Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
New posters in Washington Courtrooms Encourage Jurors to “Focus on the Courtroom”November 22, 2011
Recent headlines point to a new concern for courts: “Judge to Juror: Stop tweeting about the murder trial”; “Jurors ‘friending’ each other on Facebook” and “Googling juror prompts court to overturn jury verdict”.
In the age of social media, with smart phones at our fingertips every day, sharing a ‘status update’ on the experience of serving as a juror may be the instinctive response.
Starting this month, jurors in Washington courtrooms will see a new poster designed to remind jurors of their critical role in assuring a fair trial -- and the importance of refraining from researching a case online or commenting on social media sites while the trial is ongoing.
“We recognize that, in their normal 21st century lives, jurors may routinely post information about all of their activities on websites and are probably accustomed to using the internet to get quick answers to any question that might arise,” said King County Superior Court Judge William Downing Co-Chair of the Washington State Pattern Jury Instructions Committee.
“Because these are such natural impulses in our electronic age, jurors will benefit from a gentle reminder that their duty to provide a fair trial requires them to postpone these activities until after their trial is finished.”
This is a critical point. The U.S. Constitution requires impartial juries, meaning that jurors must be unbiased, must refrain from prematurely forming or discussing opinions about the case, and must base their decisions solely on the information received in the courtroom.
The poster cautions jurors to avoid outside information about the case from the internet or other sources, and not to text, e-mail, blog, or discuss the case with family or friends.
The poster was created by the Washington Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, with private funds at no cost to taxpayers.
Washington Courts Media Contacts:
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|