Training: Rockingham Circuit Court

by | Mar 24, 2022

The verdict is in – jury duty responsibilities don’t need to be confusing. Video training can help.

From the Client

“Appeal came to a trial to experience and understand what the process looked like for a juror. They didn’t come in with a canned solution. They came in and looked at our situation as a fresh, new problem to be solved. Appeal helped me narrow and communicate the things that matter to the community we serve. When I looked at the finished product, it is exactly what I wanted to come across.” – Chaz Haywood, Clerk of Court Rockingham County


When you’re on jury duty, you’re spending time for someone else. You’re not at work or with your family, and the Rockingham Circuit Court recognized that this can be seen as inconvenient. That’s why they wanted to prioritize their jurors’ time to let them know that they’re valued.  

While the court previously had an antiquated 18 – 20-minute video that they showed jurors to tell them what to expect, who they would meet during the trial, and how a trial works, they recognized that a lot of it was repetitive and redundant information.  


To create a video that prioritized jurors’ time, first, we needed to experience what they were experiencing. We went to see how the process went, how the jurors were reacting, and opportunities to improve the video. While the video had some dated information, there were important pieces that needed to stay. To better craft the right message for their audience, we created a new script with the client. Once approved, we worked on getting the shoot scheduled.  

Filming happened in two phases. First, with the Clerk on camera for the open and close. We felt this was an important moment for him to connect with the jury. Second, by filming a dozen actors as jurors, a defense attorney, a defendant, a judge, a bailiff, and a prosecuting attorney who all conducted a fake trial so viewers could better understand what was going to happen when they went through the same process. After editing, the final video was just under 10-minutes, half the length of the original video.   


A project like this isn’t gauged on increased website traffic or click rates, it is gauged by the citizens sitting in the jury box getting the information they need while being respectful of their time. Since creating the video, the Rockingham Circuit Court reported they’ve had jurors who served 10 years ago, were recently called for jury service again, and commented specifically about the jury orientation video being “much better and with less fluff than the one they had to sit through 10 years ago.” An unintended, yet exciting outcome from this project is passing this knowledge to future generations. Local high schools are using the Jury Orientation video to educate their students on the importance of jury duty as their civic duty.