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by Douglas L. Keene, Rita R. Handrich

Comments 13 | Rating

 Online and Wired for Justice:

Why Jurors Turn to the Internet 

(the "Google mistrial")

 

by Douglas L. Keene & Rita R. Handrich

 

"There is an online quitting-Facebook-for-Lent support group. But how is it possible to communicate support on Facebook without breaking your vow? Serving on a jury is one of those instances when the cell phone and the laptop are best left at home1."

 

Trials have been being disrupted due to the internet from as far back as 2001 according to the Citizens Media Law Project2. The difference in our attention to it now is simply due to a dramatic rise in frequency and in media coverage. The recent proliferation of social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, and Twitter, for example) has resulted in a sense of always being 'connected'. Cell phones are ubiquitous and we can 'text in' updates to our status on multiple websites to our friends and followers.

 

It is amazing how deeply social media has become entrenched into our lives. Adult internet user profiles on on-line social network sites are up from only 8% in 2005 to 35% in January, 20093. Many of us (more than 34 million American adults) send text messages on our cell phones. The most likely texters4 are members of Generation Y, ages 18 to 27.

 

Courtroom trials5 are being 'tweeted' live by reporters, 140 characters at a time. Twitter users6 are compared to non-Twitter users and found to be more likely to consume news/do research on the go with their internet-enabled cell phones. They are not the only ones, however. In fact, by July of 2009, more than half (56%) of American adults have accessed the internet by wireless means7. Cell phone access (32%) is only slightly behind laptop access (39%) and now, on a typical day, 19% of us access the internet on a mobile device. This number may seem low to the uber-connected attorney, but it is up from only 11% in December, 2007--for a growth of 73% during that 16 month period.

 

An interesting aside: African Americans8 are the most active users of mobile internet. 48% have used the internet on a mobile device and, on an average day, 29% go online. Additionally, growth in mobile handheld use on an average day since 2007 among African Americans is twice the national average--up 141% as compared to the 73% average increase.

 

While parents grossly under-estimate their teen-aged children's online social networking activity, teenagers9 repeatedly monitor social networking websites throughout the day. Baby Boomers are making inroads into social networking, but they complain they feel "left out"10 and that the experience is not targeted to their age group. Contrary to the media reports saying "Grandma's on Facebook"11, the experience remains largely the province of the young as illustrated by a recent Pew Internet Project12 report. Use of social media is most pronounced among those 25 years of age and younger, with sharp cut-offs as we age.

 

 

This pattern is also true among attorneys, who are "more connected"13 than their cohorts in the general population. Yet, even with higher use among attorneys in general, younger attorneys are more comfortable with social media than their older colleagues. A recent survey conducted for LexisNexis reports that 86% of attorneys between the ages of 25 and 35 are members of social networks compared to only 66% of those over age 46.

 

In short, social media is a fact of life. If the current patterns hold true, we will see increasing numbers of jurors for whom social networking is so habitual and life-integrated, they will be hard-pressed to see the justification for abstaining from "updating their status" during trial. Really. If a burglar can't resist checking his Facebook14 status while in the high-adrenaline process of burglarizing your home, what's to stop a juror during courtroom tedium? And as you'll see on the following pages, it isn't just jurors breaking the rules.

 

Who's doing it? Attorneys, judges, witnesses, parties and jurors

 

While maybe we can understand witnesses, parties and jurors communicating about trials on social media--it seems like attorneys and judges should know better! And most do. There are several examples of both judges and attorneys who became ensnared in social media impropriety.

 

Judges

 

Lets start with the magistrate in England15 who got in trouble for tweeting about his cases--seemingly step by step by step. He ended up being turned in by a fellow magistrate who saw the tweets and complained. So, the judge tweeted his explanation: "I didn't tweet whilst sitting in court but in the retiring room during the break and at the end of the hearing."

