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Jesse Brown: Trial by Jury is broken.

A recent federal drug case in Florida became a mistrial when it was revealed that 8 of the 12 jurors had been researching it online, against court orders. Other instances of the same are popping up.

This is a big threat to the whole idea of trial by jury. From the Times piece:

…the rules of evidence, developed over hundreds of years of jurisprudence, are there to ensure that the facts that go before a jury have been subjected to scrutiny and challenge from both sides…

Sounds good to me. But I have to ask: how can the courts possibly control this?

Some judges ban cellphones and PDAs in the courtroom, but once court’s out of session, Google’s waiting. Short of sequestering each and every jury in wireless hotel rooms (an expensive proposition that makes jury duty sound like prison) it seems that this is just another old system that the internet has broken.

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