Jurors

Keith Lee

Yesterday over at Hercules and the Umpire, Judge Kopf noted an article from the Federal Judicial Center regarding social media use among jurors. Also in the article was a brief bit on social media use by attorneys during voir dire.

Most judges stated they did not know whether attorneys were using social media during voir dire, and most do not address the issue with attorneys before voir dire. Only 25 judges reported they knew attorneys had used social media in at least one of their trials, usually during voir dire. Attorneys may have used social media to look at prospective jurors’ Facebook pages, to run names through search engines, or to look at online profiles, blogs or websites. Of the 466 judges responding to this survey question, 120 do not allow attorneys to research prospective jurors online during voir dire.

Which caused Judge Kopf to ask: “So long as the use of social media by a lawyer in the courtroom picking a jury is discreet, why in the world would a federal judge interfere with a lawyer using social media to obtain information about jurors during the jury selection process? That doesn’t make any sense to me? ”

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I trust juries. They closely listen to the evidence that’s presented to them. They listen to the law and, they collectively do what they believe is right. My years in courtrooms, both as a lawyer and in what I just went through, lead me to that same conclusion.

– Disgraced politician John Edwards, speaking about his faith in the criminal justice system, in an interview tied to the launch of his new plaintiffs’ firm. He’ll be joined at Edwards Kirby by his daughter, Cate Edwards, and his former law partner, David Kirby.

* Once again, Justice Ginsburg offers us some perspective on behind the scenes action at the Supreme Court. We bet you didn’t know that “Get over it” is one of Justice Scalia’s favorite expressions. [Politico]

* The chief justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court turned in his resignation papers on Friday, and rumor has it that the legendary Leo Strine will try to replace him. Best of luck, Chancellor! [Reuters]

* “I wasn’t looking for a job.” Paul Aguggia, the chairman of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, will step down to cash in as the CEO of a New Jersey bank where he served as outside counsel. [American Banker]

* This is what it’s like when bankruptcies collide: AMR Corp. is now disputing Dewey’s billables, including 1,646 hours of contractually prohibited work completed by first-year associates. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Bank of America is bleeding money in settlement payments. A $39 million payout in a Merrill Lynch gender bias case brings the total to about $200 million in under two weeks. [DealBook / New York Times]

* GW Law starts its dean search next month, and whoever takes the position needs to be good at raising funds, because the school has struggled in that department ever since Dean Berman left. [GW Hatchet]

* An Ivy League law professor tells us the third year of law school is a “crucial resource” to ensure lawyers are well-trained, so classes like “Understanding Obama” must be social imperatives. [Washington Post]

* It seems to me that the only jurors who might be influenced by the depiction of the legal system on Law & Order are the ones who were too dim to figure out how to get out of jury duty. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

Joe Francis

I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f–ing retarded and you should be euthanized because, as Darwin said, you have naturally selected yourself. You are the weakest members of the herd. Goodbye!

And if that jury wants to convict me because I didn’t show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot!

– Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, offering comment to the Hollywood Reporter on his recent false imprisonment conviction.

(We’ve got some video clips from that interview, and they are… well, there’s no real way to put it eloquently, so let’s just say they’re pretty f**king awesome.)

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I am not so sure if I would like to serve on a jury.

– A response generated by an artificial linguistic internet computer entity during an interview in response to whether the device, a program that simulates conversation, would ever go to jury duty. This interview was conducted because researchers are currently studying robots’ capability to gauge false testimony.

Casey Anthony: Who you gonna call?

It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since the verdict in the trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony. The acquittal of Casey Anthony, which generated strong emotional responses — hear, e.g., this 10-second voicemail — still fascinates, and infuriates, many people.

At least that’s what I concluded after attending a very interesting event at Pace Law School last night, a panel discussion on the Casey Anthony case (for which I received CLE credit, yay). The auditorium was packed, and the energy in the crowd — and on the stage, where the passionate panelists sparred with each other — was palpable.

It was fascinating to see Jeff Ashton, the lead prosecutor, and J. Cheney Mason, co-counsel for Casey Anthony (with Jose Baez), essentially re-argue the case. They were joined by a celebrated television jurist, Judge Alex Ferrer (aka Judge Alex), and a noted novelist and law professor, Thane Rosenbaum of Fordham Law School.

So what was discussed at the panel? If you’re looking for a quick primer on the Casey Anthony prosecution, so you can sound intelligent the next time your daytime-television-addicted aunt asks you about it at Thanksgiving, keep reading….

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'F**k this f**king sh*tty bonus!'

* “Our assets went home every night, until one night, they went home and never came back.” Aww, Dewey shed a tear for this bankrupt law firm? Nah. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* It looks like SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas decided to kiss and make up with his alma mater, Yale Law School. He’ll be the keynote speaker at an alumni dinner in D.C. this summer. [Reuters]

* And the marriage equality battle has finally arrived in Obama’s former stomping grounds. Lambda Legal and the ACLU are challenging the ban on gay marriage in Illinois. [Associated Press]

* The biggest news out of the John Edwards trial yesterday was that Judge Eagles told the alternate jurors they didn’t have to show up anymore. OMG, boring. Give us a verdict already. [ABC News]

* Kim Dotcom and his company’s defense against the DOJ’s charges is coming together piece by piece. If only Megaupload were a torrent site, this would be a much better nerd joke. [Media Decoder / New York Times]

* The ABA Journal wants to know if you curse in the workplace, and if so, in what situations. We bet that a fair share of Biglaw associates were dropping f-bombs left and right over this year’s bonuses. [ABA Journal]

Roger Clemens

Coffee is a critical tool of the American justice system.

Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, commenting on the need for jurors to have access to caffeine during trials. This topic arose after recent happenings in the Roger Clemens trial.

(What happened during Roger Clemens’s trial that would elicit such a response? Find out, after the jump.)

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What's the matter with you? Don't you get it?

After writing about enough jurors who get in trouble for posting about their cases online, one begins to feel like Tom Smykowski in Office Space, desperately and hopelessly trying to justify his job to the Bobs. It seems so simple, but no one seems to get it.

You can’t talk about the case on Facebook! Can’t you understand it? What is the hell is wrong with you people?!

This week, we have two more cases of idiot jurors in California and Colorado who simply could not resist going to Facebook to say, ironically, the same thing about the cases they were hearing.

What did they have to say? What kind of titillating trials were they supposed to decide while they were iPhoning instead? And more importantly, how did the attorneys in the cases respond?

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A game that nobody wants to play.

Even though serving on a jury is considered an important civic duty, people in this country seem to loathe the mere idea of being forced to do it. After all, because of jury duty, people have to miss work — hell, some people even get fired because of it.

And even though jury duty is something that is required by law, instead of just doing it, people would rather make jokes about others being too dumb to get out of it.

One judge in Indiana is well aware of that fact, and he’s on a mission to get people to serve willingly, lest they be forced to face some embarrassing consequences….

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