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Juror and Jury Use of New Media: A Baseline Exploration

NCJ Number
240001
Author(s)
Paula Hannaford-Agor; David B. Rottman; Nicole L. Waters
Date Published
2012
Length
16 pages
Annotation
This study by the National Center for Court Statistics examined the use of social media by jurors and juries in civil and criminal trials.
Abstract
This pilot study was conducted by the National Center for Court Statistics to determine the use of social media by jurors and juries in civil and criminal trials. Findings from the study show that more than half of the judges who participated in the survey considered independent research by jurors and juror communication with outsiders to be a problem rated at a level 4 or 5 out of a score of 1 (not severe) to 7 (very severe), and attorneys believed the use of new media by jurors to be moderately severe, 4.7 out of 7. In addition, the jurors had daily, if not immediate, access to a variety of Internet-based communication devices and computers. The findings also show that the judges reported admonishing prospective jurors about the use of the Internet for independent research and that the majority of jurors responded positively to the instructions. Data for the study were obtained from surveys completed by judges, attorneys, and jurors following the completion of civil and criminal trials. The data revealed that while jurors reported the desire to use the Internet to obtain information pertinent to the trial, it was unclear whether jurors or alternates accurately represented their actual use of the Internet and social media during the trial. The findings reveal the need for further research into the use of social media by jurors and juries in civil and criminal trials. Appendix and references

Date Published: January 1, 2012