Recently I had jury duty. For my first time I was somewhat excited, looking at the experience like that of a trial on TV; until I got to the courthouse. The jurors were escorted to this “waiting room” it was over crowded with no AC and uncomfortable chairs. There I and 25 other people waited to be told what the next move would be. Then the waiting set in, in the mean time we watched a video on a tube TV; which I haven’t seen in years. At the first sight of the VHS Tape, I thought to myself “this should be good.” The video was from 1970 at least. Watching the video I thought to myself this is what the state uses tax money on, an outdated video about how jurors are the most crucial part of a trial and how we should be proud of ourselves that we are serving “our duty to the Commonwealth.”
After viewing the video I sat there in awe and thought with all the technology and media advances in 2010, the court system couldn't update their presentation on “jury service.” When I got home that night I searched and explored the Massachusetts Jury website, there I found this statement on the top of the home page:
"Due to recent changes in technology, including the implementation of new jury management software, a small amount of technical information on this website may be outdated. THE INFORMATION ON THE LOG-IN JUROR SERVICE WEBSITE IS ACCURATE AND CURRENT.
We are implementing a new website in the near future and would welcome any comments or suggestions our users may have.
Please direct your comments to JurorHelp@jud.state.ma.us."
Any suggestions? I have many suggestions. Near future? When is that going to be? Jury duty is not glamorous and will probably never be something that one looks forward to; but make the process modern. The website is not organized, the graphics, colors and links are scattered and confusing. The site itself is cluttered and the pictures are not recent. Technology is the future of our society, with the Internet, smart phones, and all the media products out there we have become dependant on our media aids. With modern technology the process wouldn’t seem so ancient to the first time juror or someone who has served many times.
Waiting in the “juror area” I saw almost every lawyer carrying a smart phone. One attorney was making appointments and scheduling further dates for her client on her phone. If lawyers and those working in the court system are up to date with savvy technology, then how didn’t the court system get the memo: ITS 2010 not 1970. I understand that the court system is on a strict budget, but to make or buy a up to date video and have someone maintain their website is not going break the bank. Everywhere you turn media plays a role in your daily life. I felt like I had gone back in time when I entered the court, its maintenance was appalling, the organization of the cases was dumbfounding and the “juror area” room felt like a room in my grandmother’s house. But beside the appearance of the court, the one aspect of my day that stood out was the fact that attorneys, clients, and those employed for the court were aware that it was 2010 and used the newest technology and media advances but were surrounded by a building that still used VHS tapes.
I am not that technology savvy myself but a system such as the courts; the foundation of our legal system needs to be up to date with the society that it serves and provide services for jurors, attorneys, the commonwealth and its employees. The court system is one of the most used tools in the criminal justice system and in regards to my experience one of the most “out dated, ancient, and behind” systems as far as district courts go.