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    Jury Research Blog

    INTERNET: "Excuse Me, Your Honor. I’m Not Finished Blogging Yet!"

    Posted by Gale Burns on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 16:01 PM

    February 1, 2011

    Jeffrey T. Frederick, Jury Research Services

    True story. I was being interviewed by Reuter’s reporter Brian Grow for a story he was doing on the Internet and jurors. As we were talking, he asked me if I wanted to look at something interesting that a potential juror was doing on the Internet. He directed me to a blog or as the juror distinguished, a “live journal.” Here are some samples of the comments the juror was making:

    Jury Duty—part III

    Oct. 20th, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    So. . . My group went to trial where for the next 2 hours hey did void dir-ing. The prosecutor has on the tackiest suit I have ever seen. Out of 50 potential jurors, there are at least 5 gays, right? - he'f better find them and use his challenges. Plus, he was annoying in his part of the questioning. the defense attorney, on the other hand, just exudes friendly. I wanted to go to lunch with him. And he's cute.

    They will pick the lucky 13 after lunch. I'm guessing they are going to find nothing to boot me for so I'll be one of the 13.

    I'm kind of thumb neutral. On the one hand, it looks to be slice of life interesting. On the other hand, it looks to be 6 days long - tomorrow, and then Monday-Thursday of next week. Leaving aside the whole work thing - they will be annoyed but they will get over it - I'm not sure I can sit there all day with no computer, no front door tv network, etc.

    Later that day:

    REJECTED!!! Jury duty day 1

    Oct. 20th, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Mr. Cheap suit rejected me!! Before we went back to the courtroom, they eliminated some. Then we sat through another hour of voir dir and then they started the real cherry picking. I was Mr. Cheap suit's first pick! I'm a little proud and I know it is only in my imagination that the defense attorney looked sad.

    Now I'm back in the jury room with the other rejects. I'm pretty sure I was eliminated because my beauty would have been distracting. They did alude to the fact that there would be at least one stripper testifying. Mr. Cheap suit asked why someone might work as a stripper. He got lots of answers, like hard life and need the money. I said "maybe they like the work." Clearly not a popular theory.

    The defense attorney asked some people what one law they would change. He didn't ask me and I could not have picked just one. It would be a toss up between legalizing pot or prostitution.

    And still later:

    And still more jury duty thrills.

    Oct. 21st, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    So. . . We sat until 10:15 when they gave us a 15 minute break. Slave drivers. Where do I sign up for the union???

    Then it was back to a new courtroom. . . Different lawyers, different defendants, different judge. No cheap suits. Whew. This time I a, number 30 (last time I was 5). I'm thinking my chances of getting picked are way slimmer this time. Only 1-13 get to even sit in the good chairs. I did not give those chairs their appropriate appreciation yesterday - my bad. 14 -50 get the hard benches of second string.

    This trial will also likely go through next week. The judge told us not to discuss it or Twitter about it. She made no mention of live journal but I'll stay vague.

    The blogging of the potential juror was eventually brought to the attention of the Court by a local public defender (and after the interview, myself). She was removed from the jury pool.

    What do we learn from this?

    -We need to be aware of what potential jurors and trial jurors are posting on blogs/journals and on social networking websites.

    -We need to encourage the Courts to pay greater attention to instructing jurors on the appropriate and inappropriate uses of the Internet during jury service.

    -Some jurors with ignore the Court’s instruction (hence see point one).

    One final comment: it is also a good idea to find out if potential jurors are heavy users of social networking Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, or keep online journals or blogs. These are the most likely candidates for engaging in this behavior.

    For a more detailed discussion of issues and opportunities concerning the Internet and jurors, see “Chapter Eight: Jurors and the Internet” in Mastering Voir Dire and Jury Selection: Gain and Edge in Questioning and Selecting Your Jury, Third Edition (2011) and Jeffrey T. Frederick, You, the Jury, and the Internet  (2010).

    Topics: jury research, Jeffrey Frederick, Internet, jury selection, social networking, blogging, live journal

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