An Arkansas juror’s Tweets may have caused a mistrial in an otherwise open and shut first degree murder case. Randy Franco, a juror on the murder trial of Erickson Dimas-Martinez, Tweeted such philosophical gems as “Choices to be made. Hearts to be broken” and other classics on the horrible coffee in the courthouse. These seemingly innocuous Tweets led the defendant to appeal his conviction on grounds of possible juror misconduct. The State of Arkansas has countered that the evidence was overwhelming (there were multiple eye witnesses to the murder) and the jurors actions were not against any specific Court order.
The attached article indicates that the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard the defendant’s appeal, is unlikely to reverse the lower courts’ rulings. However, countless hours and tax payers’ dollars were spent on the defense of the underlying verdict, all because Juror Franco had an uncontrollable desire to tell the Twitter-verse how bad his coffee was. Do incidents like this led to the conclusion that internet access should be banned in courtrooms? Or should the court confiscate all forms of communication from the jurors during their service? Or is this an example of the law falling seriously behind modern technology? Should Tweeting or Facebook activity that doesn’t lead to gathering outside knowledge even qualify as possible juror misconduct? The bottom line is that a juror’s insatiable need to inform the social media world of their daily activity may subject taxpayers to a drain of funds, defendants to a possible unfair trial and everyone reading the Tweets to hours of wasted time they’ll never get back.
Check out the article at: http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=7e3e1155-b121-4df3-8e91-eccc50c469f1