GLENN A. GRANT
Administrative Director of the Courts
Office of Communications
New Jersey Courts Begin Statewide Collection of Juror Demographic Information
New Jersey courts have begun to collect juror demographic information at the initial stage of the selection process, giving attorneys the information necessary to assess the composition of a jury pool in advance of a trial.
The collection of juror demographic information is part of statewide reforms authorized by the Supreme Court in July to improve the jury selection process. Jurors are given the option to respond to questions about their race, ethnicity, and gender on the qualification questionnaire. So far, in all counties, the vast majority of potential jurors have voluntary provided demographic information. Implementation of this improvement and other reforms is possible through a new in-house jury management system in use throughout the state.
New Jersey is the first state court system to collect juror demographic information on the qualification questionnaire.
“By collecting juror information at the earliest possible stage, New Jersey will for the first time have a clear picture of the degree to which our jury pools align with their communities. Attorneys and parties in a trial will be able to obtain demographic data in advance of a trial to determine if there is an underrepresentation of a particular race, ethnicity, or gender in a jury pool, and the Court will be able to use the information to assess the effectiveness of the jury selection process and identify any areas in need of reform,” said Glenn A. Grant, administrative director of the courts.
The new jury management system also:
• provides a straightforward process for jurors to make requests to be excused, rescheduled, or disqualified.
• makes court staff regularly available to assist jurors with technical issues through the MyJuryService portal.
• maintains the use of paper questionnaires for jurors who prefer to respond by mail.
• continues to provide jurors with e-mail and text messages with the most up-to-date information about their service.
• enhances security for juror information.
The completion of the new system coincides with Jury Appreciation Week, an annual event that recognizes the contributions to justice made by the thousands of individuals who serve as jurors annually.
“Our system of justice could not function properly without citizen participation in jury service – one of the most important roles an individual can play in our democracy. We truly appreciate the efforts of all those who have responded to that call to service,” Grant said.