Morning News: Twittering Juror Prompts Request for New Trial



Update IV: The Morning News’ Christopher Spencer, who broke the story, follows up here40/29 TV in northwest Arkansas talks to Powell (vide0)Attorney Drew Ledbetter and Powell talk to KNWA-TV in northwest Arkansas about the case (video)KFSM-TV’s story hereThe Democrat-Gazette catches up here, with info on how the tweets were discovered

Update III: Spencer has updated his story, which has since been picked up by the AP, with new information in the aftermath of Powell’s delayed meeting with the judge. Meanwhile, the Fayetteville Flyer has published its interview with Powell, who says he wasn’t trying to shake up the legal system with all this crazy Twitterin’.

FF: When you wrote the above messages, did you even consider that any of this might happen?
JP: Not at all. I paid very close attention at the trial and followed all of their rules. I even took like twenty pages of notes! I was not trying to shake up the system here. I was just doing what I do every day.

Also: We asked when Johnathan might get his own hashtag. Ask and ye shall receive. Kudos to @abartlett for setting up #tweetjuror

Update II: Powell is back from the courthouse. He says the judge wouldn’t see him without all lawyers involved present. Also:Bailiff to Judge’s Assistant, ‘This is the one who…tweets.'”

Update: The Associated Press picks up the story

Original Item:

Twitter, quite possibly the Best Thing in the World or maybe the most inane (depends!) is now affecting our judicial system! This, according to this story from The Morning News by Christopher Spencer, himself a Twitterer:

FAYETTEVILLE — A defendant who must cough up $12.6 million in a civil suit asked for a new trial Thursday because a juror used Twitter to talk about the case during the proceedings.

The juror — identified as “Juror Jonathan” — was not a fair and impartial juror and did not abide by the oath administered to him by the court. He researched information about the case and communicated with nonjury members, allege defendants Russell Wright and Stoam Holdings.

A new trial is warranted, the motion states. The motion was filed by attorney Drew Ledbetter of Fayetteville.

“Oh and nobody buy Stoam. Its bad mojo and they’ll probably cease to Exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter.” the juror posted from his Twitter account during the trial, according to the motion.

The juror in question is Johnathan Powell. You can follow him here, where he’s linked to The Morning News story. We see from this update that he’s apparently got a date with the judge this morning.

Surely, he and the judge will discuss some of the offending (illegal?) Tweets, which we display after the jump.

A day in jail for each character? Hope not.

A day in jail for each character? Hope not.

Some of Powell’s tweets on the case:

• “trying to learn about Jury duty for tomorrow, but all searches lead me to Suggestions for getting out if it, instead of rocking it”

• “I guess Im early. Two Angry Men just wont do”

• “So Jonathan, what did you do today? Oh nothing really, I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of somebody else’s money”

Oh, if only all of us approached jury duty with such an enthusiasm and sense of civic duty. And hey — that “two angry men” item? Gold.

Ah, Twitter. You may never make money, but you’ve given us so many good times.


Powell’s Mom, also on Twitter

More Arkansas Twitterers, many not in legal trouble, at our Arkansas Twitter Guide

Judge lets reporter Twitter from the federal courtroom – CBS


10 Responses

  1. […] From Lance Turner’s blog.  A twittering juror in Washington County may prompt a new trial. […]

  2. […] Twitter Stupidity: Defendant on the losing end of a $12.6 million judgment wants retrial because an idiot juror broadcast his thoughts about the trial on Twitter. Of course. (Lance Turner’s Unimaginatively Titled […]

  3. […] This story just keeps getting better each time I read it, here’s a link to some more info on Lance Turner’s blog.  What a great story to wrap up the week […]

  4. […] [Update 4: Lance Turner’s ALL over it.] […]

  5. […] misconduct by Twittering about the trial. Lance Turner has been maintaining an extremely thorough article on the case. One of the juror’s allegedly improper tweets includes: So Jonathan, what did you do today? […]

  6. @jdoe I’m not the one veiled in anonymity, going out of my way to call someone that I don’t know an idiot.

    I didn’t do anything wrong here. He was found guilty before I even saw the case. Our trial was just to determine damages. On top of that, my comments about him were made AFTER the verdict had been read. That’s allowed.

    This whole thing was a big stink over nothing.

    • Yeah, that’s not nice.

      I’m all about expressing opinion, but personal attacks aren’t cool. I’ve removed the comment.

      Johnathan, my apologies.

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