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Trials & Litigation

Definition of ‘premeditation’ elusive in jury instructions, so juror turns to cellphone and Google

Posted Feb 24, 2014 7:05 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Jurors in a Washington state murder trial were told repeatedly by the judge and the bailiff not to do their own research. There's even a sign on the jury room wall.

But one woman apparently didn't get the memo, and pulled out her cellphone to research the definition of "premeditation" when she couldn't immediately find it amongst the jury instructions for the Benton County Superior Court case, the Tri-City Herald reports.

Although what the unidentified woman found on Google was similar to what the jury instructions said, she was dismissed from the panel. Deliberations will now begin again with an alternate.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything wrong or hide it,” the erring juror told Judge Carrie Runge when she was called in for individual questioning prior to her dismissal. “I announced it to everybody.”

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