Mike Masnik of the Techdirt blog asks why shouldn't jurors be allowed to do a little online research outside the courtroom. His view is since jurors come to the table with their outside experiences, biases and prejudices, what harm would it do to allow the smart ones to use a little technology to aid their decision-making.
Courts are increasingly looking to ban jurors from using any kind of technology. And yes, before we go through this again, we understand the arguments why courts do this (so no need to keep repeating it in the comments like last time). The question is does this really make sense?
So, if we can admit that jurors are always bringing outside information (in the form of their own life history and knowledge) into the court room, can't we at least begin to understand why there's an argument for letting smart jurors make use of technology to better understand the issues at play?
"You and each of you do solemnly swear that in the case of the State of Texas [against the defendant], you will a true verdict render according to the law and the evidence, so help you God."
Wrong argument Mike
Mike, I normally agree with a lot of what you write about. In this case I think you've gone the wrong way.
Juries are like an antiquated business model. Choosing 12 random people to make decisions that can affect the next 5-50 years of someone's life seems like a poor way to do things. I don't care so much about the tech they have access to so much as I care who these people actually are.
Shouldn't we think more along the lines of choosing professional juries? People who are experts in given fields and can make informed decisions about the evidence presented.
I just don't think choosing 12 people who were not bright enough to get out of jury duty is the best way to go about things.