For a 57 year-old Central New York personal injury lawyer, I’m pretty social-media savvy. I blog, I tweet, I google, I post on Facebook, etc. So when I read some twitter chatter about an article titled “Juror Misconduct in the Age of Social Networking”, I googled the article and read it. It was a good read, and since you might not have the time or inclination to read the whole thing, let me summarize it for you.
It starts with this quote from Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. I assume Einstein was thinking of the atomic bomb, not social media. I don’t think you can call social media an atomic bomb, though its impact on juries is certainly somewhat explosive.
The article goes on to describe how jurors are “tweeting”, “Facebooking” and googling with smartphones during jury duties, often in defiance of the judge’s order not to. If they are posting information about the case, or discussing it at all, or googling for information about the lawyers, their clients or witnesses, well, they are violating their juror oath. Jurors have been caught posting things like, “it’s gonna be fun to tell the defendant he’s GUILTY”. Other jurors have been caught trying to “friend” witnesses on Facebook. They have also conducted improper “investigations” online, for example, regarding the distance between two relevant locations, or the yearly profits of a defendant corporation.