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Facebook Post Juror Gets Fined, Removed, Assigned Homework

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'll-do-it-tomorrow dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 539

eldavojohn writes "A Michigan judge removed a juror after a Facebook comment and also fined her $250 and required her to write a five-page paper about the constitutional right to a fair trial. The juror was 'very sorry' and the judge chastised her, saying, 'You violated your oath. You had decided she was already guilty without hearing the other side.'"

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5 page paper? (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451148)

She didn't snap a bra in chemistry class. I'd expect some community service at least.

Re:5 page paper? (4, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451188)

Well, technically she isn't guilty of anything until she's had a fair and speedy trial by her peers.

Re:5 page paper? (3, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451198)

clone53421 likes this.

Re:5 page paper? (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451566)

Technically, the judge HAS tried her. The judge has the authority to convict her of contempt of court. Up here, when a juror does that, they're looking at up to 2 years in jail, which is one reason why you don't see jurors talking about jury deliberations even decades after a trial - what is said in deliberations is forever secret.

Ex-parte communication with the defendant is also a good way to go to jail.

Re:5 page paper? (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451710)

Yeah, I know, but this is still a whoosh...

Her “peers” are, logically, people who are just as dumb as she is... and what better way to flush out dumb people than by posting something dumb on facebook and seeing who “likes” it?

Re:5 page paper? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452032)

Yeah, I know, but this is still a whoosh...

Her “peers” are, logically, people who are just as dumb as she is... and what better way to flush out dumb people than by posting something dumb on facebook and seeing who “likes” it?

Dumb people aren't all that hard to identify. They're usually rather eager to advertise this fact about themselves, though unwittingly.

There's nothing like a good old car(-related) analogy so I'll give a driving analogy as an example. A lot of people don't seem to understand that the long turning lanes on many major roads are there for a purpose. They exist so that a driver doesn't have to start slowing down for the turn until after going into the turning lane, eliminating the need to slow down all of the traffic behind them just to make a turn. Yet a lot of drivers don't understand this and will gladly slow down everyone behind them, needlessly, completely oblivious to how their actions affect others. If you ever see traffic slow to a crawl on a day when there aren't that many cars on the road, it's because of a multitude of people who may be several miles ahead doing inconsiderate things like this.

That's generally the mark of stupid people everywhere. They are capricious, self-serving, and do not act in a deliberate fashion with a full awareness of how their actions affect others. Most of them are not malicious because malice would require intent and an ability to plan one's actions according to that intent, something the stupid are generally unable or unwilling to do. A juror who, if not for this judge, would have conducted a jury trial with an obvious bias without regard for the jeopardy the accused is in would be another iteration of the same pattern.

Re:5 page paper? (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451296)

Umm, yes she is, as part of the "service" in Jury service; you agree not to talk about the case with anyone else, outside the court or jury room. The possible penalties are made abundantly clear.
Guilty as charged m'lud.

Re:5 page paper? (3, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451564)

There is a whooshing sound near you at the moment that you may want to listen to.

Heh (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451708)

Nope, irony isn't steely with less carbon..

Re:5 page paper? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451682)

And that's yet another reason you don't want to have anything to do with courts, jury duty, lawyers, judges, or cops.

They can and will ruin your life if they feel like it.

Re:5 page paper? (4, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452068)

And that's yet another reason you don't want to have anything to do with facebook, twitter, ping or other social networking sites

They can and will ruin your life if they feel like it.

FTFY

Re:5 page paper? (4, Insightful)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451714)

you agree not to talk about the case with anyone else

Agree?? When do you have an opportunity to agree to anything in jury service? You are required to show up on such-and-such date at such-and-such time. You may not wear shorts, tank tops, beach shoes or t-shirts, or any clothing with offensive language or logos. Don't do this, and for heaven's sake, don't do that! Jurors lose quite a bit of freedom when they get that notice in the mail.

The possible penalties are made abundantly clear.

Yes indeed, the penalties are stacked neatly up to the ceiling.

Re:5 page paper? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451830)

Well... you always have a choice, as this juror demonstrated...

