Wednesday, March 25, 2009

mistrial for googling

When you're a juror, Googling to do research on the case you're hearing, or twittering, updating Facebook, your blog can lead to a mistrial according to a March 23rd National Post article "Google Mistrials' derail courts."

A couple of tidbits from the piece:

"We are so hooked on this instantaneous communication, we can't seem to drop it even for a short period of time in order to discharge a civic duty."

"He (Alan Young - law school prof) believes jurors go against judges' instructions more often than the legal community would like to think, at least partly due to modern society's addiction to constant communication and information consumption."

And this telling little paragraph:
"The law is not about truth-finding. It's about, ‘Can we convict this guy based on the rules of evidence?' " he said. "That's something that really has to be stressed over and over again" (bold mine).

I'm thinking rather than endangering all future court cases by maintaining the status quo, we'd be better off updating the judiciary to fit with our technology - oh yeah, and making the process less about semantics and more about convicting on the basis of truth (a novel concept indeed and - in Canada at least - one that may well net one the conviction of contempt of court.)


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