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Developing National Standards for Jury Automation Technology

On December 5, 2013, the Conference of Chief Justices/National Association for Court Management (COSCA/NACM) Joint Technology Committee (JTC) received the first report of a Working Group appointed to develop national technology standards for jury automation. The JTC Jury Standards Working Group is comprised of representatives from JTC, the Court Information Technology Officers Consortium (CITOC), the Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT), and national experts on jury system technology. By beginning with a set of jury automation technology requirements that were developed earlier this year for the Fourth Judicial District Court in Minnesota, the Working Group had a considerable head start on this project The Minnesota standards were developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) with a grant from the State Justice Institute. Minnesota intends to use the technology standards to develop an RFP to procure a statewide jury automation system.

For the Minnesota project, the NCSC assembled an advisory committee composed of Minnesota stakeholders and national experts on jury system technology. The project was one of the first opportunities that NCSC technology experts had to employ the Court Technology Framework (CTF). The CTF is a tool developed by the JTC and designed to provide context for existing, and identification of possible new, technology standards initiatives for the court community. The goals and objectives of the CTF include: 1) providing an organized view of the increasingly complex landscape of court technology solutions; 2) promoting alignment of IT initiatives with business goals; 3) defining a standard set of components and interfaces that make up a comprehensive court IT environment; and 4) helping courts more readily identify opportunities for improved efficiency and/or cost savings through the use of technologies. For the Minnesota jury technology standards, project staff and Advisory Committee members first identified the business capabilities necessary to operate a jury system effectively, then specified the technology applications, data management, and technology infrastructure required to support those capabilities.

Both the Minnesota technology standards and the JTC Working Group standards emphasize the need for improved technology solutions to incorporate effective practices in jury operations; to exchange information more effectively with executive agencies, court case management systems, courtrooms, and court finance divisions; and to generate management reports that conform to standard jury performance measures such as jury yield and juror utilization. The Working Group expects to submit its recommendations for national jury automation standards to the JTC in Spring, 2014.

For more information on the resources mentioned in this article, including a cadre of publications, memorandums, and working documents, please visit the Joint Technology Committee website (http://www.ncsc.org/About-us/Committees/Joint-Technology-Committee.aspx) and the Court Technology Framework website (http://www.ncsc.org/ctfwiki).