 

Another judge met a lawyer in chambers during a divorce/child custody case and then "friended" him on Facebook where they commented on the case via Facebook. The wife in the divorce found out about the "friendship" after the case ended and complained. Oh dear. How about a public reprimand from the State Judicial Standards Commission? Ex parte, anyone?16

 

And finally, a judge inadvertently made public some of his own off-color humor on his family's supposedly private web server. A three-judge panel admonished him for being "judicially imprudent"17 in not securing the web server.

 

Attorneys

 

Blogging about a "Judge Clueless," thinly disguised case facts and client identities resulted in a 19-year assistant public defender18 losing her job.

 

Another attorney blogged about a case while he was a juror on that case! Forty-five day suspension, $14K in legal fees and finally, lost his job19.

 

A young attorney asked a judge for a delay due to a death in the family. The judge granted the delay but then checked the attorney's Facebook20 page and saw partying but no real grieving going on. The lawyer sought a second delay. The judge declined and contacted a senior partner in the firm to share her on-line research. The young attorney has since "un-friended" the judge.

 

And finally, a Florida attorney blogged about a judge calling her an "evil, unfair witch"21. He claimed it was "free speech". The State Supreme Court begged to differ.

 

Witnesses

 

During a video deposition, the deponent (in California) and his pro hac vice counsel (in Michigan) were shown only from the waist up. Turns out they were texting "below the waist"22 and PHV counsel accidentally texted plaintiff's counsel. Court ordered for the disclosure of the text messages which violated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 

A mistrial was declared when a Circuit Court judge in Florida discovered a witness texting his boss23 while still on the stand during a side bar conference. And that's not all! The same witness had been reprimanded for texting24 another witness in the same case during deposition two months earlier!

 

Parties

 

A doctor who blogged under the pseudonym "Flea" decided to blog his own medical malpractice trial. He blogged about the trial, his impressions of the plaintiffs' lawyer (whom he nicknamed) and said jurors were dozing off. He was on the stand when, in a "Perry Mason moment" the plaintiff attorney said, "Are you Flea?" and he actually admitted he was. The plaintiff's attorney was obviously prepared to delve into the blog in open court and the case settled25.

 

The trial of a man being prosecuted for third-degree rape and sodomy ended in mistrial when a juror reported receipt of a text message26 sent from a relative of the defendant. The defendant remains in custody (unless his $25,000 bond has been paid) and a new trial is scheduled for February 2010.

 

And finally, a New York model sued a billionaire for pressuring her into sex when she was only 16. Reporters found her MySpace page27 and reported that "she" was in fact, a "he" and was probably much older than 16 at the time of the alleged affair. Her suit against the billionaire fizzled but she then sued the newspaper for defamation. The judge did not support her second suit.

 

For each of these examples there are countless others. After all that, you may find the stories on jurors to be disappointing! They are, in general, not as colorful as the attorney, judge, witness, and parties stories but they have caused a major stir. Juror stories will be presented in two groups: jurors doing 'research' and jurors communicating about cases while sitting in judgment. The irony is that in virtually every case, the violator is usually very sincere that their intent was innocent, and (in the case of jurors, at least) they did not perceive what they were doing as being a material violation of the rules.

 

Jurors using the internet to do research, everywhere, including during jury duty

 

There are many recent cases where we have learned that jurors have done research and sometimes their research has disrupted court proceedings.

 

In March, 2009, a federal drug trial was derailed when the judge discovered that nine of the 12 jurors had done internet research on the case. They were eight weeks in when the mistrial28 was declared. When asked why they did the internet research, one juror replied "I was curious"29.

 

August, 2008 in England: A judge in a manslaughter trial received from a seated juror a Google Earth map of the alleged crime scene and a list of 37 detailed questions about case. In another alleged child cruelty trial, a juror conducted internet research30 on the defendant.

 

Juror research is not always on the internet. Sometimes it's done in the bathroom. The recent Widmer case found jurors experimenting to see how long it would take for human skin to dry. The retrial31 is scheduled for next year and in mid-September 2009 Dateline NBC32 ran a television show on the case! 

