOWED NOT TO EXCEED $2 PER DAY FOR ADDITIONAL NECESSARY DAILY TRAVEL PURSUANT TO THE PROVISO CONTAINED IN PUBLIC LAW 779, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS OFFICE CONSULTED CHIEF JUDGE KNOX OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, WHO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON JURORS, WITH REFERENCE TO APPROPRIATE PAYMENTS TO JURORS UNDER PUBLIC LAW 779, 80TH CONGRESS, 2ND SESSION, APPROVED JUNE 25, 1948, AND IT WAS THEN DETERMINED THAT A JUROR SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR DAILY TRAVEL AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED $2.00 FOR EACH ROUND TRIP, OR IF COMMON CARRIER IS USED, HIS ACTUAL ROUND TRIP FARE NOT TO EXCEED $2.00. IN VIEW OF THIS, THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AN OVERPAYMENT MADE TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING JURORS FOR DAILY TRAVEL:

VERNON JOHNSON$2.00

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THE MARSHAL'S OFFICE REQUESTS TO BE ADVISED WHETHER MR. JOHNSON WAS LEGALLY PAID OR WHETHER REFUND OF $2 IS REQUIRED, ADDING THAT THE CLERK OF THE COURT CONTENDS THAT ,ADDITIONAL NECESSARY DAILY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, BUT NOT TO EXCEED $2.00 PER DAY" DOES NOT MEAN ROUND TRIP AND IS CONFINED TO A CALENDAR DAY.

THE MARSHAL'S OFFICE REQUESTS A DECISION IN RESPECT OF A PAST PAYMENT AND NOT UPON ANY QUESTION INVOLVING A VOUCHER BEFORE HIM FOR PAYMENT; HENCE, A DECISION MAY NOT BE RENDERED ON THE BASIS OF THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1948. 26 COMP. GEN. 797. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE GENERAL APPLICABILITY OF THE MATTER IT IS DEEMED APPROPRIATE TO ADDRESS THE DECISION TO YOU.

THE PROVISO HERE INVOLVED IS CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. IT PROVIDES FOR "ADDITIONAL NECESSARY DAILY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES" IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $2 PER DAY. AND, IN THE EVENT DAILY TRAVEL IS IMPRACTICABLE IT PROVIDES FOR SUBSISTENCE OF $2 PER DAY. THE PURPOSE OF PUBLIC LAW 779 WAS TO PLACE THE COMPENSATION OF JURORS UPON A MORE ADEQUATE AND EQUITABLE BASIS THAN PREVIOUSLY EXISTED. AND AS TO THE PROVISO UNDER CONSIDERATION, THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY IN ITS REPORT--- HOUSE REPORT NO. 2162--- ON H.R. 945, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 779, HAD THIS TO SAY:

* * * THE BILL PROVIDES THAT IF A JUROR LIVES SO FAR AWAY FROM THE PLACE WHERE COURT IS HELD THAT IT IS IMPRACTICAL FOR HIM TO MAKE DAILY TRIPS BETWEEN HIS HOME AND THE COURT, HE WILL BE PAID, IN ADDITION TO HIS USUAL ATTENDANCE FEE, $2 FOR HIS SUBSISTENCE. IT IS ALSO PROVIDED,AS AN ALTERNATIVE, THAT IF THE COURT IS WITHIN REASONABLE DAILY COMMUTING DISTANCE OF THE JUROR'S HOME, HE WILL BE PAID THE TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AT 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF HIS DAILY TRAVEL, NOT TO EXCEED A TOTAL OF $2 A DAY, IN ADDITION TO HIS PER DIEM FEE FOR ATTENDANCE. THUS, THE PRACTICE IN THE PAYMENT OF DAILY TRAVEL ALLOWANCE WILL BE MADE FAIR AND UNIFORM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

AS STATED ABOVE, THE PURPOSE OF PUBLIC LAW 779 WAS TO PLACE THE COMPENSATION OF JURORS ON A MORE ADEQUATE AND EQUITABLE BASIS. AND, CLEARLY, ALL JURORS WERE TO BE TREATED EQUALLY, THUS, IF JUROR A ATTENDING COURT ON AUGUST 3 AND 4, AS DID MR. JOHNSON, FIND IT IMPRACTICABLE TO MAKE DAILY TRIPS BETWEEN THE COURT AND HIS HOME, HE WOULD RECEIVE $2 FOR HIS SUBSISTENCE EACH DAY OR $4 IN ALL. MR. JOHNSON, ON THE OTHER HAND, FOUND IT PRACTICABLE TO MAKE DAILY TRIPS; HENCE, FOR THE TWO DAYS IN WHICH HE ACTUALLY TRAVELED HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE NOT IN EXCESS OF $2 FOR EACH DAILY TRIP OR $4 IN ALL.

AS HEREINBEFORE INDICATED, THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROVISO IS QUITE CLEAR IN THAT PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IS ON A DAILY BASIS. NO REFERENCE IS FOUND IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE BILL TO A ROUND TRIP ALLOWANCE BUT ON THE CONTRARY THERE IS EVERY INDICATION THAT PAYMENT WAS TO BE MADE FOR EACH DAY IN WHICY TRAVEL OCCURRED. ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT OTHERWISE PROPER PAYMENTS MADE TO JURORS TRAVELING BETWEEN THE COURT AND HOME WHILE IN ATTENDANCE AT COURT ON THE BASIS OF NOT TO EXCEED $2 FOR EACH DAY IN WHICH TRAVEL OCCURRED WILL BE PASSED IN THE AUDIT OF VOUCHERS BY THIS OFFICE.