How Do New Jersey Courts Decide Who To Summon For Jury Duty?

Cumberland County Courthouse
60 W. Broad St.
Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Photograph by Tim Kiser
via Wikimedia Commons

Who Is Responsible For Summoning Jurors?

The Assignment Judge of the vicinage bears the responsibility to summon jurors.

Superior Courts in New Jersey have jurisdiction over defined geographical areas.

These areas are called vicinages.

Eleven New Jersey vicinages coincide with the county where the courthouse stands. For example, the boundaries of Vicinage 4 coincide with the borders of Camden County.

Four vicinages, however, comprise more than one county. For example, Vicinage 15 includes Gloucester County, Cumberland County, and Salem County.

One judge in each vicinage bears the designation "Assignment Judge" ("A.J."). The A.J.'s authority extends throughout the vicinage.

The A.J. oversees the administration of summoning jurors.

How Does An Assignment Judge Decide Who To Summon For Jury Duty?

The Assignment Judge administers a process that is public and random.
Previously I described how New Jersey courts compile juror source lists. The A.J. administers the drawing of names from the juror source list before each Superior Court session.
The names drawn from the juror source list will be summoned either for grand jury or petit jury service.

The Assignment Judge must specify:
  • how many panels of grand and petit jurors should be drawn,
  • how many names should be drawn for each panel, and
  • how the lists of names should be prepared.

When circumstances require additional grand or petit jury panels, an A.J. must provide the additional panels from the juror source list.
Drawing names and assigning individuals to panels must be public and random.

What Information About Citizens Is Collected?

The Assignment Judge gathers information about each juror's identity.
The resulting list must consist of each person's:
  • name,
  • address, and
  • occupation, if available.

Are Tax Dollars Spent On An Efficient Summoning Process?

New Jersey courts embrace modern technology for efficient administration of randomly selecting jurors and assigning them to panels.
If modern technology is used for greater efficiency, the Assignment Judge must maintain the integrity of the courts.

To maintain the integrity of the judiciary the Assignment Judge must:
  1. specify with particularity the method of random selection in his instructions, and
  2. make available upon request for public inspection the specification of the method and any programs and procedures used to implement the method, including any computer programs.

New Jersey Trial Attorney, Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Based on trial experience, which includes selecting juries, Mr. Smolensky would like to help you.

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