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November 2007

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


eJuror Aimed at Making Jury Service More User Friendly

As federal courts continue working to make jury service as positive an experience as possible, a planned website will allow prospective jurors to complete qualification questionnaires and obtain relevant reporting information online.

The new technology, called eJuror, is an enhancement to the courts’ Jury Management System (JMS) that will save time and money for both the courts and those citizens contacted about jury service. It is anticipated that eJuror will be available to federal district courts sometime in 2008.

“With the web page, jury participants will be provided 24-hour service without requiring additional court staff time,” said David Williams, an attorney-advisor in the Administrative Office and JMS co-project manager.

Some federal courts are ahead of the curve, such as the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, where the number of people who respond to jury questionnaires online has grown each year the technology has been used.

A majority of districts use a twostep process in which a questionnaire is mailed out before a jury summons, while courts using a one-step process mail the questionnaire and summons at the same time. In both one-step and two-step courts, eJuror will give a prospective juror the option of responding to the qualification questionnaire online.

Once qualified, prospective jurors in two-step courts can answer questions for a summons online. For all courts, jurors can request a deferral, excusal, or partial excusal online as well.

(A partial excuse can be available if prospective jurors cannot serve the full term of their service due to business travel, schooling, or some other personal reason.)

In both one-step and twostep courts, prospective jurors can access their reporting status through the eJuror application. That status will be viewable on a separate page via an easily accessible link.

Among other reporting information, prospective jurors may be told, “You are expected to appear,” or “You are postponed to a date on or after . . .,” or “You are not required to report.”

Also available online will be an exit survey, which will be used to measure an eJuror user’s experience with the application and the process as a whole. And eJuror will be able to provide documented proof of jury service, required by some employers.