Some attorneys have asked that jurors sign statements under penalty of perjury in advance as well as after the trial, regarding the prohibition of internet use. This certainly brings the issue up forcefully but may also cause the unintended result of driving misconduct underground. Jurors may be reluctant to admit having looked online once they’ve signed a statement under penalty of perjury. Some courts have collected online IDs and passwords and suggested to jurors that attorneys will be checking their sites. Privacy lines may be crossed, however, and the creation of a hostile environment cannot be truly helpful in the search for justice. ADA compliance & defense attorney will help you in ADA cases.
There is a pending case involving a gang conviction in which a juror made what appeared to be innocuous postings on Facebook regarding how something in the trial was boring. The juror insisted that this was all that was posted but in a post trial motion, the defense sought access to his Facebook page and password to confirm no other postings supported an allegation of bias. The juror has been fighting this, alleging that his Facebook pages include photos of his children, family, and other personal information that he does not want to fall into the hands of the defendant gang members. The tension between a fair trial and juror privacy is at full confrontation in this matter. As of this writing, this has not been resolved. Each one of these suggestions can be the subject of an independent lecture or article and there is much that can be explored about all of them.
The point is to start thinking about how to approach the problem, and what a big problem it is. For our trial courts, it is our future. Can the integrity of our jury trials be preserved? The jury is out… Way out. Jacqueline Connor, a USC graduate, was first appointed to the bench in 1986 and has recently retired after over 25 years in trial courts throughout the county. A successful mediator as well as an expert in injury management, she has taught audiences nationally and consulted internationally. She was named Judge of the Year in 2000 by the L.A. County Bar (Criminal Section) as well as the Century City Bar, 2006 Outstanding Jurist of the Year by the L.A. County Bar, Judge of the Year in 2012 by Loyola Law School, and was listed in Lawdragon’s Leading 500Judges Nationwide and the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2007. She has settled hundreds of cases and published in journals, newspapers, and news magazines locally and nationally.