Although an appellate court upheld the defendant's conviction, finding Juror No. 7’s conduct harmless, appellate attorney Linda C. Rush disagreed:
"The problem with his blog was, the responses he got were affirming his cynical attitude toward the judge and the process. He created an audience, and during deliberation he was playing to an audience that other jurors didn't even know was there."
an article in the current issue of California Lawyer magazine. Judges and attorneys are finding themselves struggling with "how to protect a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial when jurors are awash in social media, potentially contaminating the integrity of the proceedings," writes Pamela MacLean:
But how much monitoring is too much? At what point will jurors begin to feel like criminal suspects and balk at serving altogether? And is all this much ado about nothing?Leslie Ellis, a jury consultant with TrialGraphix in Washington, D.C., says she advises her clients to monitor jurors' Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter accounts and blogs during a trial to make sure none are discussing the case outside court sessions. "That's how a lot of jurors have been caught," she says.
Another possible alternative, raised in a case that may soon be taken up by the California Supreme Court, involves making all private social media communications posted by a juror during trial available to defense counsel.
The full California Lawyer article is online HERE.
Related post: Blogging jurors (Nov. 26, 2008)