The New York Times is reporting that smartphones such as the iPhone are causing mistrials all over the country. Jurors are using sites like Google to search for more information as well as posting updates to social networking sites, forcing judges to take action.
As you may already know, jurors are asked not to do any outside research or communicate with others about a case outside of the courtroom. Smartphones have enabled jurors with the uncontrollable urge to delve deeper to do so within the confines of the jury room.
In some states, cellphones aren’t allowed in the courtroom, but are allowed in the jury rooms. It’s obvious that those rules need to be updated immediately to avoid any further issues.
It’s easy to understand why people feel the need to do such things, but we must resist those urges. Technology allows us to stay connected with each other for better or worse, and we must utilize these abilities to better society, not to cause mistrials. Just let this be a lesson to all of you, if you get called for jury duty someday, fight the urge and leave the iPhone at home.