The notification process for prospective jurors who will hear cases in courtrooms across the state changed Monday.
State Judicial System spokesperson Steve Davis says it’s a move to a more modern way for jurors to fill out information once they are notified.
“Instead of getting a paper questionnaire, the potential juror will receive a postcard,” Davis explains, “and the postcard will have quite a bit of information about their jury service — but the questionnaire itself is now online.”
Davis says everyone is now used to doing things on their phones and computers and this is another thing to add to the list. “We’re hoping that with the postcard it will be more convenient. It’s much simpler to just get online and fill out the questionnaire as opposed to filling out the paper questionnaire, putting it in an envelope and mailing it back,” Davis says.
Davis says the new system also offers a way for you to be reminded if you are chosen for jury duty. He says you can sign up when you fill out the questionnaire to get a text notification or email reminder three days before you are scheduled for jury duty, and again 24 hours before the day. He says there is also a link on the website that answers a lot of questions about jury duty.
Davis says a juror pool is put together with two lists. “It’s a list of licensed drivers or state identification card holders and registered voters residing in each county,” according to Davis. “And those lists are combined and then duplicates are eliminated, and then that becomes the master list for the county.” Hurors are then randomly chosen from the master list. That random selection process means you never know how often you might be called for jury duty.
“It varies quite a bit. I’ve had people who call who have served twice in three years and I’ve had people call who have never served. And they are wondering why they are never picked. So, it varies quite drastically.” Davis says each postcard will be specific to the county your residence 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 the juror badge.
To find out more about jury service you can go to the Iowa Judicial Branch jury service page on its website at : http://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/jury-service