 

Some of the stories about juror misconduct are so outrageous they have taken on the power of urban legend, so be careful of believing too much... especially if you read about it on the internet!

 

Jurors communicating about cases

 

These are illustrative only. There are other stories floating about the internet but this sample offers a snapshot of how jurors communicate in violation of courtroom rules.

 

November, 2008: An English juror conducted a Facebook poll to determine her verdict. A juror was uncertain which way to vote on a jury in a child abduction/sex abuse case so she posted details about the case and then held a Facebook poll to help determine her vote. She was dismissed33.

 

September, 2009: Pennsylvania jurors consistently updated their Facebook pages during trial. Defendant was convicted but lawyers laying groundwork for appeal34.

 

March, 2009: "I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of someone else's money" tweeted35 a juror in the case against Stoam Holdings in an Arkansas court. Defense asked for a retrial but juror says he tweeted after the trial concluded.

 

July, 2009: A Bronx juror friended a witness. A Bronx schoolteacher-juror sought out a firefighter witness on Facebook while jury was deliberating and issued a 'friend' invitation. The firefighter responded after the trial was over and then reported her. She says "that was a total mistake. I should not have done that".36

 

We've seen that both people who should know better (judges, attorneys) and laypeople (witnesses, parties, jurors) can, and do, get caught in the web of social media. It is so easy, so constantly present, we forget the same rules about communication apply to these new forms of communication.

 

Why is this happening now?

 

Some would say that people are more self-centered now and do not consider the impact of their behavior on others. This seems an easy explanation (without any empirical support) and the answer is most assuredly more complex than that. We live in an era when access to information is ubiquitous. We are used to having a question cross our mind and checking for the answer37. We do it without thinking. And jurors do too. A recent quote38 in an article on jurors doing research on the internet illustrates the habitual nature of social media in our lives:

 

"People tend to forget that e-mail, twittering, updating your status on Facebook is also speech. There's an impersonality about it because it's a one-way communication--but it is a communication."

 

In Harris County, Texas this year, a tech-savvy court administration decided to provide wireless internet access in the courthouse. What good do we anticipate will come from that? When our access to data via the internet is so available, some wonder if it is even possible to control juror access39 to data any longer. And jurors are not allowed to ask questions in trial. Questions do come up. How can they find the answers they believe they must have to understand the facts presented at trial? Google40. Is that witness' alibi about time to drive from one place to another accurate? Check Google Maps. Complex technology underlying a patent claim? Simplify it41 via Wikipedia. Jurors may not see this as 'wrong' but merely clarifying and unfortunately, less tech-oriented judges may not understand42 the technology enough to know how to instruct.

 

The issues we need to address are juror curiosity and juror naivete about why such behavior is prohibited. There are good reasons for the rules of the legal system but we have to educate jurors and train ourselves to anticipate the questions that will arise and modify our case presentation to respond to them.

 

Legal system sentiments

 

The legal system has reacted with distress to the steady stream of social media/social networking incidents within its purview. The focus has been on revising jury instructions so that jurors are explicitly told to not do internet research. Proposals include multiple ways of modifying jury instructions:

 

An e-discovery43 blog recommends asking the judge to expand boilerplate instructions to include explicit education about why jurors should not do research (including internet research), what will happen if they do, and that jurors should help the court enforce that restriction.

 

The Jennifer Strange (water intoxication as a result of a radio station contest) case has resulted in revised jury instructions in a San Diego court that specify, "Do not use the internet"44 and jurors are asked to sign declarations saying they will not use personal electronic and media devices (including computers, cell phones and laptops) to research or communicate about any aspect of the case.

 

The FindLaw Knowledge Base offers a "Motion for the Court to Further Issue Preliminary Instruction to Jurors"45 which they recommend be given to jurors at each recess and lunch and perhaps even have the entire instruction re-read to jurors at the beginning and end of each day.

