Juror fined $11,227 after googling ICE officer's peculiar uniform patch

Originally published at: Juror fined $11,227 after googling ICE officer's peculiar uniform patch | Boing Boing


I was a court reporter for years and if there’s one thing I recommend to y’all more than not doing crimes and not talking to cops it is this: avoid serving on juries.

It’s really the only civic obligation we have, though. Seems a shame to avoid even that one small obligation.


I’m Googling it right now!

In any other situation, I’d sneer at the idea that a simple Google search is somehow “research”.


I was on a jury a few years ago, and I was very impressed by our group, we were a good demographic cross-section of my community, and everyone was thoughtful and serious about our task.

I don’t know that anyone thought it was especially noble, the ugliness of how the defendant got into things was evident, but we were not in a position to fix that. We were there to make a finding of fact about evidence that had been presented to us, and that’s what we did.

For the larger issues, I do donations and advocacy.


The fine was based on the cost of the trial that has to be declared a mistrial. Seems fair to me. The jury was repeatedly told not to research the case, but he did so anyway and poisoned the jury by discussing it,


Yes. It is an attorney’s job to create unfair bias and muddy the waters with material outside the circumstances of the crime. Let’s leave this to the professionals.


Yeah, the prosecutors were knowingly lying to the court, but it’s the defendant’s lawyer’s job to point that out.


Could the juror have asked more about the veracity of the patch? Or would the question be the kind of thing that would be ignored?


It’s not small, but it is an obligation. It’s the state obliging you to participate in a coercive exercise that is fairly likely to end with an injustice on your conscience for the rest of your life.


That’s definitely how he should have done it. It surely wouldn’t have been ignored, it would at least be explained to him “why not”, and he could always dig his heels in during deliberations if he felt it hadn’t been properly addressed.


Do you think it fair that you should pay the costs, say, of your own incarceration if you are convicted of a crime? Should children who graduate high school be presented with the debt for their education? These are both things that have been attempted; a civilized country doesn’t charge citizens for the compulsory functions of government. If the fine for the cost of the mistrial seems appropriate to you, consider why it has rarely (never, even?) been applied before.


I think your last bit of advice is akin to telling people not to vote. If decent people won’t do their civic duty, less than decent people are more than happy to call the shots.


Or I can shoulder that one small [and honestly it is small, relatively speaking–a few hours, days, or in rare cases weeks out of my life] obligation and do my damnedest to prevent the injustice instead of leaving it to some schlub who’s willing to go along.


“But we don’t know what the patch was, or who said what about it: it is all speculation.”

Then why write and publish it?


The nature of the civil duty is quite different! For example, voting won’t result in an innocent person being executed.

(Not directly, anyway)


Yup. Then ICE would show up to his house 8 weekends a month to “conduct searches” for illegal immigrants on his property. And if he does anything but agree and kiss their feet they’ll kill him and make it look like he was hiding 40 mexicans up his ass.


Yeah i looked it up online and i do believe you’re correct. Jurors can ask questions, but based on this Reddit thread there does seem to be some variance on what’s allowed from state to state


I may be wrong (IANAL), but my understanding is that jurors can ask questions about court procedures and the letter of the law, but not the actual facts of a case beyond what has been presented by the prosecution and the defense. Jurors are definitely not allowed to introduce new evidence, and I remember reading a story where a juror caused some trouble (I don’t believe this juror was punished, though) for pointing out that the court interpreter had misinterpreted something that a witness had said in Spanish. The juror spoke Spanish and so brought to the attention of the other jurors what the witness had said, which differed from what was in the court record. I think that it resulted in a mistrial in that case, but my memory could be fuzzy.


Remember to keep your mouth shut about that idea until it’s too late to stop you!


Then – though it was sequestered for three days without ‘meat, drink, fire and tobacco,’ or ‘so much as a chamber pot, if desired’ – it refused to change its mind.

OK, ok, ok. Hang 'em.


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