Since 1994, the OJC has conducted a Public Outreach Program to educate the public and “demystify” the jury experience.
- The Program’s presentations emphasize jury duty as a building block to good citizenship and a means of protecting those rights guaranteed by the constitutions of Massachusetts and of The United States.
- People are reminded that serving as a juror is a rewarding and positive experience.
- The Outreach Program employs various methods including audio-visual tools, a mock trial, audience participation, historical material, case examples, and practical information. We will work with your group to tailor the message to each individual audience.
- Another aim of the Program is to reduce juror delinquency. Presentations cite the penalties for nonperformance of juror service, but they also emphasize that compliance with a jury summons ensures representative juries by enhancing the demographic cross-section of the population at every court – a “jury of one’s peers.”
- The Program is available to a wide range of audiences, such as students and to adults in civic, fraternal, religious, and social organizations.
- Since 1994, the Public Outreach Program has made thousands of presentations to over 100,000 people.
Many people consider jury duty an inconvenience, an intrusion, or a hardship. It is important to remember that your country only asks you to serve in time of war and to appear for jury service, so the Outreach Program emphasizes the very important contribution jurors make to preserving law and order and justice for all.
We also want citizens to realize that the right to a trial by jury is steeped in history — a concept that can be traced as far back as the ancient Greeks and the Magna Carta. Ever since the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in 1620, the right to trial by jury has been guaranteed in Massachusetts. The right to be judged by a jury of one's peers is secured by the Constitution of the Commonwealth and The United States Constitution.
The composition of our juries must reflect the cultural diversity of our citizens and our communities, and the Outreach program promotes this goal by addressing urban and rural audiences, underserved populations, and groups of all nationalities and backgrounds. We strive to bring the message of the importance of jury service to as broad and diverse an audience as possible.
To learn more or schedule a program, please contact the Outreach Coordinator at JurorHelp@jud.state.ma.us or 1-800-THE-JURY (1-800-843-5879).