Re:5 page paper? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451892)

True , but there is a selection process , to ensure you are not biased.
So , if you want to get out of jury duty , just behave very biased when they interview you . You should never get selected.

However , it doesn't work perfectly , as you can see in this case.

Re:5 page paper? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452080)

then the person responsible is the person who didn't screen her out. Ultimately, the judge. Will he be writing an essay too?

Re:5 page paper? (2, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451212)

The judge would have a field day with me. My first instinct when I meet someone is to use some sort of latent psychic ability to peer directly into their soul and evaluate what kind of person they are on a very basic level. Something I learned to do... long before I remember, probably since I was born.

I've never had to serve on a jury criminal trial.

Re:5 page paper? (4, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451344)

I use my latent psychic ability to detect BS in online posts. It's just something I learned to do long before I remember probably since the internet was made.

Re:5 page paper? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451546)

Wow, all three replies to the grandparent completely missed the point/joke.

Re:5 page paper? (0, Troll)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451414)

I do this too when I read Slashdot posts. On a very basic level you are a self-absorbed tool.

Re:5 page paper? (2, Informative)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451452)

This is something that humans are just hardwired to do. Rapid evaluations of new individuals helps us in evaluating potential threats, and in assessing the credibility and trustworthyness of anyone we meet. It's something that we just cannot avoid doing, it happens very quickly and outside of our awareness. The problem is that these initial perceptions are incredibly difficult to change. One chance at a first impression if you will.

We all do it. Some of us are more aware that we are doing it than others.

Re:5 page paper? (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451574)

Everyone knows humans make knee jerk assumptions about people. Everyone should also know that, if you're sitting on a jury, you don't post those knee jerk assumptions on Facebook - it highlights the mockery of the fair trial process, and judges don't like that at all.

Re:5 page paper? (2, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451720)

For scenarios and for many people those initial perceptions are often right[1] (and good enough).

But going by guesses does not make for a fair trial.

[1] See: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/excerpts/2005-01-07-blink_x.htm [usatoday.com]

Quote: "On the basis of those calculations, Gottman has proven something remarkable. If he analyzes an hour of a husband and wife talking, he can predict with 95% accuracy whether that couple will still be married fifteen years later. If he watches a couple for fifteen minutes, his success rate is around 90%. Recently, a professor who works with Gottman named Sybil Carrère, who was playing around with some of the videotapes, trying to design a new study, discovered that if they looked at only three minutes of a couple talking, they could still predict with fairly impressive accuracy who was going to get divorced and who was going to make it. The truth of a marriage can be understood in a much shorter time than anyone ever imagined."

But I disagree with the conclusion over the "doctors being sued" part. The conclusion was to avoid certain doctors, but to me that study could just indicate people are more likely to sue doctors they don't like rather than that those type of doctors are more likely to commit sue-worthy mistakes. Unless of course the study also analyzed the success/failure rates of those doctors. It would actually be interesting if that was done and it turned out that the doctors who had a less friendly tone were actually significantly worse, but I don't get that from the article.

Re:5 page paper? (1)

mayberry42 (1604077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451958)

That's the problem: the law realizes that and hence the strong "wait until it's over" attitude in the court system. This woman, didn't just make "preliminary assumptions" and judge the defendant based on that (which, as you state, is natural), but seemingly REALLY made up her mind about it. She didn't care about seeing the other side, but only to hand out the guilty verdict.

Re:5 page paper? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451322)

She didn't snap a bra in chemistry class. I'd expect some community service at least.

Big surprise it would be a woman who can't handle the basic requirements of being a good juror. Women are the most judgmental creatures on earth. If they don't like something it must be PURE EVIL!!! it cannot be becuase it doesn't suit their tastes. Prohibition was caused by the WOMEN'S Temperence Union and is a good example of what happens when you let a bunch of empty-nest old hens have political power. They always go for big-government solutions like trying to ban all alcohol everywhere. Convincing more people not to drink as a free choice would never occur to them. Also, men have on average about 23 billion brain cells while women have on average 17 billion brain cells.

