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Juror Notifications Via Text Message Streamlining Jury Duty

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 central role.

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 texts.

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. http://www.notepage.net

 


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