Blago and Bonds Judges Say Social Media Made Them Hide Jurors’ Identities

Panelists stay anonymous to prevent contact from online friends during trial.

Concerned that mid-trial technology use is tainting the jury—and jeopardizing litigants’ rights to a fair trial—judges are conflicted about how to prevent Internet-related misconduct.

Some courts confiscate all digital devices and issue somewhat unenforceable rules restricting forms of online communication. But in two recent high-profile cases—the Rod Blagojevich political corruption trial and the Barry Bonds perjury trial—judges have sought to preserve jurors’ impartial views even further by concealing panelists’ identities until the trial is over. The strategy seeks to cut off unsolicited questions and comments from the media and online friends.

Ashley Post

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