By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Of the Legal Staff
Taking a cue from other jurisdictions, Montgomery Common Pleas Court has started a program that enables jurors to donate their fees to charity.
The program was officially announced Monday by Common Pleas President Judge Richard B. Hodgson and Jury Commissioners Joanne C. Olszewski and Marie N. Cavanaugh.
Hodgson said in a previous interview with The Legal that he wanted to start the program because juror pay is modest anyway and because other jurisdictions have successfully developed significant donations because of such programs.
Jurors can contribute their pay to the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, which provides legal representation and social services to children who are victims of abuse and neglect; Hedwig House, which specializes in rehabilitation for people recovering from mental illness; and the Women's Center of Montgomery County, which operates a 24-hour domestic violence hotline and other services.
Jurors are paid $9 a day for their first three days of service, and $25 a day for four days or more of service.
Olszewski said in a news release the program is voluntary because of the understanding that many people they do not get paid by their employers while they serve on juries.