Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jury Duty, Part 2

By Pascal Dennis

In my last blog, I described my experience with Ontario's jury selection process -- (which is similar to that used in the US, UK etc.)

I experienced many of the Eight Wastes including delay, defects, over-processing, and inventory in my fellow prospective jurors!

I spent much of the time is a thick fog and felt anxiety and frustration. Chats with friends & colleagues suggest my experience was not unusual.

Yet, our trial by jury process is precious & we need to support it.

So, how might we improve?

We might start by doing a SIPOC analysis: Supplier - Inputs - Process - Outputs - Customer.

Here's how our SIPOC might unfold. Let's start, as ever, with the customer.

Who is the customer? Why, the public.

What does the customer expect? Here are a few thoughts:
  • Justice for both the victim and the accused,
  • Reasonable speed -- we might set a lead time or throughput target
  • No bad guys should get off because of court delays,
  • ◦ No unreasonable hardship for jury members
What's the process? At the highest level, process seems to be:

1. Jury Panel Selection --> 2. Jury Selection --> 3. Court Case

What can muck up the process? Based on my experience, here are some possibilities:
  • Poor information flow at step 1 -- (as a result you show up when you're not needed, sit for days with nothing to do & no info etc.)
  • ◦ How many jury panel members and jurors do we need?
    ◦ When, and for how long, do we need them?
    ◦ How many do we currently have? Is this above or below our standard?
    ◦ What do we need to do get back to standard?
Without this info, we're likely to call too many jury panel members, for too many days, thereby generating delay, over-processing, defects & other forms of waste.

So, information flow seems an important direct cause.

What are the root causes? I don't know enough about the process to say. But the countermeasure seems obvious:
  • Use information technology better so al to provide jury panel members with answers to questions posed above.
  • ◦ For example, can we not communicate with jury panel members by cell phone and e-mail?
  • "We won't need you tomorrow..."
Again, I don't want to be misunderstood. The problem, is in the jury selection process, not the people, who I found to be courteous, competent and cheerful.

(I'd welcome their comments & insights.)

More to come.



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