Jurors use cellphones, give convicted murder a second chance at freedom

Jesse D. Lewin
J. Lewin|03.10.05

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Jesse D. Lewin
March 10th, 2005
Jurors use cellphones, give convicted murder a second chance at freedom image
Jurors use cellphones, give convicted murder a second chance at freedom image
Jury box

We've covered the social impact of cellphone use before, whether it be affecting the sanctity of the Mexican church or the movie theater or the roulette table. However, the convicted killer in Texas who is seeking a retrial because his jurors used their cellphones shortly after rendering judgment (allegedly to call family members) really takes the cake. Eleven out of the 12 jurors used their cellphones, and their bills have been subpoenaed. Maybe we've seen too much Law & Order lately, but it seems pretty clear that a personal communication device capable of private conversations and discreet text messaging would fly in the face of the concept of a sequestered jury.

UPDATE: OK, we weren't clear enough about what happened.  The jurors used their cellphones while in the deliberation room, before returning their verdict.  The judge then questioned the 11 jurors who had used their phones.  This series of events still begs the question, why was a sequestered jury allowed access to the outside world via their cellphones?

[via Textually.org]

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