As jurors go online, U.S. trials go off track

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updated 12/8/2010 9:43:29 PM ET

ATLANTA — The explosion of blogging, tweeting and other online diversions has reached into U.S. jury boxes, raising serious questions about juror impartiality and the ability of judges to control courtrooms.

A Reuters Legal analysis found that jurors‘ forays on the Internet have resulted in dozens of mistrials, appeals and overturned verdicts in the last two years.

For decades, courts have instructed jurors not to seek information about cases outside of evidence introduced at trial, and jurors are routinely warned not to communicate about a case with anyone before a verdict is reached. But jurors these days can, with a few clicks, look up definitions of legal terms on Wikipedia, view crime scenes via Google Earth, or update their blogs and Facebook pages with snide remarks about the proceedings.

The consequences can be significant. […] See More

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About Richard D. Ackerman
Rich Ackerman is a litigator in Southern California. He has litigated a number of high profile cases and is regularly contacted by media outlets concerning his views on constitutional issues of the day. He is a Director of the Riverside County Bar Association, Chair of the RCBA Continuing Education Committee, served as President of the Mt. San Jacinto College Foundation (2008-10), and taught philosophy at Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College for nearly a decade. Rich has also published a number of newspaper articles, magazine articles, and published a textbook during the time he was teaching. He has presented on various topics before the California Legislature, KTLA, FoxNews, the O'Reilly Factor, NPR, and a variety of other places. His curriculum vitae is set forth at www.avvo.com/attorneys/92563-ca-richard-ackerman-48193.html . He is available for presentations to local bar associations, law schools, and other engagements.

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