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Allen court using technology to aid potential jurors

Rebecca S. Green

FORT WAYNE – Allen Superior Court will soon be testing the use of QR codes that would help potential jurors communicate with the courts.

Quick response codes, or QR codes, are two-dimensional codes, commonly used now in marketing and consumer advertising. Read using apps on smart phones or other computing devices, the codes often take the user to a website, or provide other data such as a coupon.

In June, the county unveiled a postcard juror notification program that provided potential jurors with the address for a website or a telephone number to complete their questionnaires. Six months later, Allen County announced potential jurors could use text messaging to communicate with the court system.

The QR codes would make it even easier, and require nothing more than a free app for a cellphone. Those with smartphones can access the website and questionnaire using the QR codes.

The questionnaires are one of the first steps the courts use to determine whether someone can serve as a juror during criminal and civil trials.

“You can do it as you’re walking back from your mailbox after picking up your (jury notification) postcard from the mail,” Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull said of the QR codes.

The opportunity to test the product came from the same vendors who provide Allen County’s other juror technology, Gull said.

Allen County is the first court in the nation to use it, she said. “We’ve been on the leading edge of all this jury innovation and we continue to be,” she said, adding she is excited to be able to make it easier for citizens to comply with jury requirements.

The product is still in development, and Gull hopes to see it operational within the next few months.

“I’m constantly reminded when we do jury trials that jurors are not there voluntarily,” she said. “Anything we can do to make it easier, I’m a big fan.”

rgreen@jg.net

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