There is a direct correlation between women's suffrage and increasingly large government that is more and more of a nanny state. This is very well documented. If you like freedom then women should not vote. No surprise they shouldn't be on juries either. These are related because in most states jurors are chosen from the list of registered voters.

Going through a dry spell, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451426)

Sure, it's rough but don't let it make you bitter, man, chicks hate bitter, angry guys. Go pay a prostitute to help you get your confidence back, it will help.

Re:5 page paper? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451832)

"Women seem wicked, when you're unwanted"

Re:5 page paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33452054)

It is more likely a properly researched 5-page essay would be more painful for this lady than spending 20 hours cleaning garbage in a park. More than likely the judge will have the lady redo the paper simply because it isn't up to par.

Also the $250 fine may not seem like much, however given that 20 year olds don't have typically have much money, it will be difficult enough for her to pay.

You like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451180)

Thumbs up.

Re:You like this. (1)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451968)

Comment: OMG I knew she was guilty. You go for putting that ***** behind bars!

Once again, people... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451186)

...if you want to winny, don't be a Prinny [gametrailers.com] .

Seriously though...what's with people being stupid about social networking services? Juror's getting booted, athletes getting fined for tweeting during a game, etc. Use some common sense, people.

Re:Once again, people... (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451328)

It's not even about common sense, it's more a problem with discretion. I cannot believe some of the things people tweet or post about on Facebook--things that I would think any self-respecting person would know better than to share with the world. It's like it's a contest to see who has the most embarrassing dirty laundry. Then there are the people who think their every stray thought is worth a Facebook status update. Well, it isn't. Odds are, no one cares.

Most people would be better off if they just kept their mouths shut and their keyboards silent.

Re:Once again, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451588)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Re:Once again, people... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451638)

-things that I would think any self-respecting person ....

Well that's the false assumption that is causing your surprise right there. I find that self-respect is quite lacking in many parts of modern society. Facebook social circles are no exception to this and, quite possibly, are much worse.

Re:Once again, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33452010)

Self respect depends on a sense of morality. Morality is subjective. Criticising other's morality is bigoted. I would have thought that you had more self respect than to be a bigot...

Attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451804)

Clearly, attention is more valuable to these people than reputation. That's no surprise, considering we are in the age of "get famous at any cost". These people are simply trying to "get famous" on a smaller scale.

Re:Once again, people... (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451526)

I think the more unfortunate side of this is that there are probably a lot of people who don't take the jury process seriously, and this was just one dumb person who showed it on Facebook.

If only there was a way to get more of these people to inadvertently get themselves removed.

Re:Once again, people... (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452098)

Apostrophes. Learn to use them.

She's luscky the judge was lenient (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451190)

contempt of court can get you jail time. And rightfully so.

If I had been accused of something and was standing trial, I would want the process being done properly. Especially if I hadn't done what I was accused of (not saying that's a fact in this case)

Re:She's luscky the judge was lenient (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451476)

Contempt of court is one of the few times where the writ of habeas corpus doesn't apply. It has been ruled that the defendant "holds the keys to his own cell".

Unfortunately that implies that you have no standing to challenge a live judicial order. If the judge tells you to do something, you either comply or get locked up until you do. The lack of habeas corpus means that you can't whine to a higher judge and sit tight.

That's fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451192)

That's fine.

She can just plagiarize Wikipedia content for her paper. The judge will never know!

about time.. (3, Insightful)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451194)

You know, with how pervasive social networking is these days, and how poorly educated a lot of the public seems to be about how the legal system works, I have to say that I am surprised that this has not happened sooner. It was bound to happen eventually. Personally, i think that the punishment should be a little steeper than 250$ and an essay. This is the sort of behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud, set a proper example, and really show that this sort of thing will not be tolerated.

Re:about time.. (5, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451288)

+1 hell yes.

Whether or not the punishment was too lenient / harsh, this needs to get way more publicity...

One juror learning this the hard way: $250 and a 5-page essay
Millions of people getting even half a clue about how the system is designed to work by hearing about this: (quite literally) priceless.

