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Jury system becomes more electronic

Jury system becomes more electronic

August 11th, 2018 by News Tribune in Local News

Prospective jurors in Cole County will be able to communicate with the court by text or email starting next month.

The Cole County Circuit Court plans to implement the new Show-Me Jury system, and new Show-Me Jury summonses will be mailed this month for jury service beginning Sept. 4, 2018.

"A big benefit to the public will be the ease of contacting and communicating with the courts and in particular the jury supervisor's office," Presiding Judge Patricia Joyce said in a news release.

"Although Show-Me Jury is not completely paperless, it allows our potential jurors to do more online and choose how they want the court to let them know if they have been excused or disqualified for serving, or if their service has been postponed or canceled," Joyce added.

The news release included an explanation of how the system works:

The circuit court will send a summons for jury service through the postal mail.

Potential jurors who receive the summons will be able to go to courts.mo.gov/ejuror to complete their juror qualification forms. The online questionnaire lets prospective jurors choose their preferred method of communication with the court.

People who believe they are not qualified for jury service under state law can follow online instructions to submit their necessary documentation electronically.

The jury supervisor's office can notify potential jurors by text or email if their service is no longer needed — if the potential jurors have provided the appropriate contact information.

People who do not have access to a computer or who prefer not to communicate electronically may call the local jury supervisor's office to request paper copies of questionnaires. They also can call the court's automated phone messaging system.

The Show-Me Jury system is designed to give people a choice in how they want to communicate with their local courts about jury service. Missouri courts do not require anyone to provide confidential information over the phone or by email.

Any phone call or email that threatens the recipient with fines or jail time for failure to comply are fraudulent and should be reported to local law enforcement.

"Juries are a hallmark of the American justice system, and we truly appreciate the willingness of our citizens to serve as jurors. Through the Show-Me Jury system, we hope to make that service much easier and more convenient," Joyce said.

The new Show-Me Jury system was piloted in the St. Louis City Circuit Court beginning in February 2017.

The Cole County Circuit Court is the 16th court to implement the system so far this year.

Boone County began using the new system in February, and Callaway County was expected to start using the system in April, the Columbia Missourian reported earlier this year.