Posts Tagged ‘jurors’

CA Supremes to Review Juror Facebook Flap

February 25, 2011

The California Supreme Court will review the briefs in the Sacramento based gang beating case where the defense team wanted to review a jurors Facebook postings and his friends response for purposes of detecting bias or influence related the guilty verdict.

Courts may get guidance on two issues:

  • How to handle juror social networking activities
  • How much privacy pertains to non-public Facebook information

Stay tuned…

Juries, Twitter, Facebook & Mistrial

December 3, 2010

Here is another story about a juror, the foreman in this case, who allegedly revealed information about the trial on her Facebook page. Even though judges and attorneys are warning jurors about staying quiet about the trial on social media sites, it appears the itch is irresistible to some.

Do the Courts Need to Do More?

Given the cost in the credibility of the jury system – not to mention the financial costs of mistrials – the courts may need to do more – have a separate written agreement jurors must to sign saying they agree not to post about the trial on any social media site and if they will do anyway, they will be prosecuted.

Juror Facing Facebook Profile Probe

October 23, 2010

This article discusses an investigation into a jury forewoman’s Facebook posts because the defendant’s attorney believe she knew about the case before she served on the jury.

Facebook as Stalling Tactic?

Is Facebook going to be used by attorneys as a way to throw additional roadblocks into legal process?  If I were representing a plaintiff or defendant, I would review social media profiles by all parties to a case – judges, other attorneys, witnesses, plaintiffs, defendants, family members etc.  There maybe fodder for all kinds of motions lurking out there on the Internet!

The social networking itch

September 13, 2010

This article about jurors tweeting and friending and blabbing online about their trials made me wonder why human beings act against common sense.

Jurors –  a perfect example

It is a cardinal rule in serving on a jury that jurors aren’t suppose to discuss the case outside of the deliberation of the jury room.   While its hardly surprising that jurors talked to their loved ones in violation of this rule, the damage is limited and the chance of getting caught, slight.  Now with the rise of social networking where communicating with family and friends on Facebook takes on the quality of chatting over the backyard fence, this same impulse occurs online.  The difference being that many more people have the ability to see the juror’s slip of tongue and that its easier to get caught because now there is a paper trail.

The intoxication of communication

I think we are discovering that the desire to connect with another person about a dramatic or intense event is simply too great to resist when its so easy to type a few words into a box and hit “send.”  Typically we are alone at our computer when we are connecting so we aren’t picking up social cues – witnessing or imagining the horror in someone’s face when damaging, dangerous or forbidden information is conveyed.

Shame-based software

Maybe like the password strength bar, we need a shame bar as we type, telling us the percentage likelihood that what we are typing will come back to bite us.

Juror sends friend request to witness

March 20, 2010

In People v. Rios, a juror sent a key witness – a firefighter – a Facebook friend request before the trial had completed.  The firefighter didn’t respond to the request and the judge determined that while the communications was “unquestionably a serious breach of her obligation as a juror” but that ultimately the juror hadn’t been swayed unduly by the witness so as to taint the verdict.

However, the problem of jurors and social networking isn’t going away and may result in a strategy that losing parties employ in attempts to overturn verdicts.

Maryland prohibiting Twitter from courtrooms

February 22, 2010

After a flurry of jurors and parties engaging in courtroom tweeting and friending that risks turning trials into mistrials, a Maryland judicial panel plans to prohibit any communications devices from Maryland courtrooms.

Is this too broad a ban to pass Federal Constitutional muster?

Assisting jurors to NOT tweet about their trial

January 31, 2010

This article examines how judges are adapting to the threat of jurors use of Twitter, Facebook and the like.  Dallas judges say they include the prohibition against the use of social networking in their instructions but one expert doesn’t think that’s enough.  Eric Robinson, an attorney specializing in this area, says that jurors need to understand the rationale behind the prohibition so they get it. 

I agree.  Perhaps examples of the problems and the consequences would help drive the point home.

Jurors & social networking, why?

January 16, 2010

Here is another article discussing how jurors are using social networking, Google and other research and communication devices to empower themselves during deliberations.  Its illegal, creates bias and distorts jury verdict and yet the phenomenon is only growing. 

Two questions: what is the motivation?  Do jurors not get that its wrong?  Do they think its okay because they can get away with it?  Is it push back against a system that they no longer trust?  Is it the intoxication of power?

What to do about it?  Do jurors need to be punished more severely to deter them from the activity?  Does the court system need to develop a technology that requires jurors to lock down all their computers and communication devices during the trial and show evidence that they have down so?  Other ideas?

Jurors use of social media major judicial problem

January 9, 2010

Now the Washington Post has weighed in on this one.  The article discusses the case involving Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon alleged embezzlement and how jurors chatted about the case as friends on Facebook among other issues.  But the article even goes on to say that use of the Internet to look up information about a case is grounds for possible mistrial.

Convicted murder wants new trial because of Facebook

October 7, 2009

“Michael Roseboro was found guilty in July of murdering his wife last summer. Now he says he should have a new trial because, he says, the first one  was tainted.  The Lancaster County District Attorney says an appeal was filed Monday. It says that some jurors posted comments on Facebook during the trial.  Therefore, Roseboro’s lawyer asks for Michael Roseboro to be set free, grant him a new trial or grant a hearing with the jurors.”