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May 15, 2012

A Double Dose in Boston

A Massachusetts Court of Appeals decision regarding juror use of social media during trial led me to be interviewed by the Boston Globe for a story that was published yesterday (May 14) and by WGBH on today's Emily Rooney show.

In the case, Commonwealth v. Werner, No. 11-P-368, 2012 WL 1503256 (Mass. App. May 2, 2012), the Massachusetts Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of new trial motion after a larceny conviction, when defense counsel discovered after trial that two jurors had posted messages on Facebook during jury selection.

The court upheld the denial even though Facebook had not responded to a request for all the jurors’ postings during trial when the trial judge denied the motion. The jurors had posted to Facebook despite the trial judge’s admonition against discussing or researching the case online, leading the appeals court to suggest that “[m]ore explicit instructions about the use of social media and the Internet may therefore be required.” Id.

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