Electronic Jury Questionnaires

Government:

San Francisco Superior Court

Category:

Process Improvement, Digitization

Budget:

Budget Not Determined Yet

Procurement Method:

RFP Bus
View doc

Application Period:

October 16, 2019 - December 1, 2019

Q&A Period:

October 16, 2019 - October 30, 2019

Challenge

The San Francisco Superior Court is seeking a an efficient and user-friendly technology solution to replace the current paper jury questionnaires for our staff.

Background

The Jury Office uses paper questionnaires for jurors who are completing the voir dire process, typically in lengthy legal cases. These cases include legal issues that may lead to challenges for cause. Cause challenges most commonly stem from jurors who have: opinions held too strongly to be objective; personal experience with the core issue(s) of the case; and/or expertise or life experience that is not a good fit for the case. Rather than verbally eliciting this information in the courtroom, the paper questionnaire streamlines the process. 

Jurors complete and submit the paper questionnaires, which are subsequently put in random order (based on a list provided by the Jury Office) and copied. The Judge and counsel review these questionnaires and confer to determine whether certain potential jurors should be released via cause challenge based on their responses. These jurors are then told not to report for voir dire. The percentage of jurors excused at this point varies widely, from a low of 5% to a high of 25%. The questionnaires of the remaining jurors are theoretically used to streamline voir dire by allowing attorneys to focus on follow-up questions rather than asking duplicative questions. 

The problem with the current system is two-fold. First, the questionnaires are long, frequently in excess of 40 pages. The length makes the process cumbersome and time-consuming, with some jurors taking more than an hour to complete the questionnaires. Second, they are paper, which creates significant expenses related to coping the completed questionnaires for parties involved (at least three copies total: one for each party and one for the Court). Plowing through all the responses is a labor-intensive and cumbersome process. Further, counsel may only really be concerned with responses to a few questions, therefore rendering the rest of the information inconsequential. Most of the questions are open-ended, which may not be the most efficient way to elicit the information required.

The Jury Office uses paper questionnaires for jurors who are completing the voir dire process, typically in lengthy legal cases. These cases include legal issues that may lead to challenges for cause. Cause challenges most commonly stem from jurors who have: opinions held too strongly to be objective; personal experience with the core issue(s) of the case; and/or expertise or life experience that is not a good fit for the case. Rather than verbally eliciting this information in the courtroom, the paper questionnaire streamlines the process. 

Jurors complete and submit the paper questionnaires, which are subsequently put in random order (based on a list provided by the Jury Office) and copied. The Judge and counsel review these questionnaires and confer to determine whether certain potential jurors should be released via cause challenge based on their responses. These jurors are then told not to report for voir dire. The percentage of jurors excused at this point varies widely, from a low of 5% to a high of 25%. The questionnaires of the remaining jurors are theoretically used to streamline voir dire by allowing attorneys to focus on follow-up questions rather than asking duplicative questions. 

The problem with the current system is two-fold. First, the questionnaires are long, frequently in excess of 40 pages. The length makes the process cumbersome and time-consuming, with some jurors taking more than an hour to complete the questionnaires. Second, they are paper, which creates significant expenses related to coping the completed questionnaires for parties involved (at least three copies total: one for each party and one for the Court). Plowing through all the responses is a labor-intensive and cumbersome process. Further, counsel may only really be concerned with responses to a few questions, therefore rendering the rest of the information inconsequential. Most of the questions are open-ended, which may not be the most efficient way to elicit the information required.

Requirements & Outcome

Goals and Objectives
The Court’s goal for Challenge #1 is to replace the paper questionnaires with a technology solution that   would allow jurors to enter their responses through tablets/via kiosk and connect that information to a database accessible to judicial officers and counsel. The database must include the ability to run analytics against the juror responses and must employ state-of-the-art security protocols to protect juror privacy and confidentiality requirements.

Technological Standards
The Court seeks a process that will:
• Eliminate paper questionnaires
• Provide a searchable database that includes analytics for analysis of juror responses
• Reduce the time and frustration associated with dealing with paper questionnaires.
• Employ security protocols to ensure all data is confidential; available only to those with Court-granted access for a specific period of time; and archivable as part of the case record.

An interface with the jury management system to extract and populate the juror demographic information is preferred.