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Bar News - August 23, 2013

Superior Court Launches Jury Software

The NH Superior Court recently rolled out its new jury management software.

Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau described the new jury system in a letter sent to court clerks and the NH Bar, which is available on the NH Bar Association website.

Under the new system, when an attorney or self-represented litigant requests a copy of juror questionnaires, they will receive a summary of each juror’s questionnaire, rather than a copy of the actual questionnaire. The summaries will be delivered to attorneys and self-represented litigants by email in portable document format, for a flat fee of $50.

The first jury selection under the new system is scheduled to take place in Grafton County on Sept. 4, following by selections on Sept. 9 in Rockingham, Coos, and Belknap counties.

Jury summonses are now mailed from a central automated mailing service, which equates to savings in postage.

According to the court, more than 18,000 people in New Hampshire were summoned to jury duty in 2012; from that pool, jurors were selected to serve on 253 criminal and 51 civil jury trials. Others served on grand juries.

The state spent $500,000 to update the jury system.

“We are grateful that the Legislature recognized the need to modernize our jury management system, which not only saves time for court staff and lawyers, but also benefits members of the public who are asked to give of their valuable time to serve as jurors,” Nadeau said.

Prior to a jury trial, a “pool” of potential jurors is assembled at the courthouse. Under the new system, a computer will randomly select names of jurors from the “pool” to sit on a jury for a particular case. Previously, jurors were assigned numbers and their names were pulled at random by the court clerk.

Bar News reported extensively on the new jury management system in the June 21 issue.

To learn more about the jury system and hear past jurors talk about their experiences, watch the court’s new jury information video, which can be accessed on the “Juror Information” page at the court’s website.

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