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Could a Juror Facebook Post Change a Trial Result?

Many complain about jury duty. And in January 2016, a juror took this frustration about missing work to Facebook. At first, she wrote, “As if one day of jury duty wasn’t enough smh day 2 I’m soooo over it already!!!!” She followed up with “Lolol oh by the way this is goin n the fact that I gotta keep showin up theren missin work…just cz Ima vote guilty lol. #impetty #PettyLinda”

The defendant was found guilty of possessing a loaded weapon without a concealed carry license. The judge refused a motion for a new trial after finding the juror’s comments credible because it did not affect the verdict. A panel majority agreed with the lower court judge.

Justice Daniel J. Pierce wrote in an unpublished order that although the post was done in error, it was harmless. The post did not show any third party influence into her verdict.

However, Justice Carl Anthony Walker dissented. He argued that by allowing the jury verdict to stand it encourages distrust and skepticism into the judicial system. He urged the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt new standards and procedures regarding juror misconduct on the internet and social media.

The full text of the opinions can be found here: The People of the State of Illinois v Johnie Daily, 2018 IL App (1st) 160813-U

R.F. Wittmeyer

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