The "My Jury Duty" Web Portal is designed to be a "one stop" shopping center for jurors utilizing the latest in Web technology. It allows jurors to respond to their jury summons in the convenience of their homes and virtually 24/7. Jurors may register, postpone, request excuses or transfers, receive their reporting instructions, and access a host of other functions that provide jurors with information and services, including maps, videos, local eateries, and the ability to chat real time with agents. Jurors may also receive their mandatory orientation through the portal. This system introduces operational efficiencies and cost savings for the Division.
Further, the Web Portal also directly interfaces with the Court's Mail Opening, Scanning, and Extracting System (MOSES)/Juror Activity Coding System (JACS) by automatically creating digital images of the jury summons based upon responses provided by jurors and sends these images to MOSES/JACS to be further processed by Juror Services staff.
The outcome of this program was as additional avenue of access to the Court, resulting in better service to jurors and greater efficiency for the Court. Use of the Web Portal, which has grown to approximately 28% of all jurors registering for jury duty, has reduced the burden on staff assigned to assist callers by telephone and allowed staff to be reassigned to other areas of court operations. Since its release in August 2011, the Web Portal has received approximately 2.8 million hits. Each hit represents staff time saved. Success was also gauged using the reliability of the system, which has experienced negligible downtime. A third measure of success was surveying and soliciting comments jurors provided using the Web Portal. The survey results yield an impressive 95% juror satisfaction rate with the Web Portal.
Efficiencies were realized in reducing the number of telephone calls and documents processed by staff and allowing some staff to be allocated to other operational areas. Staff whose time was previously allocated to handling phone inquiries can now process these digital summonses via the JACS system between calls. Additionally, using web services to communicate with the jury management system saves the court money by reducing the activity on the mainframe.
The One Day Divorce Program helps low-income, self-represented litigants to complete their dissolutions of marriage and obtain final judgments in one day. Volunteer attorneys and law students partner with the litigants to prepare all of the paperwork necessary for the final judgments. The litigants then appear before the judge and have their judgments entered on the record. Litigants leave with a final judgment in hand. Two days per month we provide assistance to cooperative couples or single parties whose spouses have defaulted to complete their divorces in one day.
To prepare for the program, the court held an orientation and training event where we invited law students from three local schools, temporary judges who work on settlement conferences and attorneys with fewer than 10 years of experience. Through this outreach effort and our attendance at various bar functions we have utilized over 70 volunteers who support our program. We did not anticipate having so many qualified and supportive volunteers.
Success is measured through the feedback from litigants who have participated in the program. Litigants' testimonials have included:
In a collaborative project with the Cities of Coalinga and Mendota, the Court has commenced Remote Video Proceedings (RVP) in traffic matters. This free service is a convenience for violators cited outside the Fresno-Clovis area and who must travel 15 miles or more from where their citations were issued to appear in traffic court in downtown Fresno. Instead of going to Fresno these defendants may elect to appear in traffic court by videoconference from the Cities of Coalinga or Mendota. The City of Mendota will hold RVP for traffic court every Tuesday morning. The City of Coalinga holds remote proceedings every Wednesday morning. These cities each have a large room similar to a courtroom equipped with wide-screen camera, a large television monitor, and microphones. They connect by videoconference to a courtroom in the M Street Courthouse with the same equipment. Everyone, including defendants and the judge, is able to see, hear, and speak to each other through this video connection.
On RVP days, the court has an employee in Coalinga and Mendota to conduct roll call as well as gather documents from defendants and law enforcement officers. After that, the court proceeds as in a traditional traffic hearing. If defendants or law enforcement officers have exhibits that were not submitted earlier, the court employee can scan/e-mail or fax the documents immediately to the judge. The Court will know in advance if an interpreter is needed and will ensure that one is present in Coalinga or Mendota prior to the start of RVP.
The pilot project is expected to end December 2015 but so far the program has had a lot of positive reviews.
Access the Fresno Superior Court Website
The court developed a web-based application to allow traffic customers the ability to reserve an arraignment date in advance through the court's website. This solution provides a convenient alternative to the customer having to call or come into the clerk's office to schedule an arraignment date.
Overall the program has been successful, although the Court would like to get to the point where all reservations are made via the online process. Currently, the Court still allows customers to call or come in person to make a reservation. Also, the online reservations are not directly scheduled through the case management system (CMS), but rather through an application IT staff developed that interacts with and obtains certain information from the CMS for verification purposes. The reservations are placed in a queue and the clerk's office has to verify additional information and then set the hearing in the CMS. Ultimately, the Court would like to modify the process so that everything is done through our CMS.
The number of traffic customers standing in line and the number of customers calling and/or coming to the clerk's office to reserve an arraignment date has been reduced. Additionally, since the arraignment calendars are now prepared a couple of days in advance, instead of the same morning as court, the clerk's office staff has more time in the mornings to assist other customers not appearing in court and to process other priority work. The courtroom also gets through the calendar proceedings faster since courtroom staff do not need to wait for additional information from the clerk's office.
Access the San Mateo Court Web Application
The Riverside County Tribal Alliance for Indian Children and Families is dedicated to increasing participation, communication, and understanding among the Court, the tribes, and County agencies serving Native American families. The Alliance was formed in 2005 under the leadership of the Court. The goal is to minimize Court and County intervention and increase tribal participation and control over Native American children and families by developing culturally appropriate services. Alliance members are working to create and sustain partnerships founded upon understanding, communication, and cultural awareness among the sovereign tribal nations and community and governmental agencies.
The Tribal Alliance sees this as an opportunity to collaborate for the betterment of children in Riverside County. For example, there have been numerous instances of cooperation and assistance between Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and the various tribes. This was made possible because of the Riverside County Tribal Alliance. Indirect benefit has been seen such as the Court establishing contact with tribal groups, understanding issues and challenges the tribes face. DPSS has better assistance with adoptions and finding emergency placements.