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BOSTON �— The Massachusetts Office of the State Auditor recommended lowering the state’s target jury pool size and better utilizing the call-in system to cancel unneeded partial jury pools. State auditor’s Joe DeNucci’s April 17 report is based on data collected between July 1, 2005 and Oct. 31, 2007. The report recommended lowering the target jury pool size from an average of 21 to 17 jurors for district court cases to save an estimated 15,000 juror days a year. The report estimated that the changes would lower employers’ jury duty leave costs by nearly $2.3 million per year. In 2006, 338,931 jurors served out of 1,004,842 potential jurors summoned by the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Also in 2006, 264,388 potential jurors were disqualified for various reasons, including age, relocation away from the relevant district, lack of U.S. citizenship or English-language proficiency, and prior juror service within the past three years. DeNucci also said the state needs to address the shortage of available jurors in some counties, including Berkshire, Franklin and Suffolk, which includes Boston. He recommended following the lead of other states and using state Department of Revenue and driver’s license data to identify more potential jurors, along with information currently used from the annual Massachusetts Census. Although serving on a jury is a right and privilege of American citizens, many view it as an inconvenience, DeNucci said. “If people knew they were being called only when absolutely needed, they might be more willing to serve, so I hope the Office of Jury Commissioner will consider the recommendations in my report,” DeNucci said. Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth Pamela J. Wood said the office and the Administrative Office of the Trial Court are already working on several of the report’s recommendations. Wood also said the district courts have also trimmed district court juror pools from 21 to 18 since the auditor’s office collected its data. “The district court has already made those cuts,” Wood said. Wood said state law requires her office to use the state census data and that the state legislature must approve any changes to how juror pools are drawn. Wood also said the state provides the list to the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts at the federal court’s request. “They use our lists [because] they saw it as superior to what was being used elsewhere,” Wood said. “We’re pretty confident that we do have the best possible list. If there’s a better list out ether that’s the one we’d want to use.” In official comments attached to the auditor’s report, the Office of Jury Commissioner also disputes DeNucci’s conclusions that the jury commissioner “lacked sufficient documentation” about the activities of a company upgrading the state’s juror management software. DeNucci also noted that the contract increase from $150,00 to $1.4 million. The jury commissioner’s office said the project was “always projected to be a multi-year undertaking.” The jury commissioner’s office also noted that it has collected detailed project plans throughout the process and that the contractor’s responsibilities have increased throughout the life of the contract.

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