Somebody Poisoned the Jury Pool: Social Media's Effect on Jury Impartiality
Kristin R. Brown
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
February 21, 2012
Texas Wesleyan Law Review, Vol. 19, 2012, Forthcoming
The Sixth Amendment contains a guarantee to every criminal defendant, a trial by an impartial jury of his peers. This right has been declared a “fundamental right ” — one that is implicit within the concept of liberty and justice — and thus, made applicable to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, this right does not belong solely to the defendant; it also encompasses the goals and objectives of the prosecution and society as a whole. This mixture is even further diluted when one considers the First Amendment rights of “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Press,” and how pre-trial publicity, especially with the advance of Social Networking sites such as Facebook, affects the impartiality of the potential jury pool.
This Comment will address what impact social media has on the fundamental right to an impartial jury, and how that impact should be addressed, so that when a jury is seated we can best be assured that it is one free of bias, and able to make a decision regarding the guilt or innocence of the criminal defendant based solely on the evidence and testimony which is admitted at trial.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Jury, Impartial, impartiality, crime, criminal, defendant, Constitution, Sixth AmendmentAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 2, 2012 ; Last revised: October 12, 2012
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