When we arrived at CourtHack, we immediately thought of what experiences with the court are common and/or painful. Immediately, one of our members - TJ - thought back to his experience with his call to jury duty in Bakersfield, California. The process was convoluted, archaic, irritating and overall inefficient. We seek to develop a solution.
What it does
CheckIn is a web service intended for use after random pool of potential jurors is identified. The members of this pool will be notified, using existing infrastructure (via phone or mail) of summons to jury data. They will be given the option to use our web service to respond to the summons. They will provide a method of contact (phone, email, SMS) by which they will receive updates about what days they will be required to go to court. If they need to request a deferment of service, they will be able to do so through CheckIn.
A juror may provide proof of jury duty to an employer by giving them a unique ID, which then the employer can check against on CheckIn to verify jury duty information.
Finally, a unique ID and a QR code are assigned to each juror, allowing for any mobile device with a QR reader to interact with the juror. This could include checking in at the court house, requesting information relevant to challenges, and making a decision on deferment requests.
How we built it
We used a Node.JS backend and Angular.JS frontend. This decision moves the computational load from the server to the client. In more useful terms, this reduces the cost of using CheckIn by moving the menial computer-work to the user's computer/phone.
Challenges we ran into
Angular.JS 2 is still in beta, so we had to scrap part of our project in favor of Angular.JS version 1. The functionality is similar. Also, we had to design data access that is easily modifiable to accommodate existing data formats.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
CheckIn has a primary purpose of being user-friendly, even to the point where we might label it "idiot-friendly." It is focused on mobile usability, but can also be accessed on any device with an Internet browser. CheckIn is light on the server, which means it's cheap for the courts to run.