A juror asked to turn over the contents of his Facebook account will appeal the court order.
The juror’s attorney Ken Rosenfeld told CNET that if his client was forced to turn over his private Facebook posts, it “would be catastrophic in terms of free speech, justice, and the jury system itself.”
Arturo Ramirez was a member of the jury in a trial of the Killa Mobb gang that was convicted of performing a beating of a man in 2008. The five men involved have not been sentenced yet, as their attorneys have demanded the courts wait until it’s decided whether Ramirez’s Facebook postings had any influence on his verdict.
Ramirez posted on Facebook, “Can it get any more BORING” and a fellow juror found the post.
Because of that, the defense attorney sent a subpoena to Facebook asking for the full records of Ramirez’s Facebook account. The social media company said if they complied, it would violate the Stored Communications Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The Judge gave Ramirez 10 days to allow Facebook to supply the postings, but his lawyer said it goes too far. Like he told CNET:
Ordering consent or compelling (a juror) to sign a consent form is far beyond the court’s powers. We’re appealing the order to the appellate court and the California Supreme Court if necessary.
Ramirez’s ten days are up next Monday, and that’s when we’ll see how this all pans out. In the mean time, we’ll ask you, readers, whether you think the Facebook posts violate the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. And shouldn’t the social network comply with the subpoena to turn over the postings in this case?