Juror techno-misconduct has been in the news recently, what with a one juror twittering about a $12 million verdict (the timing of which is apparently in dispute), and another juror in the corruption trial of former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent J. Fumo apparently commenting about the trial and deliberations via his Facebook status.
I find it odd that some commentators have suggested that social media tools (or toys, if you prefer) like Twitter and Facebook pose risks of juror misconduct that are somehow new or different. I don't buy it. Jurors willing to email, twitter, text, Facebook-post, and whine-on-myspace about a case or their deliberations are jurors who twenty years ago would have been talking to their friends on the phone about it. New communication methods might lead us into banality, but they do not lead us into temptation of violating our oaths to shut up any more than old-school dinner-table conversation. The fault lies not in our technology, but in ourselves. The technology just makes it easier to detect when oathbreaking jurors are doing it. Hence I respectfully disagree with Scott Greenfield, who suggests that we may want to abandon the pretense of juror confidentiality in light of modern technology. I think that juror confidentiality and obedience was a pretense long before the modern technology; the technology just makes it harder to maintain the illusion.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Hate Speech Debate on More Perfect Live - September 5th, 2017
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017