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Twitter: Juror tweets leading to Jury twubble.


jail_prisonFollowing on from our discussions re:  the law and legal system being inflexible and unable to cope with how humans interact in online communities and social media sites.

A juror who used Twitter to communicate his disapproval of the plantiff in a civil case has provoked an argument that could lead to a mistrial.

Russell Wright’s construction company Stoam Holdings recently lost a $12 million dollar lawsuit brought by investors. But lawyers for the firm are arguing that juror Johnathan Powell’s Twitter updates broke the rules prohibiting jurors from discussing such cases with the public.

However, Powell insists he didn’t make any pertinent updates until after the verdict, and that he didn’t read any replies.

I’m surprised jurors were allowed to take mobile devices into court in the first place: I suspect they may not be in future… Via Slashdot.

(from Popgadget)

And thus it starts.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

14 thoughts on “Twitter: Juror tweets leading to Jury twubble.

  1. Twitter: Juror tweets leading to Jury twubble.
    :
    Following on from our discussions re:  the law and legal sys.. http://tinyurl.com/c2u9nq

  2. Actually, if anything, this case proves my point. The law doesn’t need to be flexible in this situation and is certainly able to cope. What will happen, if it results in a mistrial, (which I doubt – sounds too much like a beat up by the defence for an appeal) is that the law will become more restrictive over the use of mobile devices and social networking. In no way will the law change to say that this kind of behaviour is acceptable within the legal process. In fact, the juror could be on sticky ground legally if the tweeting is shown to have had an impact on the trial.

    You seem to think the law is at fault for trying to protect it’s own power to return a fair judgement when the threat comes from ill-considered use of media by very silly people (deliberately or out of ignorance). Whether it is ignorance, human behaviour or silliness, the law will find a way to restrict this threat in the future.

    Just as hunan behaviour sees us all wanting to speed to get to our destination faster doesn’t mean the law shouldn’t impose speed limits. Doesn’t stop speeding, but it sure reduces it and also imposes fines on those that do.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Writing About Writing

    1. *sighs* you really don’t step outside the mindset that the law in the 21st century is correct do you Kimota? Think on this. For centuries and centuries, human beings have discussed law cases ad infinitum. Then in the last hundred years we *changed* human behaviour. And now human behaviour is changing back. The Law is not above the community, it serves the community. And what you call a “mistrial” and “inappropriate behaviour” I say is unimportant.
      Get a jury, make sure they have a brain, make sure they are not unduly impressionable souls, open to any interpretation and done! Forget trying to legislate a very human response.

      Seriously, Kimota, figure out why discussing a court case causes a mistrial today, but didn’t over the history of humanity, decide if you agree with it, and then come back to debate. *waves cheekily* now go.

  3. There’s actually two issues here…
    1) did he ‘discuss’ the verdict while the trial was in progress – i.e. did he tweet from the Juror room ?

    2) By mentioning the defendant, he may have (deliberately or not) been in a position to influence stock prices.

    Just as if he’d passed it on verbally or in any other written form, it is all in the timing. During the trial – BAD news for him. After the trial – he’s safe.

    martin english’s last blog post..martin_english: RT @canberratimes: Pac Brands chief blames consumers for job cuts: http://tinyurl.com/crjl3k <– true, but what do manuf. workers do ?

    1. yeah another weird law – keep stock holders in the dark until the last possible minute. Like we are all sheep, reacting disproportionately to rumours.

      1. Actually, no. Avoiding spreading rumour until fact (guilt or innocence) is established. Hardly a weird law and it does more to protect shareholders by having informed trading rather than panic buying or selling based in incorrect info.

        Kimota’s last blog post..Writing About Writing

        1. What panic? You speak in theories. You sell a lot of stock based on a blog post hmmm? You buy stock based on rumour, rather than fact? Sheer idiocy.

          Kimota you work from the premise that the law must be right, that capitalism would crash if we discussed dealings honestly rather than hiding behind the law. Maybe you are right and maybe that is the heart of capitalism, it won’t survive social media in that case.

          Try and take a few of more than a few years ok?

          1. If you don’t believe in panic-selling based on rumour, you haven’t watched the news for the last six months.

            You acknowledge in your response above that an tweet from the courtroom could affect stock price because you argue that it’s a weird law to keep shareholders uninformed.

            If you want fair reporting of events in a courtroom of public interest to shareholders – that’s what the journos are in the room for. The juror has nothing to do with it except keeping an unbiased and focussed view on the evidence at hand.

            And for the record, I’m as socialist as they come. I’m all for honesty in business just as I’m for continual evolution in the law. But the law won’t change just because someone wants to tweet out of turn and this argument isn’t about honesty in capitalism – far from it. It’s about protecting the validity of unbiased information from outside influences. It is just because we DON’T want rumour in our court rooms that a juror shouldn’t be tweeting – got nothing to do with honesty in business.

            Kimota’s last blog post..Writing About Writing

  4. You mean the centuries where people could be tried and burned as a witch on the hearsay of the community? Or the centuries where the right to appeal wasn’t even available? Or the centuries where the truth was less potent in a court room than community feeling?

    And you think the developments of the last hundred or so years within our legal process are a bad thing and should be rolled back to allow people the right to tweet?

    I know where I’d put my money… 😉

    Kimota’s last blog post..Writing About Writing

    1. Oh we have a few furphys of our own. Courts that uphold the rights of the mother to keep the children, keep the house, keep the money but deny access to fathers. Every law reflects it’s society – in the Middle East, it’s shameful that women are made to go to work by their fathers and husbands in the west. Your “developments” are still reflecting society, not some pure ‘right and wrong’.

  5. Ok try this one. The law interferes in the due process of commerce by trying to block discussions it deems as interfering with it’s own case, thereby removing relevant and vital information required by business people the world over to undertake informed decisions re: trade and commerce.

    Twitter fixes unfair limitations placed on commerce by an archaic and unfair law.

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