AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Anyone who has been summoned for jury duty knows it can be a tedious process. The State Bar of Texas wants to learn more about the juror experience by asking Texans to fill out a survey.
The information from the survey will be delivered to the State Bar of Texas Jury Service Committee.
“We want feedback around the state from people’s experiences so that we can take that information and kind of get an idea about what’s going on out there,” said Kaci Singer, an advisory member of the Jury Service Committee, who recently served as the committee chair.
“Maybe there is information we can provide to legislators, that they could maybe make a change, or maybe to clerks and judges to just tweak the process here and there,” Singer said. She mentioned some of the complaints she hears about are a lack of vending machines and other food availability, “sitting around and waiting and not knowing why,” and missing work.
“The mission of the Jury Service Committee is… basically to improve jury service for the people of the state,” Singer said. “To do that, we need to know what is going on, what works, what doesn’t work, what recommendations do they have, what things could make it better for them, so that we can take that information and try to find a way to make things better.”
The survey can be found at texasbar.com/jurysurvey.
“Being a small business owner, you rely on your employees you do have to handle things,” said John Gagnon. He owns a small transportation brokerage business.
“It’s a pretty hectic environment, and when you are down an employee it can be frustrating to get through the workdays without them,” Gagnon said. “Work piling up while they’re gone, it hasn’t been fun.”
According to Singer, a majority of jurors have enjoyed the process.
“I thought it was really interesting the whole choice of the jury and going through the whole selection process,” said Jessica Lerner, who was summoned for jury duty once.
“I know a lot of people may not enjoy taking off of work or having to do that, but I found the process really interesting, listening to the different stories, the whole voir dire process of getting chosen on a jury,” she explained. “I think it’s a part of your civic duty and I think it’s interesting.”
Lerner’s feedback encouraged the Bar to find a way to identify a narrower time frame for potential jurors, so people could plan their schedules.
“Most people have plans, most people have things to do, and it’s not always easy to change,” she said.
“My jury, if I remember correctly was only two or three days, it was not long,” she said. “But there are people who are on for many many weeks.”
According to the agency, the State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that “provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system.”