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Mississippi Court Finance Study - Volume 3 - The Mississippi Jury System - Management and Cost Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
119 pages
This third volume of a six-volume study of the Mississippi court system documents how the existing jury management system operates with reference to statutory guidelines determining administrative practice.
Measures of jury activity volume and jury system costs were taken during data collection for this phase of the study; statistics are presented in aggregate and individual form. The report identifies seven major issues in jury management and organizes analytical discussion and presentation of recommendations around these issues. The issues are community representativeness of the source lists used; randomness in the selection of prospective jurors; efficiency of the summoning process; size of weekly empanelments; and comparison of system costs and activity volume (number summoned, number empaneled) to corresponding jury trials and juror days. Related issues include the length of jury service and rates of juror compensation. The analysis is based on an examination of administrative practices in 12 of the State's 82 counties. Selection of jurors is properly random in the State, but the selection process can be streamlined by elimination of the 'jury box.' Juror length of service and compensation rates are appropriate and pose no obstacles to adminsitrative efficiency. The use of a single source list is not the best way to obtain community representativeness, but the benefits of integrating multiple lists must be weighed against the cost of doing so. Telephone alert systems can save juror fee costs and are working well in many Mississippi trial courts. Summoning process efficiency is mitigated by outdated voter registration lists; these lists should be constantly updated to avoid issuing an excess number of summons. The area offering the greatest opportunity for cost savings is that of the size of weekly empanelments. Management information is not being kept on jury activities; statistical recordkeeping on jury trials and juror use would facilitate cost savings in juror fees. Forms used in the current jury management system and other materials are appended. Tabular data, figures, and footnotes are provided. For related volumes, see NCJ 70127-29 and 70131-34.


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