THE SOURCE LISTThe Data Processing Department of the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) performs a multitude of tasks throughout the year including creating, writing and maintaining computer programs within a large main-frame computer system and on personal computers as well. However, probably the most essential function of this department is the creation of the Master Juror List for each Judicial District.
We often hear from prospective jurors that they (or their family members) are frequently summonsed while it appears that other people they know never receive juror summonses. Some believe that their names are "locked in" to the summons list. This is not true and we hope this section will confirm that the summons process is a truly fair one.
It may seem that we should know about such things as your prior or pending juror service, felony conviction or previously reported medical status, and that we should not have issued a summons to you. This is not necessarily so. For reasons of protection of privacy such records are not shared by governmental agencies. Records of our office are retained for three years, but your address or name may have changed so that we do not recognize you, or prior, non-permanent medical excuses may not still apply. Therefore, you may receive a summons when you think you should not have. If this happens, please let us know via the Juror Confirmation Form in this summons package, write to us, or call us from within Massachusetts at 1-800-THE JURY.
The following is a brief explanation of the creation of the juror summonsing source list.
1. On or before June 1st of each year, the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts must submit a list of all residents seventeen years of age and older to the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC).
2. The lists are separated by judicial district (generally along county lines).
3. The Jury Commissioner determines what percentage of the population will need to be drawn from the lists of residents to meet the juror needs of the courts in each judicial district in the next calendar year.
4. The percentages needed are chosen from each individual municipality's residents list by a random selection program on the OJC's mainframe computer.
5. All of a judicial district's randomly chosen resident names are then combined into a large database where they are randomly shuffled by a program on the court system's mainframe computer.
6. The resulting randomly shuffled list of a judicial district's residents is called the Master Juror List. (There are fourteen judicial districts, therefore there are fourteen Master Juror Lists.)
7. On or before October 1st, the OJC begins summonsing for each courthouse for the next calendar year. The first person summonsed from a Master Juror List is taken from the first resident record in the shuffled database. This process is continued until juror requirements have been met for each court.
Click here for a more detailed and technical explanation.
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