I had the honor of speaking today at the Wisconsin Public Defender Conference, which continues tomorrow. One topic we touched on was jurors writing on line. It was timely, since Florida lawyer Robert Kelley had just written about Erin the blogging juror, whose September 28 post was titled "i will eat your babies, bitch!" and whose next post on October 3 was titled "I AM A JUROR."
Kelley's post didn't criticize Erin, but she didn't like it, or the attention her blog got from it. So she wrote another post on Tuesday. It's worth reading. Notice whether her language makes you uncomfortable, and whether you see intelligence under that. See if her questions resonate with you. Do you agree when she says that if we start striking every juror with an Internet presence, we'll be left entirely without young jurors? Here it is:
dear members of the florida bar: welcome to my shitty blogjury duty. i actually did have it that was one of the things i wrote on this blog of lies that was actually true. anyway according to the florida bar i am what is wrong with juries today or something. and i guess the solution to the problem that is me is to select out jurors who have blogs or myspace or facebook or whatever. okay i didn't write my thesis on psychometrics or anything (yes i did) but i bet if you dismissed every potential juror with some type of internet presence you would end up with range restriction galore. EVERYBODY UNDER THIRTY IS ON THE INTERNET. those are my peers. please don't shatter my dreams of commiting a horrible crime and being judged by a jury of my peers. not that the people on the jury i served on were actually my peers. THERE WAS A WOMAN ON THE JURY WHO COULD NOT READ. i don't think i've ever met anybody who couldn't read in my entire life. thank god the constitution doesn't actually guarantee a defendant that his case will be heard by a jury of his peers because that would be a huge lie. i think what it guarantees is an impartial jury which is also a huge lie. i didn't actually serve on a capital punishment case, that was a joke. i wouldn't even be allowed to serve on a capital punishment case because i don't necessarily agree with the death penalty. i've never done a study on death qualified juries but i'm pretty sure the american psychological association did and determined that they are more likely to convict in general. THAT IS LIKE THE OPPOSITE OF IMPARTIAL. i don't believe our legislative system is breaching our constitutional rights and a bunch of lawyers in florida are freaking out because i mentioned on my stupid blog that nobody reads that i was selected to serve on a jury and i didn't even divulge any information about the case. i mean jesus bob kelly, weren't your friends in florida executing retards until like a year ago? and you don't like me because i say "fuck" alot? this is truly a dumb ass world we are living in.
A juror's blog tells you things about the juror that she probably won't tell you herself; but the fact that there is a blog doesn't make your strike decision for you. Robert Kelley is right that you'd hate to leave Erin on your jury without having seen her writing. And Erin is right that lawyers shouldn't reject blogging jurors out of hand, even those whose writing is as lavishly angry as hers is. You'd strike her in many trials, yes. But in the right trial, she might be the juror you need.
(Photo by Wesley Fryer at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/503600331/; license details there.)