Director of the Center for Jury Studies
National Center for State Courts
Arizona IT director to receive NCSC’s 2020 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation
Williamsburg, Va., September 23, 2020 – Kyle Rimel, IT director for the Superior Court of Arizona in Mohave County, has been selected as the recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) 2020 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation. The Munsterman Award recognizes states, local courts, organizations and individuals that have made significant improvements or innovations in jury procedures, operations and practices.
Rimel is being recognized for his innovative approach to remote appearances during the pandemic; the development of its in-house technology system for the court’s new Superior Court building; and for upgrading its juror communications programs.
When the COVID pandemic started, Rimel began looking for ways to enhance remote appearances for staff, attorneys, witnesses and jurors for court hearings. Rimel installed Zoom in courtrooms and office spaces, wrote detailed instructions on the steps grand jurors needed to take to log into the platform and conducted user testing. Mohave County is believed to be the first court to transition to remote grand jury proceedings and has since extended videoconferencing for jury selection in criminal jury trials.
In addition to reducing jurors’ risk of contracting COVID-19, limiting travel saves the county money that would be paid to jurors for expenses and saves jurors’ time they would spend on travel getting to the courthouse.
Rimel implemented technology solutions to improve jury service even before the pandemic, creating a text notification program reminding prospective jurors of their upcoming jury duty and introducing a juror debit card program, which allowed jurors to receive their pay for service and mileage upon check-in.
Last year, Mohave County began construction on a new Superior Court building. Instead of outsourcing the courthouse’s IT efforts to third-party vendors, Rimel and his staff installed a stacked server system throughout the four-story building themselves. The move saved the organization $639,000.
Paula Hannaford-Agor hailed Rimel’s innovative accomplishments. “Rimel has been a driving force for using technology solutions to improve jury service for several years. His work is a wonderful illustration of how courts, especially rural courts, can leverage technology to make jury service more convenient while reducing costs.”
The Munsterman Award is named for G. Thomas Munsterman, the founder and former director of NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies and an internationally renowned innovator in jury systems and research. Munsterman is 79 and currently resides in Decatur, Ga.
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.