content top

A New Danger In The Courtroom: A Juror With A Twitter Account

In the Twitter-verse they call it “trending.” When a topic gets hot in the online messaging center Twitter and thousands or even more likely millions began to respond to the same subject. Trending is also making its way into the vernacular. Now you hear news anchors calling anything “hot” — “trending.” Well there is a new “trend” in the courts of America and criminal defense lawyers will have to take notice: jurors are using their phones to “tweet” and their Facebook pages to report and it is getting defendents new trials and the jurors fines.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the numerous cases that have had verdicts thrown out or caused the judge to declare a mistrial. See the very clever graphic in that article here.

Like many things “social media” the quick text or off-hand post belies its impact when it takes place in jury box. In at least one case criminal defense lawyers defending those accused of serious crimes “may ask the court to require jurors to disclose information, such as Twitter handles, to make sure jurors aren’t ‘researching, tweeting or Facebooking’ about the case. ‘That would be ripe grounds for a mistrial, for throwing out a conviction or an acquittal, and we’d have to go through the process all over again.’ ”

As Seattle criminal defense lawyers anything which can jeopardize a fair trial for our clients is of great concern to us even if it is only 140 characters long.

(via @kevinokeefe)