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Bar News - November 15, 2013

Court Releases Memo, White Paper on Jury System Randomness

A recent memo on the new electronic jury management system from New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau addressed the randomness of jury selection under the new system.

In the memo, Nadeau explains that, “the manner in which the master list of jurors to be summoned is generated has not changed. Pursuant to RSA 500-A:2, the master list of jurors is still generated from voter lists and Department of Safety lists provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts by the Secretary of State.”

Though the system looks different in the courtroom to both parties and prospective jurors, selection by computer is just as random as the previous method of manually drawing names from a box, if not more so. Court clerks now use a computer-generated list of jurors.

“Instead of drawing a name tag out of a box, the clerk will call the first name or number that appears on this randomly generated list,” Nadeau explains in the memo. “The clerk will disclose to the attorneys, parties, and judge one name at a time in the order the names are contained on the list until the jury is seated.”

With the memo to attorneys and parties participating in the jury selection process, Nadeau also provided a white paper written by the jury management software vendor explaining in more detail how the random selection works.

Anyone with questions about the jury management system should contact Superior Court Administrator Pat Lenz.

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