Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monitoring a Juror's Twitter Account


 Today, a judge heard arguments about whether defense counsel for Jodi Arias should gain access to the Twitter accounts of the prospective jurors in Arias upcoming sentencing trial.  Here is the motion filed by the Arias defense team.

As some may recall, Arias was previously convicted in May of killing her on and off again boyfriend, Travis Alexander.  At the time of her conviction, the jurors could not decide whether or not Arias deserved the death penalty.  Thus, although she was convicted, she has not been completely sentenced.  Her case is in a state flux as prosecutors must decide if they want to seat a new jury in order to pursue the death penalty.  If a new jury is not empanelled, Arias will be sentenced to life.

According to defense counsel, they need access to the Twitter accounts of any future jurors to ensure that any decision made by the jury is based on evidence presented at trial not information gleaned from others via Twitter.  The defense attorneys also note that in Arias' earlier trial some jurors failed to strictly abide by the courts admonitions against using social media. 

It is highly unlikely that the court will grant the defense's request.  If courts start requiring jurors to turn over access to their social media accounts, many more prospective jurors will find reasons why they can't serve.

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