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Government Productivity and the Juror’s Burden

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In the United States’ judicial system, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. And though hefty laws exist to protect this right, is it possible that bad processes and desperate measures get in the way of a fair trial?

In the article Jury Duty Economics: The High Cost of Justice, journalist Barry Watson divulged his experience—and perspective—on jury duty and its economic strain it has on those summoned. He reported that juror concerns boil down to two things: missing valuable work time and losing crucial income.

It isn’t hard to figure out why people try to avoid empanelment: Apart from the lost work time, there’s often a major pay cut. In New York, jury members make $40 per day. Granted, this is significantly more than most states pay—California, for example, only kicks in $15 per day, along with 37 cents per mile for commuters—but $40 per day doesn’t even cover the cost of rent in New York City.

One further aspect of jury duty concerned Watson:

By the time we got to the jury room to decide the case, it seemed like most of us had an eye on the meter . . .

Within a few hours, we came to a decision. It’s hard to determine if the economy affected our final verdict, but I wonder what the rejected jurors might have contributed to the discussion . . . The question is, ultimately, whether the ability to serve on a jury and render judgment against one’s fellow man is becoming a luxury, reserved for those who can afford it.

government productivity is frustrating

© Flickr user mattzor

As a juror, the duty of deciding one’s fate is of extreme importance, not just to the defendant, but to the government as well. However, as Watson pointed out, such a process comes at a cost to those involuntarily losing time and income. Despite this underlying message, the truth is that stakeholders matter. In any process, vital contribution for its success is created, performed and seen by the people conducting the work. The results suffer when these people do not receive the respect they deserve.

At times, it seems that allowing a bottom line to dictate compensation is the only choice of action. This is not always the case. At AccelaWork, we assist companies in expediting processes so that valuable time and money can be utilized elsewhere. If your company is interested in learning more about how we can help, contact our business process improvement consultants. We’ll help your process seem less like jury duty and more like swift justice.

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