Social sites threaten juror impartiality
Fri, 19 Aug 2011 04:26:33 GMT —
The jurors are all too familiar by now about the details in this case.
In December 2008, Roberto Rojas killed his two stepsons, his son and his mother in law.
He also beat and shot his wife, Amelia Flores, but she survived.
"We the jury, find the defendant, Roberto Rojas, guilty of capital murder," Judge Aida Salinas Flores read out loud.
Having found Rojas guilty on four charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder, the jury is now tasked with sentencing him on Monday morning.
Judge Salinas advised all jurors to stay away from any media reports, including social sites like Facebook and Twitter, new information platforms that have become so engrained in our daily lives.
"If they don TMt follow the judges ruling, than that could be used to reverse the case," Alberto Garcia, a former Harlingen municipal judge, said.
He added that impartiality from jurors is essential to the judicial process, and social sites only make it harder for them to avoid any influences from the media.
"You just have to take your oath very seriously," he said.
Until Monday, it TMs up to the jurors to honor that oath and stay away not just from traditional news sources, but an ever-growing arsenal of information tools.