Re:about time.. (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451290)

You know, with how pervasive social networking is these days, and how poorly educated a lot of the public seems to be about how the legal system works, I have to say that I am surprised that this has not happened sooner. It was bound to happen eventually. Personally, i think that the punishment should be a little steeper than 250$ and an essay. This is the sort of behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud, set a proper example, and really show that this sort of thing will not be tolerated.

how poorly educated a lot of the public seems to be about how the legal system works

"There are some things you're not supposed to do, but nothing happens if you don't get caught."

This isn't ignorance, merely poorly judged risk-taking.

One Aspect Was Bound to Happen But Not the Other (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451394)

You know, with how pervasive social networking is these days, and how poorly educated a lot of the public seems to be about how the legal system works, I have to say that I am surprised that this has not happened sooner. It was bound to happen eventually. Personally, i think that the punishment should be a little steeper than 250$ and an essay. This is the sort of behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud, set a proper example, and really show that this sort of thing will not be tolerated.

Bad: A juror talking about a trial outside of the trial.

Really, insanely, horribly, justice pervertingly bad: Being selected as a member for a jury and deciding a person's fate before they or their representation has a chance to present their side of the case.

The bad part was "bound to happen" but not even giving the accused a chance to explain their side of the story? That should never be "bound to happen." And that fundamental issue with how a 'fair trial' should happen in the United States, I think that's why the essay was ordered.

another reason (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451230)

Another reason to justly lose faith in the justice system. Even a trial by a jury of your peers isn't fair.

Re:another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451364)

It's a reason to lose faith in jury trials. Jurors are idiots. Even when they're not idiots (I've heard it happens occasionally), they still don't understand the law. Trial by magistrate/judge makes a lot more sense IMHO.

Re:another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451470)

...[jurors] still don't understand the law.

That's not their job, that's what judges and lawyers are for. Jurors only job is to examine the evidence as presented to them and make a decision solely based on what's been presented.

Re:another reason (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451696)

Indeed it's preferred if a juror doesn't know the law - and if a lawyer is called to jury service I think they have the right or possibly even the duty to refuse simply because their advanced knowledge of law may prejudice the views of the other jurors.

Re:another reason (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451756)

Why are jurors idiots though?

I'm not sure, but I think that attorneys striking geniuses off during voir dire has a lot to do with it.

Re:another reason (2, Funny)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451930)

One of my favorite George Carlin quotes was something to the effect of:

"Think of how stupid the average American is. Now remember that half of them are dumber than that."

Re:another reason (2, Insightful)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451440)

The "peers" part continues to stick in my craw a bit. If I am arrested, how likely is it the the jury will have anyone that could be considered my peer?

it is a jury of fellow citizens and nothing more.

Re:another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451488)

You seem to be mistaking apathy for unfair dickery. The reason that a trial by a jury of your "peers" is usually a farce (particularly for the the /. community of posters) is because the "peers" you get are usually men and women who are paid bottom-dollar to break rocks with bigger rocks. On top of this fact, they can't afford to miss too much work, so they actually hate you, the judge, other jurors, and basically everyone in the court because they don't want to be there. Because they know that they can get into real trouble (read: financial hand-slapping) via the court if they openly screw someone for the quickest trial possible, they tend to sit in the jurors' box half-paying attention and keep quite in deliberations until someone with a real opinion speaks up, upon which they take the majority side to move the process along.

The real problem is that if the "peer" with the real opinion on the matter is an asshat or some sort of biggot who hates you because you were allegedly speeding and a speeding motorist accidentally killed that juror's dad 30 years ago and they have never quite recovered, then your case is already screwed. Let's ignore the fact that you're likely in court spending money on a lawyer to win this case on which the jurors have already made up their minds before your overpriced suit-wearing yes-man has had a chance to speak, and now you're going to lose this "fair" trial, have to pay your lawyer to boot, and essentially lose out on a day or more of work because you had to come to court.

The whole system is a farce for anyone with a college education as your "peers" are extremely unlikely to be in the same demographic as you, and because of "fairness" laws, the trial is likely to be held 30 miles away from your home in some ghetto neighborhood where you're just as likely to win your case as get mugged and stabbed walking from your car (which will be broken into) to the court room.

