Jurors take the Law, PDAs – and e-Discovery – into their Own Hands

j0314263 Coming soon to a courtroom near you; sequestering with no access to electronic devices, and all movement and correspondence monitored – for the entirety of every trial.  Got any better ideas?

On the heels of my post late last week about “Juror Jonathan“, comes the following story from the New York Times about jurors ignoring their judges’ admonishments and conducting their own online research during trials.

Courts have always operated on the honor system when it comes to non-sequestered juries.  We hold out hope that when a judge issues jury instructions, they will be taken seriously and followed to the letter of the law.  Unfortunately, we also know that individuals violate these rules all of the time.  Sometimes they’re caught – sometimes not.

Now, virtually every PDA comes equipped with the ability to access the internet, so jurors can conveniently misbehave on their breaks!  If our system of jurisprudence can’t get a handle on how to control juror misconduct, here’s the next place they’ll be getting a ‘handle’ on them:

ca. 2002 --- Motel Room Toilet --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

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