2015-01-21

The Dread of Jury Duty

In your pocket you carry a computing device that is a miracle of modern science, you can check you bank balance, research the vast knowledge of human history, or just relax playing a game of Scrabble. The courts of the US have remained completely out of touch with this technology, while attorney’s can file pleadings and research judicial findings. The poor citizen can do nothing to improve the so-called civic responsibility of Jury Duty. Criminals, the accused, and the defense can re-arrange the trial proceedings to better fit their schedules, while the poor soul tasked with Jury Duty must re-arrange anything planned for an unknown incursion into their lives.

More than a rant, this is a plea, for the Counties, Cities, and Municipal courts to revamp Jury Duty with an eye towards improving the process for those inconvenienced by the lottery of Jury Duty.

Jury Registry

Unified procedures for the process of Jury Duty. Currently each city or county has their own procedures and forms that must be filled out. Can’t we have central registry where potential jurors provide the information requested by the attorney’s and are given the opportunity to pick with a weighted preference the one or two dates, a primary and a backup, the works with their schedule.

Jurors could then be notified via SMS, or Mobile App, when they are disqualified or unneeded. By allowing Jurors to pick a date, the disruption of jury duty can be schedule, its impact minimized.

A Story Card

The courts determine the number of potential jurors needed. A post-card is mailed to the potential jurors with a link to the registry. The potential juror creates an account at the registry. As part of the signup process, they answer any required personal information, i.e. Name, Employer, Spouse, etc., and selects from a series of dates. The court then schedules the jury selection process around those dates, notifying jurors via SMS of their need for service.

Nothing here is revolutionary, all of the pieces have been used by Corporate America for everything from finding a date, to signing up for health care.

Happier, less inconvenienced, jurors would make the entire process of Jury Duty less of a burden. Scheduling your duty into your life instead of being forced to accept the whims of others is the way it should be.