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Jurors and alternates assigned to the trial of notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger will wrestle with countless questions during a case expected to drag on through September, including one that has nothing to do with guilt or innocence: Can I afford to be here another day?
Jurors in federal cases are paid just $40 per day for their service, a per diem that has not increased since 1990.
On a long trial like Bulger’s, jury duty can siphon off thousands of dollars in income, and poorly compensated jurors may not be the only ones who suffer. Some legal analysts worry that low jury pay endangers a defendant’s ability to get a fair trial.