"You may not receive information about this case from any source other than what you are presented in this Courtroom concerning the case. That means do not "google" any party or lawyer or court personnel in this case; do not conduct any research whatsoever on the Internet about this case or the parties or facts involved in it; you may not "blog" about the case or events surrounding the case or your jury service; you may not "tweet" about anything to do with the parties, events or facts in this case or your jury service on this case. Do not send any email to anyone conveying your jury experience or information about this case. In the jury room, you are not to use your cell phone at recesses or lunch to call anyone to ask questions about issues in this case or to report facts about this case. You may not use Facebook, YouTube or any other "social" network on the Internet to discuss your jury service or issues in this case or people involved in the case, including the lawyers. Do not attempt to recreate by experiment at home any evidence which you hear as testimony in this Courtroom. Failure to abide by these instructions could result in your being found in contempt of court, or cause the trial to end."

A California court had to excuse an entire panel of 600 jurors when several of them admitted they had conducted internet research on a case. Jurors on that panel expressed confusion about whether "not doing research" applied to the internet. San Francisco Superior Court46 is proposing a rule that would become operative on January 1, 2010:

"You may not do research about any issues involved in the case. You may not blog, Tweet, or use the Internet to obtain or share information."

Others have recommended that the detailed instructions about internet device usage be repeated often47 and that they be very specific: "No Blackberry. No Google. No Twitter. Nothing."

The Michigan Supreme Court is the first to ban all electronic communication by jurors during trial. Their new rule48, effective September 1, 2009, requires "state court judges to instruct jurors not to use any electronic communication devices while in the jury box or during deliberations. Jurors will also be told that they cannot use electronic devices to obtain or disclose information about the case when they are outside the courtroom".

 

Public sentiment

 

Public sentiment about this issue is mixed, but falls in three general categories.

 

The New York Times article on jurors and the internet49 gathered almost 300 comments very quickly. Most of the comments were along the lines of "take away their phones!"

 

A second group (not as large as the first but substantive) thought that the legal system should figure out how to deal with a new issue because it wasn't going to go away. They saw the expectation that confiscating jurors' phones would be taken as silly and not really addressing the issue since jurors could simply do research at home after hours.

 

A small (but very vehement) third group thought that the efforts from the legal system to keep jurors off the internet and from doing research was a systemic effort to keep jurors from learning the truth and that jurors, therefore, needed to dig deeper to uncover the truth. This group was clearly negatively disposed toward the court system, but there was a darker undercurrent of suspicion and governmental interference with real justice.

 

While the first two perspectives make rational sense, the third is disturbing in the strength of the belief that legal rules in place for years are there to circumvent true justice. While it is a small group, it is a loud and angry group and needs to be considered. A sampling of their comments50 follow, but keep in mind that the article to which they are responding was posted on March 17, 2009, at about 2:00 p.m. All of these comments were submitted within 60 minutes of the time the article was published, and there were over 300 at the time the comments were closed:

 

Take their phones

 

Dave, Brooklyn, NY, March 17th, 2009, 2:22 pm

 

Simple solution here: confiscate all cell phones, pagers, cameras, or palm pilots before jurors enter the courtroom. C'mon, is this really that difficult a problem to solve?

 

Steven, Parsippany, NJ, March 17th, 2009, 2:22 pm

 

That's nice...in a time when Florida along with the vast majority of other states face record deficits, let's cost the state a fortune by breaking a rule everyone who watches television knows. There's no need to change any rules...these people are just idiots. Everyone knows you're forbidden to research a trial you're sitting on the jury of. This is no different from a juror reading an editorial in a newspaper. Now, luckily, we can catch the jurors.

We have to figure out how to make this work

Csdiego, Washington, DC, March 17th, 2009, 2:05 pm

 

Jurors have always been on their honor not to look up facts of the case. The difference now is that, with Facebook and Twitter, it's easier to find out when a juror has broken the rule. I admit that when I was a juror a few years ago, I broke the rules and went to have a look at the intersection where the crime took place, just out of curiosity. That didn't influence my judgment at all, and the jury ended up hanging anyway.

