Jury System Management

NCSC's Center for Jury Studies has more than 30 years' experience advising state and federal courts on effective jury system management, including summoning and qualification procedures, juror orientation, jury system automation and jury trial practices.

85573The NCSC Center for Jury Studies recently published a study of inclusiveness, representativeness, and accuracy for master jury lists in three states.  The study found that NCOA processing updated an average of 10% of address records across six different juror source lists.  In a follow-up effort, the NCSC Center for Jury Studies issued a Request for Information (RFI) to NCOA authorized vendors seeking information about the cost of services and the availability of supplemental services for hypothetical courts with different volumes of record processing.  A report summarizing RFI responses from 13 NCOA Providers shows the potential savings for courts for printing, postage and staff costs and highlights considerations for choosing between vendor services.

Image of business people and their shadowsThe master jury list is the first step in the complex process of assembling a pool of prospective jurors.  To ensure that the process is efficient and that the resulting jury pool reflects the demographic composition of the community, the master jury list should be broadly inclusive of the adult population, geographically and demographically representative, and contain accurate address records. In 2021, the NCSC Center for Jury Studies undertook a study of juror source lists and master jury lists in three states.  The final report highlights the implications of using poor quality juror source lists and failing to identify duplicate records during process of merging multiple lists, which resulted in substantially over-inclusive source lists and master jury lists in all three states.  The NCSC concluded that over-inclusiveness can be as problematic as under-inclusiveness.  The presence of unrecognized duplicate records and stale records undermines the efficiency of the jury system by incurring printing, postage, and staffing costs for duplicative jury summonses or summonses that do not reach the intended recipients.  It also distorts demographic representation in different ways.  In some states, it may mask underrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups; in others, it may cause concerns about underrepresentation that does not really exist.  The NCSC recommended that state courts use only as many juror source lists as necessary to achieve inclusiveness at or near 100%.  The choice of which source lists to use should be based on assessments of list quality, especially concerning record accuracy, which may differ from state to state.

juror compensation coverOne of the many reasons that jurors deserve recognition during Juror Appreciation Week is their dedication to doing fair and impartial justice for very little monetary reward.  Some states have become increasingly aware of the financial barriers that impede full participation, especially for people working in hourly-wage jobs, and have made efforts to increase juror compensation.  A new report documents existing and proposed juror compensation in state courts.  Be sure to also check out our Comparative Data web page that shows the size of the gap between juror compensation and median per capita income in each state, as well as the length of time since jurors got a raise.

jury size report This updated briefing paper summarizes recent studies on the impact of jury size on the demographic composition of juries, the accuracy and reliability of verdicts, and operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  New insights from empirical research highlight the interrelationship of jury size and unanimous verdict rules on the dynamics of jury deliberations.

Project Increase Jury Pool
Increasing the Jury Pool: The Impact of an Employer Tax Credit (2002)