Erickson Dimas-Martinez was on trial for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy and could have been sentenced to death by lethal injection, but a juror's Twitter activity has since overturned that conviction.
Although the judge explicitly instructed jurors to not discuss the case or share any thoughts about the trial on social media, one particularly brazen juror tweeted, "Choices to be made. Hearts to be broken. We each define the great line." during sentencing.
That juror, who counted a reporter among their followers, has forced the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn the conviction, but has not yet been removed from the jury.
The rogue juror's actions have also called into question the practice of allowing jurors to have access to their cell phones. Justice Donald Corbin argued that, "Most mobile phones now allow instant access to a myriad of information. Not only can jurors access Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, but they can also access news sites that might have information about a case. There is also the possibility that a juror could conduct research about many aspects of a case.”
Which is the lesser of the two evils here: breaching personal rights to cell phone access, or wasting the court's time and money due to a mistrial? Weigh in below.
[via Gawker and Times Record]