DBTC Law Firm

Tweeting and Sleeping at the Wrong Place and Time Gives Reprise to a Murderer.

17-year-old Derrick Jefferson was robbed and then shot to death in Benton County. His murderer, Mr. Dimas-Martinez, was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for aggravated robbery and capital murder. During his trial, one of the jurors slept intermittently, and another juror, despite instructions from the judge otherwise, persisted in tweeting his friends throughout the trial. On appeal, even though it was argued that the sleeping juror heard “the vast majority” of the evidence, the juror was disqualified. The tweeting juror, because he could not follow the judge’s instructions (which were to not tweet during the trial) was deemed incapable of following the judge’s other critical instructions as to findings and was thus also disqualified. The case was reversed and remanded to the trial court for another trial. Moral of the story:   If you are a juror and do not want your several days of jury duty to go to waste, keep your fellow jurors awake and make sure they follow the instructions of the judge–including not tweeting! (Dimas-Martinez vs. State, 2011 Ark. 515)

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