You Wouldn’t Get Rich This Way


Illinois law in 1845 allowed for payment for certain tasks required by law:

Coroner’s Fees:

For holding an inquest over a dead body, when required by law, five dollars.
For summoning the jury, seventy-five cents.
For burial expenses, &c., ten dollars.
All of which fees shall be certified by the coroner, and paid out of the county treasury, when the same can not be collected out of the estate of the deceased.

Juror’s Fees:

To every juror sworn in each civil action in the circuit court, twenty-five cents.
To each juror sworn in a civil case, before a justice of the peace, twenty-five cents.
For attending an inquest over a dead body, when summoned by the coroner, to be paid out of the county treasury, twenty-five cents.

Fees for Guarding Jail:

To each man, for every twenty-four hours guarding jail when required, on producing the certificate of the jailer, sheriff, coroner or justice of the peace, of the same, to be paid out of the county treasury, one dollar.

The twenty-five cents paid to jurors in 1845 is equivalent to about $7.50 in current money. Until the Illinois law governing juror’s pay was changed in 2015, jurors were getting from $4 to $10 a day. Taking inflation into account, their pay hadn’t gone up in 170 years! However, jurors are now a little  better off – the present-day juror’s fees are $25 for the first day and $50 for each additional day.

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