Public Safety

New juror notification process starts Monday in Iowa

Website, online questionnaire aims to simplify process

DES MOINES — The Iowa Judicial Branch launched a new notification process Monday for potential jurors that aims to make it more simple and convenient for citizens to serve.

Prospective jurors will no longer receive a paper questionnaire in the mail with a summons to report for jury duty, state court officials announced. Instead, they will now receive a postcard with information on how to complete the questionnaire online.

The new process was recommended by the Iowa Supreme Court Committee on Jury Selection in its March 2018 report. The committee said the state court administrator’s office should develop an updated process for notifying people of their duty to serve and create a jury portal on the website, which should include an online questionnaire and information about jury duty.

Each postcard will be specific to the county where residents live and include the website address for the online questionnaire, the address of the courthouse with a small map, a juror number, the service start date, the term of service and a juror badge, according to officials.

The online questionnaire will include a section for jurors to enter a cellphone number or email address for notification by text message or email three days before the jury service start date and again 24 hours before the start date. Prospective jurors are allowed to reschedule their service date one time through the online portal.

“This will simplify the process and make it more convenient for citizens summoned for jury service,” State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio said in a statement. “We anticipate a better response rate because people can easily complete the juror questionnaire on their phones or at their home computer 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. We plan to look at the utilization rate after the launch to see if the new process has improved the response.”

Along with the new juror notification process, there is also a new jury service page on the website. The page includes answers to frequently asked questions, directions on how to complete the online questionnaire, what to expect during a trial, and information on how to identify and avoid jury scams.

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A portion of the frequently asked questions section explains how citizens are selected for jury service and includes a link to the master list of names in the jury pool. The judicial branch compiles lists of licensed drivers, state identification card holders, and registered voters residing in each county to create the Master Jury List.

The judicial branch website also has individual pages with juror information for each county. The county-specific pages include contact information, what to wear to court, where to park and jury check-in information.

For those without computer access, the postcard will include a phone number to request a paper questionnaire.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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