Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jurors Rebel, Defy Judges, and Google Their Own Truth

Judge Zloch questioned the juror about his research, and found that it included evidence that the judge had specifically excluded. At this point, the trial might have still been salvageable; the juror could have been removed from the jury and deliberations could continue. However, Judge Zloch stumbled upon further juror misconduct. Eight other jurors had been doing independent research, blatantly disregarding the jury instructions.
These jurors were conducting Google searches on the lawyers, on the defendant, looking up news articles about the case, checking definitions on Wikipedia, and searching for evidence that had been specifically excluded by the judge.
One juror, when asked by Judge Zloch about the research, responded “[w]ell, I was curious.”
The New York Times coined the phrase “Google mistrial[,]” in an article describing this trial, and opined that there will be more and more Google mistrials as more and more incoming jurors are Internet savvy.

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