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Blogging Jury Foreman Turned In by Uptight 'Law Prof'

I, as a law geek, am one of approximately three people nationwide who legitimately laments the fact that he's never had the opportunity to serve on a jury. Most people find the prospect about as attractive as an unanesthetized root canal.

So I'm not sure what led blogger, librarian and Mets fan Bruce Slutsky to believe that people would be interested in reading his daily musings on his jury duty experience in New York Supreme Court, Queens County. But he obviously thought it worthwhile to document the "ordeal," as he called it. And what did he get for his trouble? More trouble.

As reported by the New York Times (via the ABA Journal), Slutsky's blogging caught the eye of professor John Clark, of the University of Texas at Tyler, who was Googling around for research on juror behavior. (Note that the Times refers to Clark as a "law professor," but from what I can tell UT-Tyler does not have a law school. Clark is listed in the faculty directory as "Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice.") And Clark tattled.

Professor Clark notified the court of Slutsky's blog posts, and maintains that some of Slutsky's commentary "crossed the line." For example, this post, where Slutsky complains that the plaintiff was repeating himself on the stand. But neither the lawyers in the case nor the judge, after reviewing the posts and interviewing Slutsky, thought he did anything to warrant being dismissed as a juror.

Perusing the posts, I'd have to agree. Slutsky never identifies the parties or talks about the substance of the case. It's mostly just garden variety bitching about the process, how long it's taking, how inefficient it is, etc. Only after the verdict was rendered last Friday did Slutsky give any information about the case, and it was still rather generic.

Does this bother anyone? Do we need to make sure the instructions given to jurors admonish them against discussing "jury duty," rather than just "the case?" Slutsky certainly isn't the first person to blog about jury duty (see here and here). Thoughts?

Posted by Eric Lipman on October 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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