Juries play a unique and central role in America’s justice system. But for many prospective jurors who are summoned, federal jury service is anything but exalting. Instead, it can be a long, listless day of waiting, only to be told that the court has more than enough candidates to fill the panel.

In the District of Connecticut, that has changed dramatically. The court has summoned fewer prospective jurors and more effectively engaged those who come to the courthouse. This has been accomplished through fairly simple measures — a campaign to educate its own judges, the implementation of a Jury Committee comprised of judges and Clerk’s Office staff, and training for jury clerks and courtroom deputies.

The result has been a classic win-win, saving many citizens from a wasted day in an assembly room—while cutting costs for courts and taxpayers and ensuring that a rite of citizenship remains a positive experience.

A key, said U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton, Chair of the Jury Committee, has been “recognizing that better jury utilization was going to be not only a cost savings—for the court, the jurors, for their employers—but also it was going to give the message to the jurors that we respected their time.”

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