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Law Prof Turns in Blogging Jury Foreman

Posted Oct 18, 2010 6:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Do a jury foreman’s blog posts about his frustrations with a civil case cross the line? The University of Texas law professor who turned in the juror thinks so, but the judge and lawyers in the case disagreed.

The Queens jury ruled Friday for the defendants, a father and son who had been accused of assaulting a neighbor, the New York Times reports. The blogging juror, Bruce Slutsky, told the Times he did nothing wrong. “I didn’t blog about the actual case, just about the jury process,” he said. “I specifically said in my blog that I’m not allowed to talk about the case.”

But University of Texas law professor John Clark questioned the propriety of the online observations. He points to one blog entry about a cross-examination entitled “Stop Repeating Yourselves Already!”

The blog post said: “It was really annoying when the witness got the same question over and over. This is very annoying. In my opinion much of the evidence that [was] shown is not relevant to the jury's ultimate decision of liability.”

Clark says the blog post indicates Slutsky may have violated instructions to keep an open mind. “He’s actually kind of telling what he’s thinking, and the jury hasn’t even begun deliberating yet,” he told the Times.

Clark had found the blog when he was researching juror behavior.

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