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Juror fined for Facebook posts about criminal court case

Technically Incorrect: A New York juror seems to not know the rules, which results in a mistrial and a $1,000 fine for her.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Has Facebook got some people so hooked that they ignore legal entreaties not to use it?


I'm trying to remain positive and centered but, truthfully, I'm dying from boredom.

This is a sentiment that envelops us all on occasion.

It's a sentiment that might even grab us at moments that we wish it wouldn't. A trial, for example, when we're a member of the jury.

But it's not so wise to reveal that sentiment to all your Facebook followers -- and, who knows, theirs. Especially not during a jury trial when you're a member of the jury. This, however, is exactly what New Yorker Kimberly Ellis did.

For reasons that might be akin to Facebook being the center of her universe, Ellis expressed the very thought at the top of this article, as well as a few others, on Facebook while she sat on a jury for a robbery trial.

For reasons of basic justice, a mistrial ensued as there were only 11 jurors remaining and no alternates, and Ellis was fined $1,000 for being in contempt of court.

Boredom can do things to us, but Ellis admitted to the New York Daily News that the judge had explained in advance the social media rules fully, including keeping the trial's details private.

It wasn't as if Ellis posted just one observation. During the trial, she sometimes posted twice a day.

Sample: "God help me. The other jurors don't trust the police and want to outright dismiss the confessions as well as the majority of the rest of the evidence. Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day," noted Ellis, who was the jury forewoman before the case was declared a mistrial at the end of September.

Perhaps it's easy to get into the habit of posting about whatever you are doing or thinking or thinking of doing. Still, the Daily News said tried to explain her need to keep on Facebooking:

"I failed to make the necessary changes in my daily life," she said, according to the Daily News. "I feel terrible. I never meant to hurt anyone. I wasted a lot of people's time and money, and I deeply regret what I did."

Her explanation to Supreme Court Judge Ira Margulis was little different.

"Well, I sometimes -- I suppose I forget it's so public and it's Facebook and it's something that I use a lot," she said. "And I'm pretty quiet in my day-to-day dealings with people, so it's just a way for me to, you know, express myself."

Her troubles may not be over. The judge reportedly suggested she retain a lawyer, as there were considerable costs involved in abandoning the trial. The Queens District Attorney's Office wasn't immediately available for comment.

Ellis told the Daily News she's now afraid of losing her job of 19 years at JP Morgan.

And all because she felt the need to tell the outside world what she knew she wasn't allowed to tell.