Michigan juror removed after Facebook post

The Daily Record Newswire

A Michigan juror was recently excused from service and fined after she posted a comment on Facebook that it was "gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY" - before the defense even started its case.

Twenty-year-old Hadley Jons was a member of the jury in the trial of Leann Etchison, who was accused of resisting arrest.

Jons was removed after the 17-year-old son of the defense attorney discovered the comment while researching jurors for his mother, according to the Daily Tribune article, "Juror ordered to write essay about Sixth Amendment for posting Facebook posting."

After an alternate was substituted for Jons, the jury convicted the defendant.

Jons appeared before presiding Judge Diane Druzinski on contempt charges.

Judge Druzinski fined Jons $250 and ordered her to write a five-page essay about the Sixth Amendment, due Oct. 1, admonishing her for violating her oath as a juror.

In addition to violating the state's instructions to jurors not to form or express an opinion until the case is submitted for a verdict, Jons ran afoul of a new rule implemented by the Michigan Supreme Court in September 2009.

That rule forbids jurors from obtaining or disclosing information about the case electronically when they are outside the courtroom.

Other states have also struggled with jurors' Internet use, including Indiana and Ohio, and the federal courts have recommended jury instructions that warn jurors against text messaging, tweeting or using other forms of social media to discuss cases.

Published: Thu, Sep 23, 2010