Thursday, September 2, 2010
Facebook Juror Update
"A Detroit-area woman who was removed from a jury for commenting about an ongoing case on Facebook has a longer writing task ahead: a five-page essay about the constitutional right to a fair trial. A judge ordered the essay Thursday for Hadley Jons, three weeks after she wrote on Facebook that it was 'gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY.' The trial, however, wasn't over.
'I'm sorry, very sorry,' Jons, 20, of Warren told Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski.
The post was discovered by the defense team Aug. 11 — before the defense had even started its case — and Jons was removed from the jury the next day. [Judge] Druzinski told Jons that it didn't matter whether she used Facebook to express an opinion or simply spoke to a friend about the case.
'You violated your oath. ... You had decided she was already guilty without hearing the other side,' the judge said.
By Oct. 1, Jons must submit an essay about the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and pay a $250 fine. Jons declined comment outside court. Her attorney, John Giancotti, said the outcome was appropriate. He declined further comment. Jons was a juror in a criminal case against Leann Etchison, who was charged with resisting arrest. She was eventually found guilty.
The Facebook post was found by Jaxon Goodman, the 17-year-old son of Etchison's defense lawyer. 'She'll think twice about how important being on a jury is,' Goodman said."
The one thing you might bear in mind, Facebook, Twitter and the other social networking forums have given defense attorneys a tool to look at suspected juror misconduct that did not exist previously. Great story. Good and appropriate outcome by Judge Druzinski.