History

 

Our organization started in the early 80s as an informal gathering of jury managers to discuss issues encountered while performing their daily duties and to share information helpful to the development of a more effective jury program.  Over the years, our group has evolved to become a formal organization with our first conference in 1989.  The purpose of the organization is to improve jury operations through the exchange of ideas and information, and by promoting, enhancing, educating and providing technical assistance to jury service personnel. 

 

Today our organization is made up of Jury Commissioners, Administrators, Managers, Clerks and other court personnel that are involved in jury management. 

 

JEM sponsors conferences in California during the year, which includes a site visit at one of the local courthouses.  During these conferences relevant topics are discussed including jury management procedures; jury challenges; jury improvement; how to handle jury problems; customer service; jury privacy; and various hot topics pertaining to jury and jury legislation.  These conferences also include various vendors relevant to jury services, such as video and information technology; image and recording solutions; jury management systems; jury phone systems; network communication; and specialist in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) just to name a few.

 

JEM’S BEGINNINGS

The spark that started the beginnings of Jury Education and Management (JEM) began in San Diego County.  In May of 1982 the Northern California District Court of Appeals decision in “People v Buford” challenged the demographic composition of jury venires.  The San Diego Jury department was informed that local criminal defense attorneys might use the strategy employed in People v Buford to challenge San Diego’s jury selection procedures.  San Diego contacted Orange County Superior Court, who suggested they contact Los Angeles County who had frequently been challenged, and who may have a better source of information.

After a constant exchange of information and ideas between San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, they thought that other California jury administrators may find the information useful, or may have different approaches that would be useful to share with one another.   The three courts organized visitation teams, visiting counties and sharing their knowledge about running a jury department with people who were in the jury business.  They noticed that some of the counties, especially the very small counties did not have the opportunity to obtain much of this knowledge.  Information such as how to handle new laws; various computer systems; jury orientations, jury summons, customer service, and how to work with judges and attorneys.  Letters went out to 58 California Counties inquiring if they would be interested in forming a jury organization – with an overwhelming response.   That’s how JEM first began.

 

The initial planning meeting for the organization took place in Kern County, with counties from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego, Contra Costa, Kings, Santa Barbara, Merced being present.  From this and several other meetings the organization was formed, with the name of the group “Jury Education and Management”.