Re:another reason (2, Informative)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451794)

When I was on a federal jury a few years ago. The trial was held 15 miles from the "crime scene" and as much as 45 or more from the juror's homes. It took some jurors over 2.5 hours to drive home. (I live in a city exceedingly bad for commuting.)

However, none of us resented the defendant for this. It was remarkable that everyone felt it was their civic duty.

My only complaint about the entire process is that the jury (pretty much the entire jury) felt that the charges were overly aggressive. A very young man had been selling crack, and admitted to selling crack. But because he discussed crack prices and pickups over the telephone with other people, it was conspiracy. Even though he did not benefit from the conspiracy. The way the instructions to the jury were written, there was no choice in the outcome. In addition to selling charges, the young man went to jail on conspiracy for 20-30 years.

The judge should have been required to explain to the jury about jury nullification. We would have nullified those charges so quickly it would have made the DA's head spin. All potential jurors should understand what jury nullification before they begin. [fija.org]

Re:another reason (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451938)

Another reason to justly lose faith in the justice system. Even a trial by a jury of your peers isn't fair.

While it may not be perfectly fair, it's a fuck sight better than the alternatives.

Facebook had nothing to do with it... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451246)

The juror was 'very sorry' and the judge chastised her saying, 'You violated your oath. You had decided she was already guilty without hearing the other side.'"

Facebook had nothing to do with it, the problem is people aren't objective. The injustice would have happened no matter if she didn't post anything about it.

Re:Facebook had nothing to do with it... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451338)

As much as I hate Facebook and love to take any opportunity to bash it, I very much agree with you.

I have served on juries, in and most cases my fellow jurors had already made up their minds well before both sides presented their case.

Re:Facebook had nothing to do with it... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451876)

In fact, Facebook was a good thing, because it documented her malfeasance for all the world to see.

Re: (1)

dukeofurl01 (236461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451308)

Awesome. Good for the judge for even being able to figure it out, and not calling it "The Face Book"

Unasked Question (2, Insightful)

Luthair (847766) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451332)

I find it hard to believe no one is asking exactly why the defendants son is creeping around looking up jurors from his father's trial on Facebook.

Unasked because it's a stupid question (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451380)

Maybe because he wants to make sure his dad gets a fair trial?

Re:Unasked Question (5, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451386)

I find it hard to believe no one is asking exactly why the defendants son is creeping around looking up jurors from his father's trial on Facebook.

Um, it was the lawyer's son who looked it up, and the defendant was female.

Re:Unasked Question (1)

Five Bucks! (769277) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451820)

It's the defense lawyer's case...

Because some punk spoke their mind on FB, the defense lawyer's hard work is gone to waste. That's not fair, really. I'd be annoyed!

Re:Unasked Question (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451510)

Are there laws against looking up jurors on Facebook?

Re:Unasked Question (4, Interesting)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451694)

I find it disturbing that anyone in the courtroom (or associated with the process) even knows the names of the jurors.
When I was a juror we were assigned numbers before we even arrived at the court for selection. AFAIK the judge didn't even know our names.
During selection, we were asked if we knew the accused, the victim, any of the lawyers, the police officers involved, or any of the witnesses (and their names were listed) or if we had any dealings with anyone in the small town that they had all come from. Any of those would make you not able to sit on the jury for this case.
We were also strongly warned not to speak about the details of the trial with anyone other than the other jurors. Ever.

Of course, that''s the Canadian court system. In other countries, YMMV.

Re:Unasked Question (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451788)

Jurors’ knowledge being limited, sure, to prevent them from “researching” the defendant and biasing themselves based on irrelevant facts (oh, defendant is pro/anti- abortion? GUILTY!)...

Knowing the jurors’ names could be helpful to find out if they were lying, though, when they claimed they didn’t know the defendant from Adam...

Re:Unasked Question (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451882)

We were also strongly warned not to speak about the details of the trial with anyone other than the other jurors. Ever.
 

Trials in the U.S. are a matter of public record.

