Since 1994, the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) has conducted a Public Outreach Program to educate the public about the jury experience. The goal of the program is to emphasize jury duty as a building block of good citizenship and a rewarding, positive experience and to help reduce juror delinquency. The program works with groups to tailor messaging for each audience, ranging from students to adults in fraternal, religious, and social organizations.
What the program does
Many people consider jury duty an inconvenience, an intrusion, or a hardship. It's 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.
The Public Outreach Program teaches groups about jury duty using:
- Audio-visual tools
- A mock trial
- Audience participation
- Historical material and case examples
The program also works to reduce juror delinquency by explaining penalties for not responding to your summons and explaining how jury duty ensures representative juries by enhancing the diversity of the population at every court.
Schedule a program
To learn more about the Public Outreach Program or to schedule a program, contact the Outreach Coordinator at JurorHelp@jud.state.ma.us or (800) 843-5879.