 

Jlt, Ottawa, March 17th, 2009, 2:22 pm

 

This is the new reality. The legal system will have to adjust; it can't just rely on the rules developed for jurors in medieval communities. 

They are trying to hide the truth we can't let them get away with it

Bill, Camarillo, CA (Los Angeles), March 17th, 2009, 2:43 pm

 

If evidence and testimony provided to jurors in the courtroom is incomplete, I feel that any rational and responsible juror would seek additional information on their own. The object of any court proceeding is to ascertain the facts and arrive at a fair judgment using ALL facts obtainable by any means available. If I am ever called and sit on a jury, you had better believe that everything said will be recorded and photographed so I can take it home and do whatever research is required to unravel the case using due diligence.

 

James, Los Angeles, March 17th, 2009, 2:46 pm

 

The entire adversarial judicial system is based on the judge and the attorneys being in the know about everything and the jury being in the dark about some things. Why? Does ignorance make for impartiality? Why does a judge know better than the jury what kind of evidence is biased or not? Isn't it problematic when the trier of fact is given limited facts? The whole ancient system is classist. Messy information cannot be pre-sifted into biased and not. It's a mess and that is why there is an enormous amount of injustice.

 

Suzanne Cordier, Portland, Oregon, March 17th, 2009, 2:48 pm

 

Fully informed jurors? Oh, no. How will lawyers manage to continue subverting truth and justice now?

 

Edward Virtually, United States, March 17th, 2009, 2:48 pm

 

I'd love to know the justification for allowing judges to exclude evidence not challenged by the defendant, as it seems little more than a way to rig the outcome of the trial by suppressing facts inconvenient to the outcome desired by the judge and/or prosecutor.

 

Recommendations and strategies for addressing the issue of jurors and the internet

 

The scope of the problem is large and might seem daunting. But there are a number of things that can be done to improve the likelihood that jurors will abstain from doing internet research on the case for which they sit in judgment.

 

Keep in mind that due to open records requirements, nearly all pretrial filings are available on the internet, including motions in limine, joint submissions, witness lists, etc. These are clearly matters of great sensitivity, and it is crucial that jurors understand that they are barred from accessing anything related to a case they might be called on.

 

What is inescapably clear is that instructing jurors to avoid internet activity that touches on the case issues is no more effective than a court instruction to be fair-minded. Most do, but as a practical matter many find it impossible. If it is not dealt with in a very pointed and thorough voir dire examination, there are going to be problems. Instructions are crucially important, but are not going to be enough.

1. Instruct jurors in the initial summons for jury duty that they are to refrain from any effort to learn about cases that may be going to trial at the time of their summons. It must be made clear that this includes newspapers, internet and electronic research, or personal investigations.

 

2. If the venue makes use of a central jury facility, have jurors re-instructed that they are forbidden from looking up any information about any cases pending before the court, and have them sign statements of understanding that failure to comply with this is a violation of the law and subject to punishment.

 

3. Add voir dire questions that address actual juror internet use (will they be likely to violate the rule and/or have they already done so?51)

 

4. Ask in voir dire whether jurors would abide by judicial instructions not to do internet research on the case. If a juror acknowledges they could not abide by that instruction, they are a cause strike. Note the experience of an attorney in a Kansas City trial52:

 

"During voir dire, we asked whether jurors would abide by instructions to not do research on the Internet, and probably six to 10 potential jurors said they could never abide by that."

 

5. Revise jury instructions with specific language about electronic device usage (iPhones, Blackberrys, and other smart phones), internet research (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) and social networking applications (such as Facebook, Twitter & MySpace).

 

6. Repeat the instructions, at the start of the day and the end of the day, at breaks and recesses. Leave the instructions fresh in the minds of jurors.

 

7. Have jurors sign declarations that they will not research the case details on the internet.

 

8. Educate jurors on the importance of hearing a case based only on facts presented in court, reporting any outside research or text messages, and to remind each other in the deliberation room that they are to make decisions based only on what is presented as evidence.

