21st Century Jury Duty – A Guest Post

Why everyone cringes when they get a summons for jury duty by Jackie Diamond
You get the summons in the mail and immediately you’re like, “oh sh*t”. You’re not alone. The majority of us cringe at the prospect of serving on jury duty. Now some of you are going to tell me that it’s our civic duty to serve on a jury of our peers. Fundamentally I agree. Except for the fact that the entire process is completely antiquated. And it places a burden on everyday modern life. The system is built on old, archaic platform from a time where mobile communication didn’t exist. And at times, it can feel demoralizing. Being stuck in a room, sometimes with little or no information or what to expect, and even worse, being cut off from the outside world. Having recently experienced this process, here are a few proposed enhancements to bring jury duty into the 21st century.
Enhancement 1: Scrub the juror database It makes sense for some people to be immediately eliminated from the jury pool. Are you a lawyer? A cop? Or work in the court system? Then you probably have a bias and even know the prosecutors and/or defense attorneys on the case. Therefore why would the court waste their time to ask you to serve in the first place? Believe it or not, there are plenty of people of people in these professions who are provided with a summons and asked to serve.
Enhancement 2: Online pre-screen Think of when you apply for a job. You are pre-screened with an online application. Why don’t we do this for potential jurors? It helps even further weed out people with certain “possible” inherent biases. Why does this process need to be conducted in person? Docusign is a much-respected and recognized way to legally sign a document. If you pre-screen potential jurors before they even have to take off of work and travel to the courthouse, you create efficiencies and save everyone a lot of angst and stress.
Enhancement 3: Schedule juror interviews What if jury selection panels could schedule interviews with potential jurors, based on their pre-screen (see Enhancement 2). Wouldn’t that make a better use of everyone’s time? And jurors wouldn’t have to worry about wasting an entire day sitting around being completely unproductive. Will any of this ever really come to fruition? Not sure. But it’s nice to contemplate when you’re wasting away in a jury room waiting to find out if you’ve been selected.



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