Our “new normal” is bringing many changes, but one thing hasn’t changed: the importance that jury participation plays in our judicial system. In August, Bexar County will serve as the test case for holding virtual jury trials in Texas. Officials with the 57th Civil District Court, along with the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Office of Court Administration, have been brainstorming on how to conduct virtual court proceedings via Zoom since jury duty was suspended in March.
While jury summons and service processes will certainly look different, many aspects will remain the same. When a resident receives a summons, they must answer a questionnaire the helps lawyers and the court in seating a virtual jury panel. The same exemptions (such as age, student status, active duty military) will apply. However, a summons will also include information on how to use Zoom and access WiFi and electronic devices if needed.
While this transition won’t happen without technical difficulties, many are optimistic that virtual jury trails could bring much-needed progress to the justice system.