Cecil County Launches New Web-based Jury Management System
(ANNAPOLIS, MD — December 26, 2007) The Cecil County Circuit Court will be mailing residents a new type of jury summons and questionnaire this week as the court begins using a new Web-based jury management system, officials announced today.
The new jury management software system will help the jury commissioner and staff better manage candidate qualifications, track juror attendance, and respond to requests for postponements, said Circuit Judge Richard Eli Jackson, administrative judge for Cecil County.
“Cecil County is the most recent Circuit Court in Maryland to move toward a nationally recognized jury management technique called a ‘one step’ selection process,” Judge Jackson said. “The Circuit Court is excited to be joining other courts across Maryland in streamlining the jury management system for our citizens.”
Cecil County’s old jury management process required a candidate to be qualified prior to being selected – a “two-step” process. A questionnaire was mailed several months in advance of a resident being called to serve on a jury. Residents called to serve on a jury received a questionnaire that had to be returned to the court within 10 days. A separate summons was then mailed to the resident, advising as to when he or she should report to the court for actual jury service.
In the new “one-step” process, the summons and questionnaire are combined, and is sent three to four weeks prior to the date a potential juror will be needed for jury service. All reporting information is provided at the same time the potential juror is notified of his or her selection. As instructed, the potential juror will return the qualification portion of the form within 10 days, keeping the summons portion, to be presented on reporting to the jury office.
“We are excited to be able to bring this new technology to Cecil County,” said Kelly Mullins, jury commissioner for Cecil County Circuit Court. “Under the outdated system, we had to print, sort, send out, process, and store thousands of letters, forms and notices. Much of the paperwork has been reduced and we can do more of the information management online. This new technology streamlines the process for the court, reduces the amount of paperwork citizens have to sort through, and saves money and time.”
For potential jurors, the most noticeable savings may be their time. “Under this new system, we’re able to reduce the commitment of time required from potential jurors from eight weeks to one week,” Mullins said. “The exception would be jurors who are empaneled for a trial, and the trial extends beyond that week.”
Potential jurors will now have two ways to receive instructions about when and if to report to the courthouse: either by logging on to an e-response system via the Internet, or by calling an integrated interactive voice messaging system via a toll-free number.
For more information on jury service in Maryland, visit mdcourts.gov/juryservice/
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