 

9. Encourage jurors to think of the courtroom as a playing field where both sides have agreed to play by a set of prescribed rules. One of those rules is that the party(s) on trial will be judged only by a set of facts that both sides have had an opportunity to examine and challenge.

 

10. Make it clear that violations of these rules are a violation of law, for which punishment can be imposed. Make it important, not pro forma, and not merely polite.

 

11. Satisfying the jurors' reasonable "need to know" can gain compliance with the rules.

 

a. Historically, jurors are told what they can't do or what they can't know, without explaining why that is the case. Many jurors take the position of "Really? Alright, if you won't tell me I'll find out for myself!" The level of information provided by the judge is usually discretionary, and many judges are beginning to explain the reasons for the rules. For example,

 

1. Why no internet research? "In court, anyone who is accused of something deserves the right to face their accuser. We can't try people by rumor or innuendo. And we can't put Wikipedia on the stand and question why they say what they do..."

 

2. Insurance coverage can't be considered? "The reason this can't be considered is that the insurance companies have a right to claim any past expenditures they have made in the case, if the lawsuit results in an award for something they have paid. So it isn't fair or reasonable to consider to consider insurance coverage."

 

b. Allow questions by the jury. To the extent that they have reasonable and proper questions for witnesses, they are less likely to conduct research on their own if the witnesses addresses them more completely. Also, they feel more fully engaged in the process, rather than a passive (if not captive) observer.

 

We can't expect jurors to stop looking for answers to questions that arise for them--they have felt the pleasure of quick and convincing research tools, and many refuse to set them aside.

 

Our mock trial work and post-verdict debriefings of jurors teaches us again and again that jurors take their work seriously and want to do the right thing. We have to take seriously the responsibility of teaching them how to deliberate both effectively and fairly in the 21st century.

 

Douglas L. Keene, Ph.D. [dkeene@keenetrial.com] is a psychologist, founder of Keene Trial Consulting and is currently the Past-President of the American Society of Trial Consultants. He assists law firms with trial strategy (including focus groups and mock trials) on major civil litigation and white collar criminal defense, voir dire strategy, jury selection, witness preparation, and related services. His national practice is based in Austin, Texas [http://www.keenetrial.com].


Rita R. Handrich, Ph.D. (rhandrich@keenetrial.com) joined Keene Trial Consulting in 2000. She is a licensed psychologist with extensive experience as a testifying expert witness. In addition to providing trial consulting services through KTC, she is Editor of The Jury Expert. Rita is a frequent contributor to "The Jury Room" --the Keene Trial Consulting blawg http://www.keenetrial.com/blog/.

 

 

 

Reference List

 

All URLs in this reference list were accessed last on October 1, 2009. 

 

1 Editorial: The curse of the information society http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-jury_19edi.State.Edition1.23c8122.html

 

2 Web of Justice?: Jurors' Use of Social Media http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2009/web-justice-jurors-use-social-media

 

3 Adults and Social Network Websites http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Adults-and-Social-Network-Websites.aspx

 

4 34 million American adults send text messages on their cell phones http://www.pewinternet.org/Press-Releases/2005/34-million-American-adults-send-text-messages-on-their-cell-phones.aspx

 

5 Courtroom coverage in 140 characters http://www.rcfp.org/news/mag/33-2/courtroom_coverage_in__characters_28.html

 

6 Twitter users are more mobile in news consumption http://www.pewinternet.org/Infographics/Twitter-users-are-more-mobile-in-news-consumption.aspx

 

7-8 Mobile internet use increases sharply in 2009 as more than half of all Americans have gotten online by some wireless means http://www.pewinternet.org/Press-Releases/2009/Mobile-internet-use.aspx 

 

9 Parents Misjudge Social Network Habit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/technology/internet/31drill.html?_r=2

 

10 Social Networks: Boomers Feel Left Out http://www.pewinternet.org/Media-Mentions/2009/Social-Networks-Boomers-Feel-Left-Out.aspx

