Cecil County Circuit Court Uses Technology to Manage Jury Process and
Improve Access and Convenience for Jurors
(ELKTON, Md. — Sept. 29, 2010) The Cecil County Circuit Court has launched a new jury management system to improve services to citizens and increase jury management efficiency. With this new system, prospective jurors can complete the juror qualification form or receive a one-time deferral online.
Cecil County’s system, funded through the Administrative Office of the Courts, is the first of a statewide, multi-year effort to help 15 jurisdictions modernize their jury management systems.
In the new “one-step” process, both the summons and questionnaire are mailed to the potential juror three to four weeks before the potential juror is needed for jury service. The potential juror may return the qualification portion of the form within 10 days by mail or complete it online, and reports for jury service in accordance with the instructions on the summons.
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,” said Kelly Mullins, jury commissioner for the Cecil County Circuit Court. “The exception would be jurors who are empanelled for a trial, and the trial extends beyond that week.”
“We are excited to bring this new technology to Cecil County,” Mullins said. “Under the outdated system, we had to print, sort, send out, process, and store thousands of letters, forms and notices. This new technology streamlines the process, reduces the amount of paperwork, and saves money and time for citizens and the court.”
Potential jurors can also call a voice message system to get instructions about when and if to report to the courthouse. The juror summons provides the information needed to access the call-in system.
“Jury service is an important aspect of the rights, privileges, and duties we all enjoy as citizens,” said Cecil County Circuit Judge O. Robert Lidums, county administrative judge. “Your willingness to serve and participate in this essential part of our judicial system is greatly appreciated by the Circuit Court for Cecil County. We are confident that this new system will benefit our citizens.”
Generous Juror Program
In addition to launching the new management system, Cecil County has begun a Generous Juror Program, which allows jurors to donate their daily service payment to help abused, neglected and troubled Cecil County children served by the child welfare system. Prospective jurors are provided with brochures explaining the option to make a tax deductible donation when they report for jury service.
The program provides items and services to foster care and homeless children. “Each year more than 180 children are served by the Cecil County Department of Social Services. Still, many needs go unmet,” said Nicholas Riccuiti, director of the county’s Department of Social Services. “The Generous Juror Program can help provide services and activities that enrich children’s lives, increase self-confidence and provide them with happy experiences during a troubled time.”
The Generous Juror Program is a collaborative effort between the Circuit Court for Cecil County, the Cecil County Department of Social Services, and the citizens of Cecil County who are called for jury service.
For more information regarding jury service in Cecil County, visit the Cecil County Circuit Court jury information website, http://mdcourts.gov/clerks/cecil/juryinfo.html.
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