Courts Learning That Jurors Can Blog (Next They'll Find Out Jurors Can Email, Too)
from the really,-they-can... dept
While blogging lawyers has become quite common (and there is even the occasional blogging judge), it seems that lawyers and courts are just starting to grapple with the fact that jurors are blogging as well — and they’re not quite sure how to deal with it. The article focuses on a situation where a juror wrote in his blog not just about the jury selection process, but his surprise at being selected, given his beliefs on certain subjects, such as the police and God. He also stated (before the process began) that he was about to go “listen to the local riff-raff try and convince me of their innocence.” Since the jury he was on found the defendant guilty, the defense lawyer has been asking for a retrial, claiming that the blog statements showed clear bias — though, you would think the lawyer was supposed to have outed that bias during the selection process. Later in the article, it notes that judges and lawyers are going to need to start asking potential jurors about their blogging habits during the selection process. That seems to be going a little far. The court usually instructs jurors that they are not to discuss the case with anyone until it’s over — and a blog post about the specifics of the case (rather than just “hey, I’ve got jury duty”) certainly seems to violate those rules — and should be plenty of notice without having to carefully note down any particular website where any juror might post a comment. The problem in the specific case wasn’t that the defense lawyer (or judge or prosecution, for that matter) didn’t ask the guy if he blogged — but they didn’t ask other questions to determine if he was biased in how he might view the case.