D.C. Superior Court able to cobble together juries despite computer glitch

A computer glitch in the D.C. Superior Court prevented jury summonses from being printed and delivered in late December, leaving court officials scrambling for jurors in late January. Ultimately, the court was able to bring in enough jurors on a few days’ notice to be able to hold the scheduled jury trials.

Jury trials are a critical part of American democracy, and in many instances a constitutional right. But jury service is also an imposition on the lives of our citizens. Courts need to make it as easy as possible for people to perform their civic obligations, and monitoring whether jury notices go out on time seems like a simple place to start.

Courts try new tactics to address those who skip jury duty

The Oregonian has an interesting article on the efforts of state and federal courts to crack down on citizens not appearing for jury duty.  The story nicely describes the range of tactics in play, from jury coordinators and James Taylor concert videos to being individually summoned and grilled by an irritated judge.

Jury trials are central to the American justice system, and citizens who serve on a jury almost always walk away with a better appreciation for the court system and their own civic responsibilities.