For those of you who never served as a juror, one of the first things that the judge instructs the jury on is not to look at any media. This includes Social Media. However, this is not always taken seriously, as was the events during the El Chapo case. It is serious enough where it could have cost prosecutors the case.
It was reported that five Jurors routinely went to Twitter for updates in the case from various journalists. According to Vice News , “The juror also shared details of the deliberations, the extraordinary security precautions that were in place, and the jury’s views on Chapo, his lawyers, the prosecution, and several key witnesses.”
USA Today reports, “The violations enabled jurors to get details about prejudicial material that was not submitted in evidence — including a former henchman’s claim that Guzmán drugged and raped young girls, plus news reports that one of the defense lawyers allegedly had an adulterous affair with a former client, the attorneys argued.”To make matters worse, Jurors lied to the court on a few occasions.
One way to overcome this kind of thing from happening in the future is by way of geofencing. A geofence is a virtual fence that is placed around a specific geographical area and “fences in” all publicly available posts in social media. This could have easily halted the situation before it got out of control.
Utilizing this service before, during and a few weeks after the case is more important than ever given world we now live in. Every single day people of all races, religions, ages use social media in one way or another and they share just about everything!
“Attorneys for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman said the convicted drug kingpin will seek a new trial in light of an interview in which one of the jurors who convicted the notorious Mexican cartel leader admitted ignoring the judge’s orders not to read media reports about the case.” (source: Washington Post)