Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two More Cases Where Wikipedia Is Source Sought by Disobedient Jurors, Causing Vacated Convictions; Foreperson Held in Contempt

An alert bailiff discovered in a jury deliberation room printed information from Wikipedia obtained by the jury foreman and shared with fellow jurors.  A new trial has been granted to the convicted defendant.
Here is the link:

The judge noted that the definitions obtained by the foreman were not accurate, that the foreman exhibited no malice, and was simply trying to be helpful.  This is consistent with other juror misconduct cases where the miscreants claim to just want to do a good job and had not been provided the necessary information by the judges and lawyers.

The history of Wikipedia as, in essence, a dictionary, and an unreliable source for legal terms is recounted in a federal appeals decision (46 pages) with convictions vacated:

Finally, a foreperson who conducted independent research in violation of the judge's admonitions was found in contempt and fined $500.  Link:

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