Jackson County Circuit Court Rolls Out Self-Service Portal And New Summons
MEDFORD, Ore. — Making it easier for residents called up for jury duty to navigate the jury selection process, Jackson County Circuit Court has launched a new online system that will give jurors better access to communication with court officials. The court commenced mailing the new version of summonses- in the form of a postcard, to prospective jurors on January 22.
Trial court administrator for Jackson County Circuit Court, Tina Qualls confirmed that they had sought a less paper-intensive system that worked better for jurors. She indicated that the new system is more efficient than the one that was previously used.
The Jackson County Circuit Court upgrades to its juror communication system was the brainchild of the Oregon Judicial Department, which oversees state courts. Jackson County is part of the second phase of implementation for the new system statewide. State courts may choose to not use the new postcard system, but Jackson County court elected to opt in.
Modernized Jury Summonses And Portal For Jackson County
The communications coordinator for OJD- Sarah Evans, confirmed that it is part of their role to internally track the issuing of jury summonses and other initiatives. She indicated that OJD had been wanting to refresh and modernize what they were doing since 2022. Texas-based Tyler Technologies- a software provider catering to the public sector, was selected to help implement the new system by OJD.
According to Evans, the online portal that comes with the system is one one the things that was not previously available for jurors. She said that when they spoke to people who had served on juries, they often had feedback that jurors loved the experience and that the new system wasn’t intimidating. It made them feel more comfortable by learning how the courts work. Evans said, “We’re always looking for ways that we can make the jury experience easier for people.”
In the past, courts mailed summonses in a brochure packed in an envelope. With the new postcard, the QR code can be scanned by prospective jurors using their phones to take them to the portal. This is a process that many people are already familiar with.
The new portal- called Juror eResponse, allows users to:
- Complete juror forms
- Request a deferral or excusal
- Obtain an attendance slip for their service
- Opt-in for text or email notifications and reporting instructions
Qualls is confident that the new system won’t have any bugs that the court is unable to work through. She believes that this is a good system and confirmed that prospective and selected jurors could always call the court if they have any trouble navigating the portal. Because the system is new, they are anticipating a lot of calls.
What To Do About A Jury Summons
People receiving a jury summons who do not have internet access can complete a questionnaire when they report for jury service. Qualls also confirmed that jury service is very important, and called on residents to please read the summons, show up for jury service, and complete the paperwork. She indicated that the first round of the new jury summonses was between 500 and 600.
According to the Oregon Juror Handbook, the court may issue an order requiring a prospective juror to appear if they ignore a summons. If they ignore that order, any person may be held in contempt of court. The only way for a prospective juror to get out of jury duty is to appear in court and be deferred or excused from service.
Qualls realizes that people could be a little confused by the new system, but the court hopes that the online portal is much easier to use. They trust that when prospective jurors use the portal, they also have an easier time at the courthouse while waiting to be called.
More information about jury service in Jackson County Circuit Court is available on their website.