The Dallas Morning News has a good article today about judges struggling to keep jurors from doing their own Internet research during trials. Here are the opening paragraphs:
In Florida, a mistrial was declared recently after a federal judge learned eight jurors had researched the drug case on the Internet.
In England, a juror was dismissed from a sexual assault case after asking how she should vote on her Facebook page.
And in Dallas, state District Judge John Creuzot recently terminated someone from a pretrial drug diversion program after a probation officer discovered Internet postings showing that “what he was saying that he was doing was exactly contrary to what we thought he was doing,” Creuzot said, noting the man’s plan to get drunk on graduation day.
Now, the defendant “could be indicted and have a criminal record,” Creuzot said.
Welcome to the 21st-century legal world, where immediate access to information infringes on traditional courtroom sanctity.