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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, April 08, 2017 1:00 am

Glitch causes delay in emails for jury duty

RON SHAWGO | The Journal Gazette

If you missed your jury duty in Allen County recently don't blame the email reminder.

A computer glitch allowed some reminders to be sent days after jurors were supposed to report for duty. But a postcard in the mail serves as primary notice, so potential jurors should not have been caught off guard, said John McGauley, Allen Superior Court executive.

The postcard is official notice of jury duty. It lists a phone number for jurors to confirm the night before a trial if they are needed. It also lists a website where jurors can complete an online questionnaire and sign up for optional email and text reminders, McGauley said.

The reminders are similar to those sent by doctors, dentists and others to verify appointments.

“They're purely secondary courtesy reminders,” he said. “You're always supposed to make that call the night before to find out.”

A change made on an email server stopped the emails from being sent, McGauley said. A week's worth of emails in March, about 1,500, were affected, he said.

When the problem was discovered, an update was made to the server, which allowed the late reminders to be sent.

“That's why people were getting them a day or days after they were supposed to report,” he said this week. “We didn't have a problem with people not showing up. Our rate of reporting is usually between 85 and 90 percent and it didn't change.”

McGauley said a system user alerted the court to the problem. The system vendor then fixed it.

“It's a system we've gotten a tremendous amount of statewide and national recognition for,” he said. “And this really is the first glitch of that kind we've had with it. And as soon as we got in and noticed it and reversed the unintended consequences it's been humming along since.”