November 03, 2011 Articles

Combating Jurors' Improper Internet Usage and Winning

The Internet revolution is leaving courts and parties scrambling to preserve the sanctity of the jury trial

by Robin H. Jones and H. Eli Lightner II

REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: defendant looks like a murderer. GUILTY. Waiting for opening remarks.

REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: guy I thought was up for murder turns out to be defense attorney. Bet he murdered someone anyway.

REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: Attorneys presenting "evidence." Since when are security photos, DNA, and testimony evidence? Trusting intuition.

REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: Now forcing my autograph on other jurors. Also starting whisper campaign of innocence based on Magic 8 Ball.

@SteveMartinToGo on Twitter, December 20–21, 2010.

As it turns out, comedian Steve Martin's account from "the box" was fictional, but the Internet's invasion into the courtroom is no joke.

Virtually everyone in the United States has access to the Internet, many via smartphones, which are expected to outnumber feature phones by the end of 2011. And while the infiltration of the Internet into all aspects of our daily lives needs little explanation, the sheer scale bears mention. For example, although Facebook has only existed since 2004, 500 million users collectively post more than 60 million status updates per day. Less than two years ago, Google reported at least one billion searches per day. Last year, Twitter claimed approximately 50 million tweets per day.

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