SAN ANTONIO – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, two separate grand juries were wrapping up their two-month terms.
”We didn’t know where we were headed,” Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said Monday. “We had no idea how contagious this virus was.”
In spite of that, the panels agreed to extend their service for an additional two months, since a moratorium had been ordered on jury service and no new juries could be seated.
”It was a scary time and these individuals actually said regardless of the unknown forces that may await us in the courthouse, were willing to come in and put aside our own personal safety to make sure justice is done,” Rangel said.
For that service, he said, he plans to ask county commissioners that the jurors be paid more than the $40 dollars a day they are typically paid.
”What the judges would like to do is pay them for an additional day per week for the time that they were here extra,” Rangel said. “The time that they went above and beyond what they initially signed on for.”
He estimated the cost to the county for what he called “hazard pay” would be $14,720 dollars.