 

11 Grandma's On Facebook: New UAB Study Examines Benefit Of Internet Access, Social Media Networking On Seniors' Health http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164436.php 

 

12 Adults and Social Network Websites http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Adults-and-Social-Network-Websites.aspx

 

13 A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13lawyers.html

 

14 Felony Stupidity in Facebook Use http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2009/09/felony-stupidity-in-facebook-use.html

 

15-16 When what happens online ends up in court http://www.ims-expertservices.com/newsletters/sept/when-what-happens-online-ends-up-in-court-091509.asp

 

17-21 A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13lawyers.html

 

22 When what happens online ends up in court http://www.ims-expertservices.com/newsletters/sept/when-what-happens-online-ends-up-in-court-091509.asp

 

23 For jurors in Michigan, no tweeting (or texting, or Googling) allowed http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/pubarticlenlj.jsp?Id=1202431952628&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

 

24 Let's see if you can text him from jail... http://keenetrial.com/blog/2009/08/18/lets-see-if-you-can-text-him-from-jail/

 

25 When what happens online ends up in court http://www.ims-expertservices.com/newsletters/sept/when-what-happens-online-ends-up-in-court-091509.asp

 

26 When the defendant texts the juror... http://keenetrial.com/blog/2009/08/21/when-the-defendant-texts-the-juror/

 

27 When what happens online ends up in court http://www.ims-expertservices.com/newsletters/sept/when-what-happens-online-ends-up-in-court-091509.asp

 

28 Revised jury instructions: Do not use the Internet http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/13/revised-jury-instructions-do-not-use-internet/?&zindex=165049

 

29 Jurors Improper Use of Today's Technology http://edmondgeary.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/jurors-improper-use-of-today's-technology/

 

30 Collapse of two trials blamed on jurors' own online research http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewfreeuse.act?Fuid=ndk4ntqzna%3D%3D

 

31 Prosecutor: Jury can be seated in drowning retrial http://www.modbee.com/news/national/story/859069.html

 

32 NBC Program Examines Widmer Murder Trial: 'Dateline NBC' Airs Coverage On WLWT

http://www.wlwt.com/news/20988628/detail.html

 

33 Juror dismissed over Facebook poll: 'I don't know which way to go, so I'm holding a poll' http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/26/facebook_trial_poll/

 

34 Revised jury instructions: Do not use the Internet http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/13/revised-jury-instructions-do-not-use-internet/?&zindex=165049

 

35 An interview with the juror "who tweets" http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2009/03/13/an-interview-with-the-juror-who-tweets/

 

36 Friending the firefighter. Newsday, July 31, 2009, pa05, News section.

 

37 Pandora's box: the internet, the power of 'knowledge', and irrepressible juror curiosity http://keenetrial.com/blog/2009/08/25/pandoras-box-the-internet-the-power-of-knowledge-and-irrepressible-juror-curiosity/

 

38 Revised jury instructions: Do not use the Internet http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/13/revised-jury-instructions-do-not-use-internet/?&zindex=165049

 

39 Jurors Tweet, Blog, Research & Send Updates from Courtroom http://www.downtheavenue.com/2009/03/jurors-tweet-blog-research-send-updates-from-courtroom.html

40 For jurors in Michigan, no tweeting (or texting, or Googling) allowed http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/pubarticlenlj.jsp?Id=1202431952628&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

 

41 'When all that Twitters is not told: Dangers of the online juror' (Part 1) http://www.rockwallheraldbanner.com/opinion/local_story_135140137.html?Keyword=secondarystory

 

42 For jurors in Michigan, no tweeting (or texting, or Googling) allowed http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/pubarticlenlj.jsp?Id=1202431952628&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

 

43 Googling and Tweeting and Facebooking, Oh My! Jurors Conducting Outside Research During Trial http://ediscovery.quarles.com/2009/03/articles/miscellaneous/googling-and-tweeting-and-facebooking-oh-my-jurors-conducting-outside-research-during-trial/

