In August 2003 in our article, “When Jurors Surf the Internet (and Shouldn’t),”[FOOTNOTE 1] we reported on the growing phenomenon of jurors or potential jurors rather easily gleaning extraneous prejudicial information from the internet. Last October we revisited the subject observing that both the opportunity as well as juror straying had grown.[FOOTNOTE 2] Search engines such as Google, social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, video archives such as YouTube, and all manner of blogs (individual and public forum types), plus much more created a pool of easily available electronic information.
Juror forays onto the internet is not the only form of juror misconduct that can lead to acquisition of prejudicial information. But it is an easy, opportunistic one and seemingly ubiquitous. Other traditional forms of misconduct exist, such as actual juror visits to an accident scene, experiments, independent research, and quotient verdicts, among others. Each of these can lead to prejudicial influence or taint upon the jury’s deliberative process.
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