Social media has changed the way we receive news; we not only have access to all kinds of news from various media outlets, but we are also exposed to our friends’ and families’ opinions through social media. Recently, we have seen the emergence of social media’s affect within the judicial system. Public discussion about high profile cases isn’t new, however these discussions are now heavily influencing courts and jurors. This brief yet interesting interview from NPR highlights how social media is posing challenges in courtrooms.
The host inquires about a recent hearing of admitted Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, where victims shared their tragic stories. Tsarnaev’s defense wanted the case moved to another more un-biased city, yet the judge refused, stating that we live in a society that has access to all of the same information because of social media, so it is almost impossible to find an unprejudiced jury.
There have been similar scenarios in the news lately, for example the effect the ‘Serial’ podcast has had on Adnan Syed’s case. Similarly, HBO’s documentary series ‘The Jinx’ has reopened Robert Durst’s case. High profile cases such as these will likely continue to be brought into the public spotlight. In the article, Judge Randall suggests that a new set of rules will have to be set in place to handle the impact of social media on the judicial system.
How should the court handle the emergence of social media and its affect on jurors?
What are the pro’s and con’s of social media within the judicial system?