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Jurors' Internet Research Could Zap Taser Verdict

Lawyers in Louisville, Ky., are asking a federal judge to set aside a jury verdict exonerating a police officer in a Taser-related death because they say the jury foreman researched the case on the Internet and used what he found to sway other jurors.

In a Dec. 4 verdict, the jury cleared one officer and was unable to reach a verdict on another, The Courier-Journal reports. Attorneys representing the estate of the victim, Larry Noles, say a juror contacted them and alleged that at least two other jurors, including the foreman, consulted the Web site of Taser International.

The juror who called the attorneys later made the same allegations under oath in federal court, saying that both jurors discussed the fact that Taser's Web site claims that Tasers are non-lethal and cannot cause fatal injuries.

The county attorney's office is due to respond Thursday to the request to set aside the verdict. The jury returned its verdict after a three-day trial and two days of deliberations.

"The case is one of a rising number nationally in which jurors have used iPhones, BlackBerrys and home computers to gather and send information about cases, undermining judges and jury trials," writes Courier-Journal reporter Andrew Wolfson.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 12, 2010 at 04:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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