PROGRAM AREAS & OPPORTUNITIES

  • Court Management and Administration
  • Judicial Independence
  • Judicial Ethics and Accountability
  • Strategic Planning and Program Design

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Republic of Georgia

Support for Criminal Jury Trials in the Georgian Courts

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of State have engaged NCSC's assistance to support efforts by the Republic of Georgia to implement jury trials in Tbilisi beginning October 2010. NCSC will work with Georgian judges and court administrators to develop and implement effective jury trial practices and procedures. NCSC has identified the following six critical tasks that the Georgian Courts System in Tbilisi should complete to successfully prepare for jury trials.

Tasks

  1. Develop a comprehensive Jury Management Plan. The Jury Management Plan will provide a comprehensive description of the legal requirements, policies, and procedures for summoning, qualifying educating, and securing the comfort and safety of jurors. Appendices to the Jury Management Plan will include copies of all forms, documents, and other written materials routinely used in jury operations.
  2. Develop legal forms, documents, and materials for use in jury operations. The process of summoning, qualifying and educating prospective jurors about jury service is essentially a communication process in which the Court informs citizens that they have been selected for consideration as potential trial jurors, requests information from those individuals about their qualifications and ability to serve, and provides basic information to jurors about the terms and conditions of jury service including the location, date(s) and time to report for service, what to expect during their jury service experience, and their role and responsibilities as trial jurors.
  3. Develop model scripts for use by judicial officers and court administrative staff. These materials will ensure that information provided to jurors is as accurate and consistent as possible regardless of the identity of the judge or administrator providing it.
  4. Pilot test juror summoning and qualification procedures. A principle objective of effective jury management is to summons and qualify an adequate number of prospective jurors from which to select trial jurors. Reliable information about the jury yield  that is, the proportion of jury summonses that result in individuals who are statutorily qualified and available for service on the date summonsed  is critical to that objective. It is critically important for the Tbilisi court to ascertain the expected jury yield before beginning jury trials to avoid summoning too many or too few jurors for the day of trial.
  5. Pilot test juror check-in and orientation procedures. Unlike in the United States, Georgian citizens will have no prior personal or community experience with jury service. Accordingly, with NCSC assistance, the Tbilisi court will pilot test its juror check-in and orientation procedures in advance with small groups of mock jurors to ensure that the court is sufficiently prepared to welcome jurors, provide for their safety and comfort during trial, and ensure that jurors are sufficiently well-informed about jury service to begin their task with confidence. NCSC-led focus groups with mock jurors will provide an opportunity to evaluate and make necessary modifications to written materials, policies and procedures, scripts, and other aspects of the Jury Management Plan before actual jury trials commence in October 2010.