 

44 Revised jury instructions: Do not use the Internet http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/13/revised-jury-instructions-do-not-use-internet/?&zindex=165049

 

45 Social Media In the Jury Room Can Sabotage Trials http://knowledgebase.findlaw.com/kb/2009/Jul/32426.html

 

46 Jurors: Keep Your E-Fingers to Yourselves http://blogs.findlaw.com/technologist/2009/09/jurors-keep-your-e-fingers-to-yourselves.html

 

47 Mobile Misdeeds: Jurors with Handheld Web Access Cause Trials to Unravel: When jurors have the Web at their fingertips, trials can quickly unravel.www.insidecounsel.com/Issues/2009/June%202009/Pages/Mobile-Misdeeds.aspx?Page=2

 

48 Texts and "tweets" by jurors, lawyers pose courtroom conundrums http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/10049.htm

 

49 As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/us/18juries.html

 

50 Readers' Comments: As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/us/18juries.html

 

51 Mobile Misdeeds: Jurors with Handheld Web Access Cause Trials to Unravel: When jurors have the Web at their fingertips, trials can quickly unravel. Http://www.insidecounsel.com/Issues/2009/June%202009/Pages/Mobile-Misdeeds.aspx?Page=2

 

52 Lure of Internet has courts worried about its influence on jurors http://twincities.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2009/05/11/focus3.html?B=1242014400%5E1825130

 

 

 Citation for this article: The Jury Expert, 21(6), 14-24.

 

 

 

 


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Tony Duncan wrote:
Jun-01-2010
Tony Duncan has done a blog post on this article: Tony's blog post


John Day wrote:
Feb-11-2010
John Day (at Day on Torts) has done a blog post on this article: John's blog post

Book Forum wrote:
Jan-23-2010
Book Forum weblog has cited this article: Book Forum's blog post

Sean Overland wrote:
Jan-21-2010
Sean Overland has done a blog post on this article: Sean's blog post

John DiMotto wrote:
Jan-20-2010
John DiMotto references Jurors and the Internet on his blog John's blog post

Andrew Wolfson wrote:
Jan-10-2010
Andrew Wolfson has written a piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal referring to this article See the Louisville Courier-Journal

Florida Bar Journal wrote:
Jan-07-2010
The Florida Bar Journal has published an article (Reining in Juror Misconduct) that cites our Jurors & the Internet article Florida Bar Journal article


David Badertscher wrote:
Dec-08-2009
David Badertscher has done a blog post on this article: David's blog post

Matt M. wrote:
Nov-20-2009
I agree with the authors conclusions. I believe that the best way to keep jurors off the internet is to explain to them why it is so important.

During focus groups, I don't simply tell mock jurors not to talk about the case at lunch or during breaks. Instead, I explain that the reason for the study is to get their opinions and reactions. If Joe starts talking to Jane about the case, both of their opinions will likely have changed and I will have missed it. If they have questions ...[More]

Jason Barnes wrote:
Nov-19-2009
I have never understood why judges would tell people they can't do research without explaining why independent research is a bad idea and can result in injustice. As you say, jurors want to do a good job and "get it right." Make the explanation personal and, of course, be prepared to issue consequences to jurors who violate the rules.

Your numbered suggestions are all excellent. I would especially encourage the idea of having jurors sign an agreement, or even swear an oath, to abide by ...[More]

Thaddeus Hoffmeister wrote:
Nov-19-2009
Thaddeus Hoffmeister has done a blog post on this article: Thaddeus' blog post

Thaddeus Hoffmeister wrote:
Nov-18-2009
To date, this is the best article I have read on jurors and the internet.

T.Gutheil, MD wrote:
Nov-17-2009
A trial I was in as an expert witness had this occur: The attorney for one side raised an objection; everyone looked to the judge for a ruling; the judge "woke up" and indicated he had been checking his stocks during that part of the trial.

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