A number of Harris County residents who participated in jury duty leading up to the summer left their pay on the table.

How we got here

According to a document from Harris County Treasurer Carla Wyatt, from April 1 through June 30, juror payment checks worth $142,248 were left uncashed. Jury checks not presented for payment or redeemed before the 90th day are considered forfeited and void, according to Texas law.
  • Commissioners approved transferring the unused money to the county's general fund Oct. 31.

Until September, jurors were receiving $6 a day for service and $40 on subsequent days.

The jury payment method changed on Sept. 1 when officials with the Harris County District Clerk's Office announced the county would pay jurors using debit cards via CourtFunds Pay Cards. The pay cards were scanned upon check-in and then automatically activated at least two business days after the conclusion of jury service.

District Clerk Marilyn Burgess said in a September news release the new payment method would make it easier, faster and more convenient for the jurors.

"Some jurors may not have a bank account, and being paid with a check at the end of their service may not be the most convenient option for them," Burgess said.

Derrick Whitsett participated in jury duty this year and said he thinks checks don't get mailed to the juror's address.

"I think people are forgetting their checks because there's no way of double checking to see if you'll receive one," he said.

Also of note

Alongside the new debit cards, Sept. 1 also marked the increase in juror pay from $6 to $20 on the first day and from $40 to $58 on subsequent days.
  • The pay increase was due to House Bill 3474 that was signed into law during the 88th legislative session in June.