The future of the courts takes on a somewhat broad view of what a trend is. Trends require us to determine first which is working; how it started; how it is catching on; and only then how one anticipates it will spread in the future. Proven practices are much more likely to be adopted and spread than even the latest innovations. In the year 2020, courts will try to improve the jury experience to improve the diversity of the community that is being served. Juries will be given standard educational techniques to improve juror comprehension performance and satisfaction of jury service.
Jurors will be allowed written questions to witnesses, to discuss evidence among themselves before final deliberations, as well as responding to juror deadlock with supplemental evidence or argument. Courts will become increasingly respectful of privacy and the long-term effects of juror stress from serving on high-profile and extremely difficult trials. There will be a conflict between the First and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution in the eyes of many citizens and the courts. Jurors will see changes by the year 2020.
Technology based jury management systems will be used. Jurors will be able to check the status of cases from the privacy of their own home by logging into an internet site. Jurors will also be able to watch a juror orientation video online to prepare for the trial they are to serve. Jurors will also be able to take a juror qualification survey to determine if the juror is qualified to serve on the trial. Jurors will also be able to review the trial transcripts during deliberations to refresh their memories of the testimony.
In the year 2020, efforts to determine court-system resource needs—including workload assessments for judges and staff needs and facilities studies for courthouse needs—are typically based on the sometime tenuous assumption that there may be only minimal waste in the way that current resources are being used. Caseflow management is a tool for effective uses of the resources the court and other participants in the court process. The success of court efforts to manage case progress may be impaired by resource limitations.
In the year 2020, the goal is to use the results of caseflow management assessment and resource needs assessment together. If cost-effective means to do this can be devised, courts would be able to make a more convincing presentation of resource needs to funding authorities, and they would be in a position to assess more effectively how resource limits are affecting performance. In the year 2020, the way judges are selected to serve on the bench will be much more selective. There will be more use of judiciary questionnaires prior to selection.
Campaign spending will likely increase. A proactive rather than reactive approach will occur toward monitoring and analyzing judicial salary trends will ensure that our nation’s courtrooms have the most qualified personnel. The financial resources will certainly change by the year 2020 due to the economy. The fiscal condition of the court is ultimately dependent on its credibility as an institution. ( The Future of State Courts, 2008, P. 18) The courts will need strong and visible advocates who will create strong ties with constituents who will support their positions.