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Sept. 23 Post

Using Technology to Help Make it Easier for Jurors to Serve.

The state of New Jersey has been using technology to help with the use of the jury system.  In particular, New Jersey started out with a simple development of creating a database containing potential jurors.  The state pulled individuals from lists of registered voters, licensed drivers and photo-ID holders, filers of state personal income tax-returns, and applicants for homestead rebates for property tax relief.  Once jurors are randomly selected from these lists, the technology is then used to help give juror questionnaires, juror payments, and juror attendance (or lack thereof).

New Jersey has recognized the next generation that will be serving on juries are adapted and often prefer the use of technology to perform life’s activities. For example, the article (link listed below) references how individuals who are used to online shopping and doing other daily activates through the online process, want to see online customs appear in other areas that they haven’t yet. The use of technology as help for the jury selection system is a very interesting one; however, a few qualms come to mind when making this transfer. For example, the first thought I have is whether the potential jurors feel the need to take the questionnaires seriously without a more formal process of coming down to the courthouse and how lawyers go through the vior dire process with eliminating certain members. Most of the time lawyers find reasons to exclude or eliminate individuals (for many reasons) to try to make for a more sympathetic jury and I would be curious as to see how the questions are formed to make sure the questions are helpful in still making those “cuts.”  While I’m sure this is a minor setback until the process becomes more prevalent and solutions are found there are other obvious benefits the paperless approach can provide.

Enormous economic benefits have increased since New Jersey has transferred to a technology based approach. The system has obviously been able to save paper by using an online system, but the support staff has also saved time. Instead of having to file mass paperwork from their jury systems, their time can now go to helping other problems within the court system.  One article discussing the benefits to this advancement is that management had more time to complete other day-to-day responsibilities as well as not having to retain paper records of jurors.

 

CITE: http://www.ncsc.org/~/media/Microsites/Files/Future%20Trends%202014/Using%20Technology%20to%20Improve%20Jury%20Service_Rabner.ashx

-Donielle Robinson