Juror Found Guilty of "Friending" Defendant on Facebook

Call the court system old and stodgy all you want, but they do tend to frown upon jurors interacting with the defendants, much less friending them on Facebook.

Here's what a young juror in Texas learned the hard way about how not to mix social media and jury duty:

Hudson was a juror on a Tarrant County civil case last month when he tried to "friend" the defendant and discussed the case on his Facebook page, according to court records. The woman notified her lawyer who, in turn, told the presiding judge, Wade Birdwell.

Last week, Hudson, 22, pleaded guilty to four counts of contempt of court related to the matter. He was sentenced to two days of community service, which will be chores assigned to him by the jury bailiff next month.

Officials in the Tarrant County district attorney's office said this is the first instance they are aware of in which a juror used social media to contact a person involved in an ongoing case.

"I've never seen this before," prosecutor Chris Ponder said. "But I'm afraid this is a new reality as the technology is so ubiquitous that we'll have these types of things occur."

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/08/28/3319796/juror-sentenced-to-community-service.html - via Mashable (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Peep Show did an episode on that.
"It's pretty bad but you should see the other girl... Because she can't see you!"
*Maybe if I keep kissing her, scary words won't keep coming out of her mouth.*
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Something similar happened in England earlier this year.


It made big news especially in the IT press, but it shouldn't have done and nor should this story. The thing is that there have been plenty of previous cases for contempt where jurors, defendants and witnesses have been in contact without using the internet. The technology used is immaterial. I doubt that it was big news the first time a telephone was used to facilitate such contact, so why should it be news if the internet is used? The answer is a single word: Facebook. For some reason the news media are so obsessed with Facebook and Twitter that if you attach either of those words to an otherwise mundane story it gets bumped right up the running order.
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