A Facebook post from a juror may overturn wrongful death verdict

A Facebook post from a juror may overturn wrongful death verdict

An overly social jury foreman started to talk to his friends about the trial on his public Facebook page. Now the verdict in a wrongful death case may be overturned. The juror posted comments revealing that he was the foreman and bragged about speedy deliberations.

“Yes, I was the jury foreman [sic]…Complete deliberations and verdict delivered in under one hour,” the foreman posted. “Civic duty fulfilled and justice served. Now, where is my cocktail????”

The case involved the death of Lindy Taylor. Ms. Taylor had presented to the hospital with a swollen left leg and was allegedly misdiagnosed, then developed brain damage and died. Ms. Taylor’s family brought suit against the medical providers who failed to properly diagnose her condition. The jurors returned a defense verdict in less than an hour. The family’s attorney is appealing its loss to the Court of Appeals claiming they did not get a fair trial as a result of the jury foreman’s Facebook posts.

Judges instruct jurors not to talk about the case. With the new age of social media, often judges will even go so far as to instruct jurors to not communicate about the case on their Facebook or other social websites.

Even if it is unethical for the juror to chat about trial on social networks that alone will not get the verdict thrown out. Prejudice has to be proven and that you were denied the right to an impartial juror. Looking at the friend’s responses to the posts made is more likely what will be of concern. It can show that the juror was influenced by outside parties.

Source: Lawyer.com. “Juror’s Facebook Posts May Overturn Wrongful Death Verdict” By Siliva Hsieh. February 14, 2013.

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