A Tennessee murder trial was pretty much ruined when a juror recognized a witness and the two decided to chat it up on Facebook.
SocialMediaToday reports that the judge in the case instructed the jury not to talk to any witnesses, the defendant or attorneys, which is pretty normal. Still, one of the jurors sent a witness a handful of messages on Facebook after recognizing her through work.
“I thought you did a great job today on the witness stand….I was in the jury…not sure if you recognized me or not!” the juror wrote, according to CNN.
“I was thinking that was you. There is a risk of a mistrial if that gets out,” the witness replied.
“YOLO, amirite?” the juror wrote back. “But seriously let’s get lunch after I death penalty the defendant’s ass!”
Okay, we made that last one up. But still, the witness did the right thing and told the judge that she knew the juror and that the two had traded messages on Facebook. Regardless, the case moved on and the defendant was convicted of first degree murder. His attorney wanted a new trial because of the Facebook friends, but was denied.
But the state supreme court felt differently, and shamed the trial judge for not taking the communication between juror and witness more seriously and removing the juror in question from the trial.
Though the supreme court conceded that communications between jurors and third parties mustn’t necessarily lead to juror dismissal, a mistrial or a retrial, in this case, there wasn’t enough information to even determine how the communication even affected the procedures.
So in the end, the case was passed back to the trial judge for a hearing, which could definitely scuttle the conviction.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]