A couple of years ago if you would have called your friend and told them that you just ate a sandwich, there would have been dead silence followed by… “was that it?” Today in the world of twitterverse, a person would tweet that they just ate a sandwich, and then 2 minutes later tweet that they ate a bag of chips. This tweet would probably receive 4 replies from friends asking how the sandwich was.
In a survey just released by Duke Law, 140 jurors were asked about their social media usage while in court. Apparently U.S courts need to monitor more closely the social media usage of their jurors while in court, because many of them are using social media during a trial. The problem is getting so bad that some jurors have even been caught tweeting about the case that they are serving on, that’s a big no no.
While the rules for jurors have been the same for many years; some jurors are forgetting that they are not allowed to communicate at all about the case they are serving on. The introduction of smartphones has brought about this recent trend, and judges are not taking the abuse of the rules lightly.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported two incidents where jurors received a harsh penalty. A juror in Florida was sentenced to 3 days in jail after “friending” a defendant in a personal injury case. The second juror involved a Texas man that received community service for “friending” a plaintiff in an auto accident case.
Jurors might feel that it is a huge inconvenience to not use social media while they are sequestered, but there is reasoning for such rules. As experienced litigators Haire Law understands the importance of having an unbiased jury, and there are many laws in place to make sure that our clients receive the right of an unbiased jury of their peers. Although it is not fun to be away from our social media and our family, it should be thought of as a right to serve and not an inconvenience.
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