Juror Twittering in death case before Supreme Court | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Juror Twittering in death case before Supreme Court

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 12:17 PM

A-TWITTER: Twittering from a capital crime jury was debated by Supreme Court today.
  • A-TWITTER: Twittering from a capital crime jury was debated by Supreme Court today.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today heard oral arguments from Erickson Dimas-Martinez, appealing a death sentence for murder from Benton County. It would have been funny in spots, if not for the fact that it was a case of life and death.

A juror was caught sending out Twitter messages during the trial and during jury deliberations (including a notice to the press a verdict had been reached), despite a judge's warning about Internet communications, but the judge wouldn't remove the juror. Another juror also went to sleep, the defense attorney said. Apparently the judge noticed his dozing before defense attorneys did and twice sent him water to try to perk him up.

Thanks to the Supreme Court's new practice of livestreaming arguments — and archiving them — you can watch it all here.

At one point, a justice asked Assistant Attorney General Eileen Harrison, who was defending the conviction, if it would offend her if he started texting while she was making her argument. Chief Justice Jim Hannah suggested that communications from the jury box violated assurances of secret jury deliberations. She said the judge had given leeway for Twittering on limited purposes, such as time issues, but not about the case.

As for the juror's dozing: "Is it the state's position you can sleep a little bit, but not too much?" asked Justice Robert Brown. Harrison said the juror said he might have missed a little bit of testimony, "but not much." She contended the jurors' actions, including the Twittering of his "feelings," were not prejudicial to the outcome. She said a juror's dozing off for a couple of minutes during a long trial shouldn't undercut the outcome. The defense argued that a man was sentenced to die by a juror unfit to serve.

Decision on this could be interesting. Here's some more coverage of the hearing today.

Tags: , , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Suddenly, Rutledge is interested in state's terrible landlord-tenant law

    Crocodile tears from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on the state's terrible landlord-tenant law. Given a chance to do something meaningful about it before, however, she didn't.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • Reports filed on casino amendment

    Initial financial reports have been filed by groups pushing a casino expansion amendment and the major financial force so far is the Quapaw tribe of Oklahoma, which is in the casino business. Another Oklahoma tribe, a gambling machine organization and a Mississippi gambling enterprise also are listed.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • Re Trump: The Arkies say......

    Trump getting trashed for cozying up to Putin, from Fox News to John McCain. Now Arkansans are being heard from. Example from Sen. John Boozman: "Russia is not our friend."
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Re Trump: The Arkies say......

    • The state's congressional delegation has the collective backbone of a gnat. Seriously, when are they…

    • on July 16, 2018
  • Re: Re Trump: The Arkies say......

    • I think what guywhore is getting at is that Trump's long game has been imparted…

    • on July 16, 2018
  • Re: Re Trump: The Arkies say......

    • My bad someguywhore, I thought I read white christian, didn't know your mythology was jewish…

    • on July 16, 2018



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation