Judge, jury, and…Facebookutioner


Like you could do better…

If When “Facebookutioner” catches on, you read it here first.

But seriously folks, let’s talk about what judges are doing about jury use of social media during trial…

According to this survey, in which 508 federal judges completed questionnaires, only 30 respondents (5.9%) are aware of instances in which jurors have used social media during trial or deliberation.

  • What is the social network of choice among jurors?
  • What are jurors doing online during trial?
  • And what are judges doing to stop it?

Find out after the jump…

* * *

What is the social network of choice among those who disregard jury instructions not to use social media during trial and deliberations? No surprise, it’s Facebook. Although Google+ is apparently used as just as often. Who knew?

Three judges reported that a juror “friended” or attempted to friend a trial participant on Facebook. Three judges also reported that jurors used social media to post information about a deliberation. For those who get caught using social media during trial and deliberations, the punishment is generally a warning or removal from the jury. However, four judges did declare a mistrial.

So what are judges doing to reduce the risk that jurors Facebook (yeah, I verbed it), tweet and IM during trial? Thirty responding judges have never specifically addressed juror use of social media. However, over half of the judges who responded in the survey explain, in plain language, the reason behind a social media ban. Nearly 40% of those surveyed remind jurors at jury selection to refrain from using social media while serving as a juror. Three tough judges even require jurors to sign a written pledge to refrain from using social media while serving as a juror. 


Gosh, what would happen if I became a juror? No posts at the The Employer Handbook?!? Your email and rss feed subscriptions to this blog would be worthless. And no witty tweets?!? No Facebook Fan Page or LinkedIn updates?!?

Remain faithful. Don’t you cheat on me! Wait for me!

Wait for me…

Image credit: courts.wa.gov