Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 24

particularly when combined with new technologies such as smart phones and tablets with web- browsing capabilities, provide jurors with a new avenue to conduct research on the defendant or the case, and to communicate trial-related material before deliberations are complete; [all] of which violate a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right.” 2 The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution provide guarantees that a defendant will be treated fairly when prosecuted for a crime. 3 The Sixth Amendment accentuates those guarantees. 4 It mandates that a juror’s decision on guilt must be based solely on the evidence presented during the course of a trial. 5 In addition, it requires that jurors adhere to the admonishments of the court. Now, more than ever, it has become increasingly difficult for the court to exercise control over juror use of the Internet and the information to which they are exposed. The Internet provides them with a venue for unauthorized communication of their thoughts and ideas with people all over the world. Conversely, they are open to receipt of others’ opinions as well. This creates a serious threat to the jurors’ ability to judge a case without outside influences. “Modern jurors’ online and mobile activity exposes them to outside information that could influence the outcome of a case.” 6 They must, therefore, refrain from forging their own investigation and seeking external information on the case they are hearing and avoid using the Internet to read or communicate about it as well. “Social networking by jurors during trial (whether at the courthouse or at home) carries with it a dangerous potential to undermine the fundamental fairness of trial proceedings.” 7 Juror noncompliance of court mandates against the use of technology can lead to the violation of a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial. Sixth Amendment concerns regarding Internet misconduct focuses on jurors’ access to external information on the Internet as well as their use of social media to communicate about the trial as it proceeds. Advancements in technology enable individuals the ability to tweet, blog, text, e-mail, phone, and look up facts and information during breaks, at home, or even in the jury 2 Marcy Zora, The Real Social Network: How Jurors' Use of Social Media and Smart Phones Affects a Defendant's Sixth Amendment Rights, 2012 U. Ill. L. Rev. 577, 577 (2012). 3 U.S. Const. amends. V & XIV, §1. 4 U.S. Const. amend. VI. 5 Mark J. Geragos, Symposium: Celebrity Prosecutions: The Thirteenth Juror: Media Coverage Of Supersized Trials, 39 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1167, 1170 (2006). 6 Nathan L. Hecht, Juries and Technology: Revised Texas Civil Jury Instructions Include Warnings About The Internet and Social Media, 60 The Advoc. 50, 50 (2012). 7 Hon. Amy J. St. Eve and Michael A. Zuckerman, Ensuring an Impartial Jury in the Age of Social Media, 11 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 1, 9 (2012). 19