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Jury Instructions Catch Up to the 21st Century

Written by Moses & Rooth on October 27, 2010

Juries are expected to make their decisions based upon the evidence presented in court.  They are to listen to all sides of an issues, and discuss their thoughts and concerns with other jurors at the end of the trial.  The problem is, courts were finding that juror were too conected with the outside world.  They were texting and chating about the case, about their thoughts, about the issues, with friends and families.

The Florida Supreme Court has now weighed in on the subject and actually instucts juror:

“you must not use electronic devices or computer to communicate about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, emailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other menas at all.  Do not send or accept any messages to or from anyone about this case or your jury service.”

I know your thinking, What is the big deal?  Why can’t I find out information that is not being answered in court?  Why not discuss the case with anybody I want?

Juror can only decide a case, based upon evidence that is presented in court.  Outside material is not subject to cross-examination, may not be admissible, and I know this is going to come as a shock but not everything out on the web is accurate.

It is important to our system of justice that jurors remain impartial and the new rule is needed to maintain that integrity.

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