No one likes getting their jury duty summons, and scheduling
around jury duty can be an even greater nuisance. Thankfully,
some states and counties are beginning to find ways
to reduce this problem, with text messaging taking a
California's San Joaquin county, for instance, has
launched a text message service to make jury duty a
little more pleasant and manageable. When a juror receives
their summons by traditional mail, they can subscribe
to text messages regarding their duty, using the court's
website. Jurors who have opted into the texts will then
receive text message notifications when they are needed,
saving them the hassle of phone calls and the long delays
they can entail.
The text messages also represent a helpful addition
because they are such a rapid and time-efficient way
to reach people. Therefore, many people can be reached
instantly even when they are on the go via text message.
Jurors can carry on with their busy lives, and the Judiciary
can still reach them when they need to.
The introduction of these texts is intended not only
to improve the experience of jurors, but to increase
the proportion of people who fulfill their civic duty
of serving on a jury. Court executive officer of the
county, Rosa Junquiero, reports that about 140,000 people
are called to jury duty each year, while fewer than
2,000 of those people serve on a jury. By making the
jurors' experience more convenient and efficient, the
Judiciary hopes jurors will be more inclined to comply
with their summons.
While the efficacy and popularity of this service is
expected to concentrate in younger generations, it is
certainly a promising way to make our lives a little
easier, and perhaps even improve rates of compliance
with jury duty summons. The texting service has a bright
future ahead of it-- and California has recognized that,
expanding the option to receive the texts into Lake,
Placer, and Stanislaus counties in 2015.
On the east coast, a similar program began in 2013
in New Jersey. To jurors who opt to receive them, the
Judiciary sends text message reminders of jury duty,
as well as notices to petit jurors detailing whether
they will need to report. Two months after the service
had been introduced, 30,000 jurors had opted to receive
The New Jersey Judiciary not only hopes that this program
will improve the experience of jurors--and their compliance
with their summons--but that it will reduce the number
of people who show up to serve jury duty when a court's
need has already been met. After every court day, jury
managers determine the number of jurors they will need
the following day and use the text message system to
help regulate accordingly the number of jurors who show
up. By limiting the number of jurors in attendance to
only the number needed, the Judiciary not only saves
their jurors waiting and hassle, but saves themselves
unnecessary expenses incurred when excess people show
up to serve.
It seems where we apply texting to make people's lives
a little simpler, the ease it offers extends in both
directions, coming as a relief both to us and to those
who provide the services we consume. Texting juror notifications
is yet another great example of the broad power texting
holds to upgrade so many aspects of our lives.
About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage,
Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.