We are pleased to announce that Mecklenburg County has been selected to take part in the Juror Education Project. Created by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands in partnership with National Public Radios's (NPR) Justice Talking, the New York Times and the American Bar Association's Division of Public Education, the project capitalizes on the captive audience of citizens waiting to serve as jurors. The project uses this unique opportunity to offer educational resources that can help Americans better understand the jury system, and the importance of their participation in it, as well as resources on the United States Constitution, and the public policy debates that capture our nation's attention. The simple goal of this project is to provide unique, high quality materials about the Constitution, news and public affairs with the hope that jurors will use their waiting time to become more informed and actively engaged citizens.
History of the Project
From 2002-04, the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands worked with Justice Talking, an NPR Radio Program produced at the University of Pennsylvania, to conduct Phase I of the Juror Education Project. The project designed, built and distributed 35 seven-foot kiosks to jury assembly rooms, libraries and schools. Each kiosk contained ten "Justice Boxes" that contained CD players and CD's of selected Justice Talking radio programs. Working with state court administrators and judges, these audio materials were distributed to potential jurors so that they might listen to Justice Talking debates as they waited to be called into a courtroom. There was significant interest in the Justice Talking debates from both members of the public and court officers administering the project. Nevertheless, the high cost of building the kiosks and the difficulty of providing updated content led Justice Talking to the new model of distribution which is being offered in Phase II of the project.
The Juror Education Project -- Phase II
In Phase II, the project will use new technology which can dramatically improve the ability to transmit new content and make it easier for court administrators to maintain the audio equipment. Over the next two years, the Juror Education Project will be implemented in at least ten court systems and up to forty jury assembly rooms. The sites will include both state and federal courthouses in urban, suburban, and rural districts across the nation. There will be no charge for participating in the project, but each court system is asked to help with project evaluation and to give regular feedback so that the best ways to expand the program in future years can be determined. In each participating jury room, the project will make available up to ten Apple iPods that will be automatically updated with new content each week when they are stored and recharged. The court administrators will be responsible for housing a computer and the iPods within their jury assembly rooms, recharging the equipment each night and developing a system for making them available for the jurors. Apple Computer will handle installation of the computers and handle technical support if there are problems. Procedures are currently being explored for ways to attach security devices to the iPods and to ensure that the ear buds can be disinfected.
Annenberg Classroom Resources for America's Teachers