back to article Juror tweets could force retrial

A juror who published Twitter messages during the course of a trial has undermined the trial process and its verdict, lawyers have claimed while launching an appeal. The US juror told reporters he did not think posting the messages was wrong. An appeal has been lodged in an Arkansas court against a $12.6 million ruling against …


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  1. Simon Buttress
    Thumb Up

    OK, twit doesn't cover it....

    ...but perhaps twat does.

  2. General A. Annoying

    'Twit' doesn't quite cover it

    You simply replace the alphabet's 3rd vowel with the 1st.

    Hope they throw the book at the 'tw*t' for contempt.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Twit who Twitted!

    When they test people for Jury duty to see if they're suitable , they should be able to stop you from being a juror if they think you're an idiot!

    Things like this wouldn't happen then

  4. Charles King
    Thumb Down

    Typical desperate lawyers

    The appeal is garbage.

    Both of the tweets were posted *after* the jury handed in its verdict and completed its duties. Neither displays any evidence of this guy's state of mind at the time the jury were deliberating, but are expressions of his reactions *after the fact* at a time when he had completely disposed of his duties as a juror. If your article had mentioned any evidence of him researching or discussing the case *prior* to handing in the verdict, that would have been grounds, but you don't.

    As for the involvement of Twitter and your oh-so-witty 'Twit' comment - utterly irrelevant. It's no different to him talking to a reporter or going home and posting his reactions on a blog or forum. Last I heard, US citizens still have a right to free speech, and being a juror only means that right is curtailed during the trial, not after it.

    Shouldn't you guys at OUT-LAW *know this stuff*?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Twit who Twitted

    >they should be able to stop you from being a juror if they think you're an idiot!

    Unfortunately these are the kind of jurors lawyers, both defence and prosecution, like as they are the ones who can be more easily persuaded to agree with them as they have no mind of their own. In the end trials, especially high profile ones, boil down to the personalities of the legal teams, the team with the strongest personality generally wins.

    If you've ever seen a bunch of jurors being interviewed on Larry King you'll know how thick most of the ones selected are.

  6. Simon
    Thumb Down

    What's the problem?

    He obviously made those comments after the results were in. I don't see that he did anything wrong at all. It's just a desperate attempt to seek grounds for an appeal.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can't disagree that this man is a complete idiot who capitalises words for no apparent reason, but surely it's a bit ridiculous to force retrial because the juror revealed his bias. Does this mean the American legal system is happy for the jurors to be biased, as long as they don't reveal it?? I'm fine as long as they never see the swastika tattooed on my left buttock.

    Reminds me a little of the Simpsons episode where Homer joins the Naval Reserve ('oh for God's sake don't answer that question')

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    this is why I got my self removed from jury service here in the old UK, sent a laundry list of reasons I shouldn't be a juror back to the CPS, and they agreed, no jury service for me.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web 2.0 and the real world

    Are you given the same instructions by the judge in the US as the UK. Here in the UK you are under strict instructions not to disclose any of the details of the trial outside the court room while it is ongoing. If these instructions are given in the US how on earth did this twat think he was doing nothing wrong?

    Damn! I was going to try to get through this without using the word twat.

    Furthermore there is no doubt that those messages display a certain bias. Again, in the UK you will be instructed by the judge not to form any opinion until you have heard all the evidence. This pillock clearly did so.

    We see more and more stories that indicate a worrying trend. There is an increasing number of people who think that anything they do on the internet is some sort of game and not part of the real world. When will these dickheads learn that anything they "say" on the wibbly wobbly web is subject to the same rules as anything they say or write away from their virtual world?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did he 'tweet' (fuck I hate that term!) from the courtroom itself? Couldn't taking a mobile or PDA in with him, and in particular using it, be some sort of contempt of court charge?

  11. Dave

    So What?

    They accepted him in good faith, they have to live with the verdict.

    Revealing what happened in the court room is probably Contempt of Court, but I don't see that it affected the outcome.

    Different story if they could prove that he had received info during the trial, but no mention of that, so presumably not.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Peyton

    I love the moral of the story at the end

    If you think you've done something wrong... immediately go into hiding!

    In his defense, it's not like he's ever received any training in the legal process whatsoever... putting him on par with, well, every other juror out there :\

  14. Jamie

    Better course of action

    Hold the nitwit in question liable for all court costs for the original trial, including liars (oops lawyers fees), judges, and cost of food for the jury during the trial.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: OK, twit doesn't cover it....

    I suppose that to be strictly accurate here and make sense we'd need to get Twitter to change the name of the service to "Dickheader".

    I guess 'tw@" will have to do for now....

  16. Chris C

    Didn't think he broke the rules?

