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Jury Manager’s Manual

Office of the State Courts Administrator, Tallahassee, FL
 

Jury Managers’ Toolbox

National Center for State Courts and State Justice Institute

 

Jury Trial Innovations, Chapter 2 – Jury Administration and Management

National Center for State Courts

 

Effective Use of Jurors (2011)

National Center for State Courts

 

Tripping Over Our Own Feet: Two Steps Are One Too Many in Jury Operations

Paula L. Hannaford-Agor and Nicole L. Waters

​Jury Management 

Chapter 13 of the Revised Judicature Act (RJA) authorizes two types of jury systems in Michigan.  All trial courts must operate one of the authorized jury systems.  In many counties the circuit, district, and probate courts all use the same jurors.
 
Management of the jury system includes every aspect of selecting jurors and using their services from managing the jury board's work to devising accurate techniques for forecasting the number of jurors who will be needed, from automating the jury records to providing for the comfort and convenience of jurors during their term of service. 
 
The jury system used by each trial court should minimize inconvenience to citizens serving as jurors, broaden citizen participation in the jury system, distribute the responsibility for participation in the jury system among the people in as fair a manner as possible, minimize the term of service of a juror, minimize the number of trials on which an individual juror serves during the juror's term, and provide courteous and helpful treatment of jurors by all trial court personnel.  MCL 600.1301b.
 
As with other aspects of court management, the chief judge of each trial court has the responsibility to manage the jury system.  The chief judge must be committed to efficient use of court resources, including efficient use of jurors. The court should promulgate administrative policies for effective management of the jury system.  These policies should be formulated through the same consultative process involving court staff, the bar, and other interested agencies – as is used in all court policymaking.

 

Jury Management Performance Measures 

What are Jury Management Measures?

Jury management measures include Juror Yield and Juror Utilization.  Juror Yield is the percentage of citizens who were sent qualification questionnaires who qualified for jury duty and available to serve.  Juror Utilization has three percentages – the percentage of jurors who were summoned that were told to report; the percentage of jurors who actually reported that were sent to a courtroom for jury selection; and the percentage of jurors who were sent to a courtrooms for jury selection that were used in a trial or questioned in order to be seated for a trial.  See the Jury Statistics Report.  See also memo with FAQs and this memo regarding testing.
 

Why is it Important to Measure Management of the Jury Process?

Jury management measures are designed to assess the effectiveness of jury management in a trial court.  The data provides information necessary to determine if a court is maximizing the use of citizens in the jury process and minimizing the number of unused prospective jurors, including the number of citizens summoned, qualified, and reporting for jury service.  Jury management balances the need for a sufficient number of jurors for a trial with the inconvenience and cost of calling jurors to the court. 
 

How are the Rates of Juror Yield and Use Measured?

Juror Yield is calculated by dividing the number of jurors qualified with the number of questionnaires sent.  
 
Overall Juror Utilization is calculated by taking the following three percentages and multiplying them together.  Each percentage is also a measure of effectiveness. 
    1. Percentage of Jurors Summoned Who Were Told to Report equals the number of jurors who were told to report divided by the number of jurors who were summoned. This number is an indication of whether the court is summoning more jurors than necessary.
    2. Percent of Jurors that are Sent for Jury Selection equals the number of jurors that are sent to a courtroom divided by the number of jurors that are told to report to the court. This number is important to determine if the court is telling more jurors to report for service than is necessary.
    3. Percentage of the Panel Used equals the total number of jurors that were either questioned in voir dire and/or seated on a jury divided by the number of jurors that were sent to the courtroom. This number is important because it demonstrates whether the court is sending more jurors to the courtroom than are necessary for the jury process.
 

Operating Responsibilities

Centralized and effective management of the jury system should be implemented. There should be full-time administration of the jury system at the top managerial level of the court, with delegation of day-to-day operating responsibilities to a clerical or administrative staff member.  Operating responsibilities should include the following.
  • Supervising all aspects of juror selection.
  • Setting up liaison between the jury management system and other court personnel to ensure two-way information flow about anticipated trial activities and the number of jurors available.
  • Integrating management of juror selection and use so that the operation of each complements the other.
  • Maintaining statistical records on the response and qualification rates for persons sent questionnaires or summoned, the numbers of jurors used (and not used) daily, and other statistics necessary to determine how many questionnaires to send out, how many jurors to summon, etc., in the future.
  • Predicting both on a long-range and day-to-day basis the number of jurors needed at court.
  • Managing the activities of jurors while at court.
  • Maintaining attendance records.
  • Notifying jurors to come to court.
  • Preparing panels of jurors to be sent for voir dire.
  • Arranging for payment of jurors.
  • Planning for better management and recommending improvements when needed.
 
Excerpted from "Management of the Jury System,” ABA Commission on Standards of Judicial Administration, by Maureen Solomon, 1975.