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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Deliberations Blog takes on Issues of Jurors who Blog

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Anne Reed’s Deliberations Blog has a fascinating account of the Bad Blogging Juror in People v. McNeely. Apparently Juror No. 8 in a 2006 California burglary trial lied about being an attorney in voir dire and then proceeded to blog about his rather heavy-handed attempts to manipulate his fellow-jurors into a quick conviction.

[F]or the next hour-and-a-half, the jury in the People v. Donald the Duck slowly congealed into a rational, investigative body of folks who ultimately realized that stealing was wrong, and that we ought to act responsibly. All, that is, except for Brad, the confident, muscular skinhead character with a carefully shaven goatee sitting directly at the head of the table, to my right. This cocky young fellow I had unease about since seeing him lope down the hallway on day one. He had stared at me for just a second or two too long when he first saw me, expecting some sort of acknowledgment to his presence from another white guy.

Anne Reed’s Deliberations: Blogging Jurors, Part I: The Bad (Or, The Burglary Trial As Legal Thriller), Blogging Jurors, Part II: Some Relevant Law

The Black Box of the Law

I’m utterly fascinated by the decision-making process of juries. I witnessed for a mock trial of the summer associates at Baker Botts last year. By far the best part was watching the jurors deliberate through closed circuit television at the close of the case. It was tried by five different groups in front of five different juries – 3 went for defendant, 2 for plaintiff. As we watched the deliberations in our case, the first words uttered were “So, how much do we want to give him?”

Last fall, I participated in a great program through the Houston Bar Association that has 8th graders from schools all over Houston participate put on a mock trial held in the actual Harris County Civil Courtroom. One of my duties was to escort the jury (all 8th graders as well) to the deliberation room and wait for them to reach a verdict. I watched an 11-1 “guilty” vote gradually turn to a unanimous “not guilty” as the lone holdout gave his rationale and won the rest of the jurors over to his side.

Black box indeed.

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