Re:Unasked Question (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451762)

The most likely reasons are

A) He is a kid.
B) His parent is involved in some sort of trial.
C) He wants to understand a bit more about what is going on with his parent.
D) He is intelligent enough to understand how to apply tools at his disposal (Facebook) in order to garner an ends that he desires (more information).

Seriously, Facebook stalking is not some sort of creepy, underground practice performed solely by child molesters and perverts anymore. If you learn or hear of someone new, it is pretty common to do a quick Google and Facebook search to see what the deal is. I can't count how many random people have tried to add me on Facebook because we bumped into each other at Starbucks or something trivial like that...

Re:Unasked Question (1)

aztecmonkey (949418) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452106)

The defendant was a woman. It was her attorney's son who looked it up. I would imagine the reason was that the defense was looking for something to try to get a mistrial.

The problem with jurors (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451362)

Those that get picked, in many cases, were not smart enough to get themselves dismissed during jury selection.

Re:The problem with jurors (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451398)

Or had a bone to pick.

Re:The problem with jurors (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451532)

Here is the real problem, Lawyers pick out those they don't think are good "fits" - aka those with more than half a god damned brain. They want dumb jurors and it is what we get. I wouldn't want to be judged by random people, our society is too stupid.

Re:The problem with jurors (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451668)

I have no problem with a truly random distribution of jurors, but the lawyers always skew the distribution towards dumb and impressionable.

Re:The problem with jurors (5, Insightful)

panda (10044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451856)

Having gone for jury duty in two states, I can tell you that what you say is not always the case.

I served on a jury in Kentucky in 1999 or so, and the other jurors struck me as intelligent, level-headed people. We were there to do our civic duty and we did it well, I think. We returned our verdict based on the evidence presented at trial. That is what was asked of us and that *is* what we did.

Fast forward about 8 to 10 years and I was called to jury duty in Massachusetts. I was saddened by the number of people deliberately lying in an effort to get out of jury duty. What I saw were a bunch of selfish, self-centered consumers, rather than citizens who were willing to do their civic duty to at least attempt to preserve the notion of a fair trial in this country.

My number was called and I sat in the box. The attorneys have the right to strike jurors for any reason. I was called to the bench to answer questions about my previous jury service and about a past experience as a witness in a trial. I answered those questions as truthfully as I could given the amount of time that had elapsed since either had occurred. One of the attorneys decided to strike me based on my answers to those questions, or perhaps for some other reason. (Ironically, I "got out of" jury duty faster than the people who were lying about knowing something about the case, or being biased, etc.)

It sickens me when I hear people say things like "too dumb to get out of jury duty." That attitude has contributed to the decline of the criminal justice system in the USA. It's not the only factor, of course, but it is part of the problem when people do not want to participate in something that is vital to freedom in our country.

Re:The problem with jurors (2, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451726)

Those that get picked, in many cases, were not smart enough to get themselves dismissed during jury selection.

Or understand the concept of duty better than you seem to.

As in the phrase "jury duty"

Re:The problem with jurors (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451752)

No, the problem is people don't want to do their duty and serve on juries. But if they were on trial, they'd want good people on the jury.

Re:The problem with jurors (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451986)

Those that get picked, in many cases, were not smart enough to get themselves dismissed during jury selection.

The American jury is typically middle-aged, middle-class, small-C conservative.

They are civic-minded and responsible people. They believe in the law - and they do not weasel out of commitments and obligations they think are important.

If you go into court thinking you are smarter than the jury you are going to get your sorry ass pounded into the marble flooring.

Common problem of jury based justice (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451436)

That a juror has already formed his opinion before the end of the trial is a common problem in all jury based law systems. A system with (multiple) full-time judges avoid some of those errors, but opens another can of worms.

Re:Common problem of jury based justice (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451884)

The issue is having the jurors and the accused even in the same physical location. Seriously, if we're expecting people to make judgments based on voice modulation and body language, we should get experts in body language and voice analysis to sit on juries. If we're expecting a judgment on the vanilla facts without any prejudice on the appearance of the accused, remove the accused and leave the facts. People will still make up their minds before all the evidence is heard of course, but at least it will be on the basis of some kind of evidence, not just that "I don't like the look of him".

