The Third Branch
Court clerks and jurors alike to appreciate new Jury Management software
By Jean Bousquet, Chief Information Officer
Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) recently completed development of the new Jury Management software. Jury Management is a major rewrite of the current application and a migration to the new CCAP 3.0 web application framework. This is the fourth major system rewritten to this new web environment, following Bulk Scanning, Judicial Dashboard and 18 Case and Financial Maintenance applications. The new software offers users many new and modern features, built on a framework using advanced tools available to software developers. This translates to an application with a modern and intuitive look and feel.
The Jury home page provides jury clerks with up-to-date information about their jury pools, panels, jurors, expenses, cases and summary information. While some of this information is available in the current application, the new application presents information to the users rather than making them hunt for it. The home page provides a single screen for clerks to view and manage their essential information about juries and jurors. Jury clerks not only see how many jurors are scheduled to appear on upcoming jury panels, but they can also verify summonses were sent to those jurors. Along with easier navigation from the home page, hyperlinks are available throughout the system, allowing jury clerks to view and edit information throughout Jury Management without having to open multiple windows.
New features have also been included in the rewrite. For example, text messaging and e-mail reminders have been incorporated. Prospective jurors completing their jury questionnaire online can provide e-mail and cell phone information as part of the process. Jury clerks can then easily send a text or e-mail message to these prospective jurors reminding them when to report for jury duty. Another new feature is a new "all-in-one" process that allows jury clerks to select and send jurors to voir dire in a single step. A jury clerk simply selects the number of jurors for a specific case, and all forms including the preemptory challenge, panel member list, voir dire list, and seating chart are automatically generated and ready to send to the courtroom along with the jurors.
Jury clerks throughout the state were active in this year-long redesign process. CCAP used webinars and surveys to guarantee this new approach would meet the business requirements and processes used throughout the circuit courts. Clerk expertise was invaluable as a fresh approach was taken to the design and information flow of this application. In October, most jury clerks made a trip to Madison to participate in a day-long classroom training session where they had a hands-on opportunity to "kick the tires" on the new system. Overall the feedback from the clerks was very positive, and they helped to reengineer processes in the software that needed improvement.
"These training sessions were invaluable not only for the jury clerks but also the CCAP staff who had an opportunity to hear about the various nuances that make up jury management throughout the state," noted Tim Duggan, CCAP project supervisor. "Taking the time to work with jury clerks during the development process should result in a product that doesn’t need major refinement as we implement statewide."
Jury Management software was piloted in Winnebago County on Feb. 22. During the first week, Winnebago staff had an opportunity to use many of the features in the system while CCAP staff were on site to assist. Clerk of Circuit Court Melissa Konrad said "Jury 3" will be a great tool in streamlining jury duties for the clerk.
"The system is very user friendly and will save time and money. The system is working wonderfully. Our first time using Jury 3 we had three trials go off without a hitch. The CCAP support was fantastic. New and experienced users agree the new jury software was much easier to use, more intuitive, and we’re glad to be the pilot county!"
CCAP will continue to roll out this new application throughout the state and staff will be on-site in each county to offer training and assistance. Because jury trials will not always be calendared during the implementation, CCAP staff will also be available to work remotely with jury clerks after implementation to ensure a smooth transition for each county. A second Jury Management release is currently underway and includes new features, enhancements and bug fixes. CCAP will continue to commit resources to this project to ensure that a successful migration can occur in each county.