Accounts of jurors doing Web research and using Twitter and other social networking tools has been much in the news recently. Deliberations’ Anne Reed has a nice summary of the buzz.
No one seems to know just what to do when jurors take to the Internet. Anne offers One Simple Rule When Jurors Go Online in another post over at the Wisconsin Law Journal.
In the March 2008 NIJ Journal (National Institute of Justice), felony trial judge Donald Shelton explores The ‘CSI Effect’: Does It Really Exist? Based on findings from a survey of jurors in Ann Arbor, Shelton concludes that it does not.
Many attorneys, judges, and journalists have claimed that watching television programs like CSI has caused jurors to wrongfully acquit guilty defendants when no scientific evidence has been presented. The mass media quickly picked up on these complaints. This so-called effect was promptly dubbed the “CSI effect,” laying much of the blame on the popular television series and its progeny….
Although CSI viewers had higher expectations for scientific evidence than non-CSI viewers, these expectations had little, if any, bearing on the respondents’ propensity to convict. This, we believe, is an important finding and seemingly very good news for our Nation’s criminal justice system: that is, differences in expectations about evidence did not translate into important differences in the willingness to convict.
Source: Library Boy
This morning, Anne Reed of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, SC appeared on Lake Effect, a program on Milwaukee’s public radio station WUWM. In the ten minute interview, Anne discusses the phenomenon of blogging jurors. Really interesting stuff.
In case you missed it, the interview is available on the Lake Effect Web site.
For more on how blogs and social networking sites have impacted jurors, see Anne’s blog, Deliberations.