Jurors on the Internet

The Internet provides all of us easy access to information, and it is no surprise to anyone that jurors are going there to get data during trials.

This article from MSN reveals that "Reuters Legal, using data from the Westlaw online research service, a Thomson Reuters business, compiled a tally of reported decisions in which judges granted a new trial, denied a request for a new trial, or overturned a verdict, in whole or in part, because of juror actions related to the Internet. The data show that since 1999, at least 90 verdicts have been the subject of challenges because of alleged Internet-related juror misconduct. More than half of the cases occurred in the last two years."

Here is recent post  about an effort of the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management of the United States Judicial Conference to develop pattern jury  instructions to address the increasing incidence of juror use of such devices as cellular telephones or computers to conduct research on the Internet or communicate with others about cases.