Friday, January 31, 2014

Entire Jury Pool Discharged After Juror Google-searches Defendant

In April 2013 in Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Omega Flex , a juror Googled the name of the defendant and shared with other jurors that defendant had a $10 million verdict against it in another case.  It was actually $1 million.  The judge and counsel voir dired several jurors at the bench within sight of the panel.  On defense motion, a magistrate discharged the whole jury pool.  This and other cases lead me to conclude that a formal hearing in which each juror potentially tainted is questioned should be conducted out of the hearing of the other jurors.  An informal bench conference is inadequate.  Rushing to get a jury impaneled without a formal hearing is bad practice.

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