    How can this idiot NOT think he broke the rules? What part of "you're not allowed to discuss this case with anybody" did he not understand? Did he honestly think publishing information about the case would not be considered wrong if nobody spoke back to him? I may not like jury duty, and in my younger days I always hoped I wouldn't be picked for a jury (and luckily, I wasn't), but in theory at least, it's the best method we have. Unfortunately, people's rampant stupidity has turned it into little more than a mockery of justice. In cases like this, I think it should be declared a mistrial, and the offending juror should be charged with obstruction of justice and have to pay the full cost of the original trial (court costs, lawyer's time, everything). Maybe then jurors wouldn't be such idiots.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Proof that only people who do jury service and the ones too dumb to get out of it.

  18. Efros
    Thumb Down

    Pretty much

    sums up the state of the US legal system. Run for entertainment, and or profit.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @ The Twit who Twitted!

    In the UK courts there are no "tests" to be on the jury. You just have to be on the Electoral Resistor. (I've done it four times. In one case one juror wanted to find innocent a Smack Head caught with with half a kilo of Smack! I was the Foreperson, so seance prevailed!)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...but a jury trial is a trial by your peers, and since half your peers must (by definition) be below average (median) intelligence, then so should half the jury, and I would guess that at least one should be a total eejit !!!

  21. Dave

    @AC: The Twit who Twitted!

    But then they'd struggle to find jurors ;)

  22. Jamie Kitson


  23. EvilGav

    US Court

    Don't the legal team from both sides have to agree which jurors to have on the jury ? I seem to remember that from somewhere. In which case, the legal team (defence) agreed to have him and now they didn't get the verdict they wanted are looking for a way to call mis-trial, given the subsequent media attention this will garner, they can then claim that they cant get a neutral jury and can then claim to have the whole case thrown out.

  24. Hombre sin nombre

    RE: Twit who Twitted

    If they had a test that prevented idiots from jury duty, there'd be no one to do it because only idiots can't come up with a good excuse to not show up.

  25. Jonathan Richards
    Thumb Up

    Another victim of the spell chequer

    <quote AC:>In the UK courts there are no "tests" to be on the jury. You just have to be on the Electoral Resistor. (I've done it four times. In one case one juror wanted to find innocent a Smack Head caught with with half a kilo of Smack! I was the Foreperson, so seance prevailed!)</quote>

    The Electoral Resistor? Really? I thought it was the Voter's Variac.

    As for having a seance to determine a verdict, that's just genius! I salute you, Foreperson!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    yes, the twatter is/was an idiot, but...

    Apparently the rest of the jury voted against their client, too. So unless they judge can find that the idiot had undue influence over the rest of the jury, the decision should stand. Having seen single (moronic) jurors completely hang a jury, it's sometimes amazing that they come up with anything at all.

  27. Thomas
    Thumb Down


    One day people will begin to realise that the oh-so-annonymous comment you post on your Twitter feed or Failbook account THAT HAS YOUR NAME IN HUGE LETTERS OVER IT *will* eventually bite you in the ass...

    Twit-O-Tron strikes again!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't matter if he tw*tted after the verdict

    He has violated one of the rules of the jury system - all of the discussions of the jury and how they come to their verdict are supposed to be secret. Doing this causes grave problems when it comes to any appeal.

    Hopefully the court will consider this a contempt and the little tw*tter can be sent to somewhere where Big Earl wants to become his very special friend.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Juror's bias

    "Lawyers for the firm have said that the messages, or 'tweets', revealed the juror's bias."

    Of course all jurors are biased. [So say the 50% of Lawyers who lose].

  30. Eddie Johnson

    We need a new variant of Godwin's law

    We need a new variant of Godwin's law to apply to all these twits who keep equating everything to Bernard Madoff.

  31. kain preacher


    Don't the legal team from both sides have to agree which jurors to have on the jury

    You have been watching to much TV. You are limited to how many jurors you can get rid of with out cause. Once you reached that number you must show cause(give a valid legal reason), and you cant say it because you think he/she is bias. Its up to the judge what cause is .

  32. Daniel

    @Eddie Johnson

    Actually, I've already adopted a new version which basically goes "The first person to bring up Godwin's Law in any conversation should be ignored for all eternity,"

    It's more a rule of thumb, though - I'm willing to make occasional exceptions.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I twit therefore I....

    twat !

  34. Charles King
    Thumb Down

    @El Reg Readers - FAIL

    [quote]He has violated one of the rules of the jury system - all of the discussions of the jury and how they come to their verdict are supposed to be secret.[/quote]

    Except... he didn't. And jurors in the US are NOT subject to restrictions of speech after they have disposed with their duty to the court. This would be because the US has inconvenient Human Rights like Free Speech written into their constitution , unlike the primitive democracies of Europe.

    And the same goes for all the comments that ignorantly presupposed that he had Tweeted while he was still under jury restrictions. This article just goes to show how much the average El Reg reader needs to learn about basic human rights - {hint - acting like you're writing for the Daily Mail doesn't cut the mustard}.

    I think this article takes the cake for an example of how an ignorant public which thinks itself clever can be enticed into betraying its basic authoritarian desires. El Reg readers: this was really pathetic, you need to hang your heads in shame.

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