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24 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 589 (2011)
The Appearance of Impropriety and Jurors on Social Networking Sites: Rebooting the Way Courts Deal with Juror Misconduct

handle is hein.journals/geojlege24 and id is 597 raw text is: The Appearance of Impropriety and Jurors on
Social Networking Sites: Rebooting the Way Courts
Deal with Juror Misconduct
In an Arkansas case that resulted in a $12.6 million judgment against Stoam
Holdings, a wall panel supplier, the defendant sought to overturn the decision
after a juror sent out Twitter messages during the trial, including oh and nobody
buy Stoam. Its bad mojo and they'll probably cease to Exist, now that their wallet
is 12m lighter.' In another case, a British juror was dismissed from a trial after
polling friends on Facebook as to the innocence or guilt of the defendant.2
Similar stories involving jurors discussing trials on social networking sites are
popping up around the world, presenting a growing challenge for the judicial
Jurors are explicitly barred from discussing the case they are deciding with
anyone at any time, with the exception of communication between jurors during
their deliberation on the case.3 This prohibition is a crucial aspect of the
defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial because it prevents the
introduction and discussion of prejudicial material not subject to the safeguards
of the judicial process.4 Moreover, jurors are prevented from discussing the case
outside of jury deliberations because only the jurors have been found to be fair
and impartial through the voir dire process.5 Finally, the confidentiality of jury
deliberations is intended to prevent undue influence from pressuring jurors into
changing their opinions.6 In the past, the avenues for communication between
jurors and outsiders have been fairly narrow, and their possible audiences have
* J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (expected May 2012); B.A., George Washington University
1. John Schwartz, As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials are Popping Up, N.Y. TIMEs, Mar. 18, 2009, at Al.
2. Urmee Khan, Juror Dismissed from a Trial After Using Facebook to Help Make a Decision, THE
TELEGRAPH (Nov. 24,2008, 10:01 AM), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/3510926/Juror-
3. See, e.g., United States v. Siegelman, 561 F.3d 1215, 1237 (11th Cir. 2009) (noting that juror exposure to
outside information violates defendant's Sixth Amendment to trial by an impartial jury).
4. See, e.g., United States v. Resko, 3 F.3d 684, 690 (3d Cir. 1993).
5. E.g., N.Y. ST. UNIFIED CT. SYS, Jury Separation During Deliberations, in CRIM. JURY INSTRUCTIONs 2D
(2009), available at https://www.nycourts.gov/cji1-General/CJ2d.JurySeparationRev.pdf.
6. See Timothy J. Fallon, Mistrial in 140 Characters or Less? How the Internet and Social Networking are
Undermining the American Jury System and What Can be Done to Fix It, 38 HOFSTRA L. REV. 935, 938 (2010).


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