Re:Common problem of jury based justice (2, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451942)

A system with (multiple) full-time judges avoid some of those errors, but opens another can of worms.

*shudder*. Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Chamber [wikipedia.org]

What's wrong with this? (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451446)

She thought he was guilty. Big deal. Isn't that what jurors are supposed to do?

Re:What's wrong with this? (5, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451478)

Jurors aren’t supposed to think, they’re supposed to know. And how exactly can you know until you’ve heard both sides of the case?

Happens all the time. (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451770)

Many times enough information is presented that you can make an accurate inference before all the information is presented.

And it turns out this juror was correct - the person she thought was guilty was, in fact, found guilty.

Re:Happens all the time. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451868)

Can but shouldn’t. Jumping to the correct conclusion is right every time... except it’s wrong by definition.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451842)

She could have changed her mind after hearing the defense.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451926)

And what – posted a comment on the status update? or maybe another status update would have been more appropriate...

Why the fuck was she talking about the trial?! If nothing else, it’s a good way to bias yourself and a terrible way to make an unbiased decision.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452026)

I don't know - but the judge was punishing her for having an opinion, not just for talking about the trial.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452008)

"gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY."

Hmm. Nope.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451750)

Jurors aren't supposed to have made up their minds until they've heard all the details of the case. They are supposed to enter the process with an open mind. Thinking the a person is guilty before even hearing the defense is the height of not having an open mind.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451890)

Isn't that the idea? The juror first thinks the person is guilty, and then they hear the other side and can change their mind.

There's a lesson in here (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451698)

People need to learn that typing random stuff on your facebook page amounts to public confession, and will lead the authorities to your door for a lot of crap you thought you'd get away with.

Re:There's a lesson in here (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451950)

People need to learn that typing random stuff on your facebook page amounts to public confession, and will lead the authorities to your door for a lot of crap you thought you'd get away with.

Don't soft pedal it; posting on Facebook IS a public confession. I can't think of a more public confession outside of renting the Goodyear blimp on Super Bowl Sunday.

The letter of the law (1)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451746)

The Judge demanded she write a 5 page paper, but didn't make any mention of what size font was required.

I'd write that 5 pages...

in 72pt...

comic sans

Just sayin'...

Re:The letter of the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33451994)

There is no "letter of the law" for contempt of court. If the judge thinks you are being contemptuous (and 72pt Comic Sans would certainly qualify) then he can give you jail time. This sucker [foxnews.com] spent fourteen years behind bars.

72pt comic sans (1)

Primitive Pete (1703346) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451996)

...would earn you contempt of court. Just sayin'...

Re:The letter of the law (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452078)

I'd write that 5 pages...

in 72pt...

comic sans

Just sayin'...

In the immortal words of Dirty Harry (okay, paraphrased slightly)...

“Do you feel lucky, punk?
Well...?
DO YOU?”

In the slightly-less-immortal words of me...

Try it – I think pretty much everyone would benefit from the result.

At least she posted on facebook (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451796)

For all of it's faults, at least she posted on facebook, and she was caught. I'm sure lots of jurors over the centuries have made up their minds well before they should, anything that removes them from the process can't be all bad.

You can't handle the truth (2, Interesting)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451896)

Given recent articles about snap decisions (apparently deciding if you think a gal's hot, or your emotional reaction to a web site both take a fraction of a second), perhaps all this woman was doing was revealing an uncomfortable truth about the justice system. Could it be that jurors reach their decision in the first few minutes (or less) and everything that follows just loads them up with ammunition to form their rationalizations?

Don't people know all defendants are guilty... (2, Funny)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33451952)

...period?

I mean, c'mon. If they're on trial that means we got them. :P

There is a very simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33452034)

There is a very simple solution. Things like Facebook posts are not official court judgements and should not be considered as that.
Another discussion on this:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/02/02/222231/Courts-Move-To-Ban-Juror-Use-of-Net-Social-Sites#commentlisting

Wow, just wow. (-1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33452038)

$250 fine. First class, well done. You hit back at someone doing you a favour when they do a bad job. *clap clap clap*.

What a self-important moron this judge is.

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