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40 Judges J. 34 (2001)
The Technological Juror

handle is hein.journals/judgej40 and id is 177 raw text is: [ICOURTOO TEHOLG     I Ir~

The Technological Juror
By Nancy S. Marder

The jury is at a unique juncture: it is
an ancient institution that needs to
embrace the tools of modernity. Every
day American juries decide cases that
involve lengthy trials, complicated facts,
and/or extensive expert testimony. Even
as trials become more complex, the tools
that courts give jurors to perform their
tasks have remained essentially
unchanged since our nation's founding.
Rather than criticize the jury as inade-
quate to the task, why not update the
tools that jurors have at their disposal?
Technological advances have become so
widespread that even lawyers mad judges
have begun to experiment with ways in
which technology can help them to per-
form their jobs in the courtroom.I It is
time to consider how technology can
enable juries to perform their decision
making as effectively as possible.
Innovative Uses of Technology for
Prospective Jurors
Several courts are already experi-
menting with ways to use the Internet to
provide prospective jurors with informa-
tion about their tasks even before they
step into a courtroom. A number of
courts have created Websites that provide
prospective jurors with maps and direc-
tions to the courthouse.2 Armed with this
information, prospective jurors can pro-
ceed with confidence, knowing routes to
take, places to park, and areas to avoid
so that they arrive safely at the court-

Nancy S. Marder,
a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of
Law, teaches a course titled Juries, Judges, &
Trials. She has written numerous law review
articles on the jury and is currently working on
a book entitled The Jury Process.

Many courts also
use the Internet
to provide
prospective jurors
with basic
information about
their role as jurors.
house. Some courts have gone one step
further: they provide a virtual tour of the
courthouse on the Internet.3 As a result,
prospective jurors know not only how to
reach the courthouse, but also how to
proceed once they are there.
Many courts also use the Internet to
provide prospective jurors with basic
information about their role as jurors.
Some courts offer a glossary of legal
terms;4 others provide a section with
answers to Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs).5 The questions range
from the theoretical, What does the
office of jury administration do? to the
practical Are there phones and vending
machines in the jury room?6
Courts are beginning to use the
Internet to provide prospective jurors
with information that they receive in
other forms already. For example, courts
typically mail prospective jurors a hand-
book to educate them about their duties
as jurors; now a number of courts make
the handbook available online.7 In many
courthouses, prospective jurors are ush-
ered into a room where they watch a film
or video providing general information
about being a juror.8 Now, some courts,
such as those in Florida and Georgia,
produce an orientation video that
prospective jurors can watch on the
Web;9 thus, prospective jurors can view
the video at their convenience and in the
comfort of their own homes.

Courts use the Internet not only to
provide prospective jurors with general
information, but also to conduct business
that in the past would have required a
trip to the courthouse. For example, in
Georgia, California, and Connecticut,
prospective jurors can go online and
check their status to see if they are need-
ed in court that day.10 This allows them
to avoid additional trips to court and
interminable waits on the telephone.
Some courts in a number of states,
including Colorado, Florida, Georgia,
and Massachusetts, use the Internet to
allow prospective jurors to seek hardship
excuses or postponements of jury ser-
vice.II Other courts allow prospective
jurors to complete online questionnaires,
which they would ordinarily have com-
pleted in the jury assembly room.12
High-Technology Tools for Jurors
Technology has a role to play not
only as prospective jurors prepare for
jury duty, but also after they have been
selected to serve on a jury. At one end of
the spectrum, there are high-technology
tools to assist jurors in their decision
making. Some courts permit videocon-
ferencing for remote testimony of expert
witnesses. Such a presentation tends to
shorten the testimony and enables jurors
to take the videotape into the jury room
to review the testimony during their
Another example of high-technology
that can aid jurors is the use of video
presenters with monitors for jurors.13
This technology allows lawyers to con-
nect their laptop computers to the pre-
senter and highlight details of exhibits or
transcripts that jurors can watch on the
monitors before them. Jurors can follow
the lawyer's point as he or she makes it,
rather than merely glimpsing an exhibit
that is passed among the jurors even as
the lawyer has moved on to the next
argument or piece of evidence. This
mode of presentation might also be more
familiar to the next generation of jurors
who are accustomed to obtaining infor-
mation by television or computer.
Although this technology is relatively

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