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April 2009

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


Courts Sign Up to Offer Juror-Friendly Webpage

Seventy-five district courts have signed on to offer potential jurors a webpage where they can complete questionnaires and access information on when to report for jury duty. The courts will install software supporting the Jury Management System (JMS) webpage in monthly waves beginning in June 2009 and extending through February 2010.

“We’re very impressed with the initial response,” said attorney David Williams in the Administrative Office’s District Court Administration Division. “The program was designed with a lot of functionality, and we think the courts recognize its capabilities.”

Williams and Dan Elsroad, the eJuror program administrator, have worked with staff at the Systems Deployment and Support Division, the Office of Court Administration Technology Division, and a team of jury and systems administrators from 10 district courts for nearly two years to bring the project to this point.

Over the past year, those 10 district courts helped develop a JMS webpage and test one of its major components—the eJuror system. It is this component of the JMS that gives potential jurors the option of submitting juror qualification questionnaires and summons information forms on-line. When initial testing was completed and the webpage software offered to district courts nationwide, 65 additional courts asked that the JMS webpage be added to their court’s home page.

The JMS webpage is expected to save time and money for the federal courts and the public. In her testimony in March before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference Budget Committee, told appropriators that, with eJuror, “Users can update personal information, submit a medical or other excuse, or request a deferral online. For those completing their jury service, they may use eJuror to print certificates of attendance, which may be required by employers, and to complete surveys about their experience. The courts will have fewer forms to process manually and less data to re-enter into the system, which will increase data reliability and save time.”

Each court decides when it will go live after installing the software, a decision that will depend on how each court configures the software and customizes its webpage. Many courts also use supplemental questionnaires, which will need to be set up separately.