New Jersey Jury Benefits by Technology

During his Senate confirmation hearing Chief Justice Stuart Rabner received accolades for his ability to administer the New Jersey Courts.  In fact he has been one of the most progressive Chief Justices in the nation with respect to the use of technology in the courts.  One of the improvements he has made involving the jury affects every NJ resident in a very positive way.

Prospective jurors can now sign up for email and text alerts from the New Jersey judiciary. Messages remind jurors of their summons date and advise petit jurors about whether they will be required to report or will be called off the next day

Although jury duty may seem inconvenient to some, the right to a trial by a jury of peers was on the short list of reasons for the American Revolution in 1776.  Citizens need to serve and the courts now make it a little easier by acknowledging that everyone uses text messages, cell phones and computers.  The new process helps jurors stay informed via the method they choose. Information on how to sign up to receive text messages is included when jurors respond to their juror summons online.

“We recognize that jurors make sacrifices to perform a vital public service,” said Chief Justice Rabner. “Because so many jurors today rely on electronic communication, we want to meet their expectations and update them about jury service in the most convenient way possible.”

In New Jersey, jurors are selected at random from four different lists — registered voters, licensed drivers, filers of New Jersey personal income tax returns, and applicants for homestead rebates. The aim is to maximize the number of people who participate in jury trials and ensure jury pools are representative of the population. At the end of every day, Judiciary jury managers reassess the number of jurors who will be needed to report the next day so that jurors do not have to show up unnecessarily.

According to the Judiciary, an estimated 30,000 jurors have signed up for the new text messaging and email notifications, since the program launched on June 24, 2013. More than 200,000 New Jersey residents report are called to serve as petit and grand jurors each year.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.

New Jersey Jury Benefits by Technology