A Reminder: Don’t Text When You’re On A Jury

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500How’s this for some glorious symmetry: our very first post on IT-Lex, back in June, concerned jurors’ use of social media. This happens to be our 500th post – hold for applause – and it, too involves a juror who happened to get a little too gadget-reliant while on duty. This time, the 26-year-old juror wound up finding himself leaving the courthouse alongside the accused armed robber whose case he had been chosen to sit on.

The Oregonian reports:

 The judge gave the standard jury instructions, explaining that the trial would last three to four days. He asked jurors to pay close attention to the witnesses and evidence.

He also told jurors — more than once, Thomson said — that the use of cell phones was a strict no-no.

During testimony by a Salem police officer the courtroom lights were dimmed so jurors could watch a surveillance video. That’s when Judge Graves noticed a glowing light reflecting off [Ben] Kohler’s chest.

Judge Graves called a recess, sent all the other jurors out, and found Kohler in to be in contempt of court. He was sent to county jail for two days. C|Net quoted an interview with one of Kohler’s co-workers, who said:

“We’re all laughing … because it’s so Ben-ish. Ben is one of those kind of young people that doesn’t learn real fast; like ‘oh, that doesn’t apply to me.’”

For his part, Kohler said that the punishment was too harsh – in a text, of course.

We know that readers of IT-Lex are smarter than this. If you’ve learned nothing else from our (first) 500 articles, remember to always keep the phone off while in the courtroom.

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