Judges confounded by jury's access to cyberspace, Baltimore Sun, Dec. 13, 2009:
On Friday, lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for a new trial in part because five of the jurors who convicted her of embezzlement Dec. 1 were communicating among themselves on Facebook during the deliberations period - and at least one of them received an outsider's online opinion of what the verdict should be. The "Facebook Friends," as Dixon's lawyers call them in court documents, became a clique that the lawyers argue altered jury dynamics.The article discusses a number of cases affected by jurors who go online.
Concern has grown so much nationwide that legal experts, including in Maryland, are rewriting model jury instructions to specifically tell jurors that online searches, texting and social media - the things they routinely do on laptops, cell phones and BlackBerrys - are out. Maryland's rules are expected to be published next year, and the ones on that subject are still being drafted.