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iPad Jury Check-In System May Touch Off National Trend

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

A court system in Washington State has touched on what could be a technological trend: It's implemented perhaps the nation's first iPad juror check-in system.

Yes, apparently there's an app for that.

The iPad jury check-ins began earlier this year in the Benton-Franklin Superior Court system, which covers two rural counties. No longer are jurors slowly shuffled into different waiting rooms while they get checked-in by hand, the Tri-City Herald reports.

Instead, court clerks now break out their iPads. Using a peripheral scanner that resembles a tube of lipstick, the clerks simply scan the barcode on a juror's summons.

Each juror's information is confirmed via Wi-Fi with the court's database, and the jurors get more face time with each other by being held in the same room.

The iPad jury check-in system has cut down on jury check-in times by as much as an hour per trial, court administrator Pat Austin told the Herald. The bi-county court system bought three iPads as part of its court improvement project.

The iPads aren't the only buzzworthy changes afoot in southeastern Washington. The Benton-Franklin court system is also installing an airport-style "readerboard" to direct confused courtgoers to the correct courtrooms.

The courts are also set to upgrade courthouse sound systems and buy new headsets for interpreters.

Though court staffers feel they've tapped into a great idea with the iPad jury check-ins, the feeling isn't mutual with other types of technology in the hands of others. They've hung up posters to warn against text messaging and Internet surfing while on jury duty.

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