Innovation streamlines jury service

(With thanks to Diane Pawlowicz, executive director, Court Research and Development, Administrative Office of the Courts, for her contributions to this article.)

Technology is making it easier to get ready to serve on a jury.

Many of the larger counties in Maryland have used specialized computer software for several years to help in the random selection, notification and management of jurors. The Administrative Office of the Courts is now providing support for the implementation of new jury management software for 15 jurisdictions in Maryland. When this roll-out is complete, by the end of next year, all 24 jurisdictions will have modern jury management systems.

The new systems have been launched in the nine counties of the Eastern Shore. Implementation in Washington, Allegany, Garrett, Charles and St. Mary’s counties is in process, and jurors received summons under the new system in May. Baltimore City will follow, with jurors summoned there for the first time on the new system by early 2012.

Compared to the former jury systems, citizens who are selected for jury service may notice some of the following changes:

Modern jury management systems that are currently installed have improved the experience of potential jurors in several ways:

Options available vary from one jurisdiction to another, but such options apply to all fifteen jurisdictions in the current roll-out.

Courts have also updated their websites to provide 24-hour information about instructions for jury service, policies and procedures, maps, directions, parking information, and contact information. Take a look at individual court information at www.mdcourts.gov/juryservice/commissioners.html.