Limiting Outside Information to Jurors
In all criminal cases in Massachusetts, jurors are not allowed to discuss the case until it is over. The jurors may not even discuss the facts of the case amongst themselves until it is time to deliberate. The reason for this rule is to ensure that the jurors are keeping an open mind to the evidence. The court does not want any juror coming to a decision prior to hearing all the evidence in the case.
During a Massachusetts criminal jury trial, jurors may be given several breaks during the day. At the very least, the jury will break for lunch. If the case goes on for more than one day jurors in most cases are allowed to go home for the day. Each time the juror leaves on a break, the judge will remind the jurors to not discuss the facts of the case with anyone.
With technology being so advanced, most people have quick access to other individuals through their phones. There have been many stories in the recent years where jurors have texted, emailed, or disseminated information through social media regarding the case. In some of those situations, the juror that violated the judge’s order was fined. As a result, if you are a juror sitting on a criminal case, it is important that you don’t violate the judge’s orders.
Massachusetts judges will also order jurors to not do any self research about the case. The judge will tell the jurors to not go to the scene of the incident by themselves. The judge will also tell the jurors to not doing any research about the case. The court’s order may be very difficult to abide by in cases that have gained extra publicity. In cases where the press and the public are very interested, the judge may require the jury to remain away from their homes until the case is over.
Contact Attorney Chan at 508-808-8902