Step Away From The Internet: Why You Should Never Do Online Research As A Juror

Posted on: 4 May 2018

It is a civic duty and an honor to serve as a juror in a court of law. If you have never been a juror before, it is important that you understand the level of objectivity you need to have when making these important decisions that will affect the lives of other people. One problem that many jurors face is using the internet while they are serving on a jury. Some cases are very strict and will prohibit you going online at all during the case. Others are not as strict, but there are some rules you have to follow. The following are some things you will need to know about internet use while you are a juror:

You May Not Research the Case

When you are serving as a juror, you cannot do any sort of online research about the case. You will be told upon jury selection that you may not read anything about the case in newspapers, watch any news regarding the case, or go online and search about the case. Because of the ease of getting internet access, one would think it would be easy to sneak and check things online. This is a big no-no.

The only thing you can take into consideration when making a decision is what you hear in the court room. Doing online research can cause you to lose objectivity when making a decision. You could accidentally stumble on a biased site that is not providing the full story or all the pertinent information. You could then pre-judge before you even hear all of the information in court. This can have serious ramifications.

Consequences if You Are Caught Doing Online Research

If you are discovered using the internet to research your case, or for any other purpose in instances where it is prohibited, there are several different things that can happen. You could receive a warning and told to stop using the internet. You could be made to turn in all of your devices until the case is over. You could possibly face contempt of court charges and pay fines or even go to jail. The worst thing that can happen is that the case has to be declared a mistrial because you introduced potentially false information into the jury pool. The case would then have to start completely over with new jurors. This results in a lot of wasted time and money by all involved.