Supreme Court Issues New Jury Composition Rule

By now most people involved with Superior and State Courts are familiar with the new master jury lists that have expanded by the hundreds and even thousands the number of eligible jurors within each county.  Under the direction of the Supreme Court, the Council of Superior Court Clerks implemented a new method of combining the state voter list and drivers’ license records to create a master jury list for each of the 159 counties in Georgia.  The new lists have had the impact that was intended by the 2011 jury list reform, that is, to make our juries as inclusive as possible.

The lists went into effect on July 1, 2012. As with most reform, there were some bumps along the way.  Courts, lawyers, and jurors have had to adapt to the expanded jury pools and understand the operation of the new laws as well as the Supreme Court Rule on Jury Composition.  Challenges to the new process have wound through the courts, testing the success of the new methodology.   Step-by-step the jury reform has proven itself to be a success.  Georgians should be proud of their new system and everyone in the courthouses who put the changes into effect.  
With assistance from the Administrative Office of the Courts and Dr. John Speir of Applied Research Services, Inc., the Council of Superior Court Judges and the Council of Superior Court Clerks formulated proposals to refine the process of screening for duplicate records and create a process to improve the lists each year using information provided by local courts.  The Supreme Court adopted these changes in February, along with a temporary rule to allow limited processing to refine the lists until the new county master lists are delivered in late June 2013.  These changes will ensure the accuracy of the lists and improve both administration of and the citizens’ experience with the jury process.

The revised Supreme Court Jury Rule is available here.


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