New Jury Management System Promises to Streamline Jury Duty
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County will launch an updated jury management system on Monday, June 1 with several improvements that include a streamlined “one-step” summons and qualification questionnaire; an online option to request a one-time postponement of jury service, and new self-serve kiosks in the courthouse to make check-in easier and faster. The updated system’s more advanced technology makes jury summoning and scheduling more efficient and accessible for Montgomery County residents, according to release from the court. The Circuit Court for Montgomery County will be joining 19 other Circuit Courts throughout Maryland, including Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County and Frederick County, which have implemented the updated jury management system.
“Montgomery County Circuit Court is excited to implement this new technology. It will allow my staff to prepare better for today’s jurors as well as to collect critical information that will allow us to improve the process for future jurors,” said Judge John W. Debelius III, Administrative Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Montgomery and Frederick counties). “We are continually striving to streamline the juror experience for Montgomery County citizens, whose participation as jurors is crucial to our judicial system.”
“The new system reduces what was a two-step process – with a separate mailing for the qualification form followed later by the actual summons – to just one step,” said Maria Vogel, jury commissioner. “Now, jurors will receive only one form and will continue to have the option of completing their required response online if they choose to do so. This will reduce the amount of paper the jury office must process and accelerates our receipt of the responses.”
Montgomery County will continue to support its one-day, one-trial jury service, meaning that jurors only need to serve for one day if they are not selected for a jury in a case that goes to trial. Another feature of the updated system allows prospective jurors designated as qualified for service to go online to postpone their reporting date one time, if needed, to a date that is more convenient.
“We understand that jury service, while a civic duty, can also pose professional and personal scheduling challenges,” Vogel said. “This system provides our jurors with greater flexibility to manage their own reporting date, and we expect it will reduce the number of unexpected postponements of service for jurors who report on the day of jury service.”
Jurors who choose not to file online can still mail in their juror qualification form. While the new kiosks will expedite the check-in process for many jurors, jury staff will continue to be available to assist jurors who have not yet submitted their required documentation, have questions, or need help on the morning they report.
Funding for this project was made possible through the Maryland Judiciary’s Administrative Office of the Courts in a statewide technology improvement effort. Additional information about the process and frequently asked questions may be found on the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s jury website: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/circuitcourt/jurors/. Residents may also contact the Jury Office at 240.777.9090 with any questions about jury service.