New juror system leads to higher turnout

New juror system leads to higher turnout

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Before the new jury system came to the clerks office, jury duty was like water and oil to Midland County residents, they didn't mix.

Ross Bush, county clerk said, "I would mail out 1000 cards for jury duty and we could have a 17% return, 160-180 people.".

Which led to problems.

"Sheriff Painter is always talking about his jail is full, but if we don't have enough jurors we can't try cases and get people out of jail," said Bush.

Thanks to Judicial Systems Incorporated, what was once a 17% return is now almost 70%. Residents still get cards and those who are picked get a 3X5 card saying where to register.

Next, they are taken to a program where the potential juror is asked about qualifications and any exemptions from there they are put into a pool.

Once a judge asks for jurors, Bush sends a larger card with the date which could be changed and potential jurors are now reminded three times so they won't forget. Bush said it's the flexibility that's leading to better results.

"This new system helps alleviate that problem because it gives you the freedom, choice and ability to make moves on your own," said Bush.

Bush added being able to change the date happens on a first come first serve basis and the cost for the system was $90,000. He thanked the county for the purchase and said with the results they are seeing the county is getting a return on their investment.

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