Monday, October 9, 2006

Blogging Jurors

What will be the effect of jurors who blog about their experiences? Recently, the New Hampshire Supreme Court case (State v. Goupil) upheld a conviction over a defendant's claim that he was denied a fair trial "because his jury foreman turned out to be a blogger who complained about having to show up for jury duty to deal with the local 'riffraff.'" Molly McDonough, Blogger's Posts Don't Equal Juror Misconduct, ABA Journal eReport, Oct. 6, 2006.

The article touches on some interesting issues. (1) The New Hampshire court took the juror's word that he could set aside any bias and had followed the court instructions once the trial started. Can you always believe such statements? (2) Voir dire -- should lawyers start checking to see if jurors are going to blog about the trial? (3) Publicity -- if a blog is read widely will it affect a trial just as news coverage does? Or worse?

The article links to a post giving a juror's perspective of an assault trial in Chicago. This post, by software developer Mark Draughn (a/k/a/ Windy Pundit) is the first of four, going through voir dire, opening statements, testimony, closing arguments, and deliberations. These long posts are well worth reading. See Jury Duty, Day 1: Vwar Deer, Windy Pundit, Sept. 25, 2006 -- and follow the link at the bottom to the next post, and from there to the next.

For Draughn's full jury experience, you can read his thoughts about being a self-employed person called to serve, going through the security checkpoint, trying to find Diet Coke, and more: Jury Duty (Sept. 17) and Jury Duty (continued) (Sept. 18, 2006). See also his post about being in the ABA article (Oct. 6).

Thanks: Public Defender Stuff.

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