The Champion

March 2017 , Page 20 

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Juror Misconduct in the Age of Social Technology

By Joshua Dubin

Introduction

The U.S. Constitution and every state constitution guarantee criminal defendants the right to a trial by an “impartial jury.” Civil litigants are also afforded this important right through the Fifth and Seventh Amendments,1 as well as by state constitutions and statutes. Perhaps more than ever before, it has become increasingly challenging to safeguard this fundamental principle of democracy. The proliferation of the internet and the ubiquitous nature of smartphones mean that many prospective jurors enter courtrooms across the country having already been exposed to a tremendous amount of information either about the case itself or the subject matter it involves. The type of information to which they have been exposed is of particular concern: The veil of anonymity afforded by the internet and the sensationalized brand of “news” that has become the norm often translate into incendiary articles and commentary about the accused or the litigants. Moreover, the p

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