Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1765002
 


 



Untangling the Web: How Courts Should Respond to Juries Using the Internet for Research


Gareth S. Lacy


University of Washington - School of Law

May 15, 2011

Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Vol. 1, p. 169, Spring 2011

Abstract:     
During trials jurors are increasingly using cell phones and other devices capable of accessing the Internet. Courts are responding by amending court rules to explicitly ban these devices. This Article identifies weaknesses in the arguments against allowing jurors to conduct outside research, including Internet research, during civil trials. This Article reviews the current justifications for prohibiting jurors from accessing outside information during trial and concludes these justifications do not outweigh the need to give jurors the tools necessary for evaluating the issues arising during increasingly complex trials. In particular, a review of the scientific literature on the effects of outside information and pre-trial publicity on jury decision-making shows that some concerns about outside Internet research may be unwarranted. The Article also discusses how the concerns raised by Internet research are similar to the issues involving outside research through traditional print sources such as newspapers, statutes, and encyclopedias.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: Pretrial Publicity, Jury Misconduct, Internet Use, Rules of Evidence, Extrajudicial Information, Outside Research

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Date posted: February 20, 2011 ; Last revised: July 2, 2014

Suggested Citation

Lacy, Gareth S., Untangling the Web: How Courts Should Respond to Juries Using the Internet for Research (May 15, 2011). Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Vol. 1, p. 169, Spring 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1765002

Contact Information

Gareth S. Lacy (Contact Author)
University of Washington - School of Law ( email )
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

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