It was bound to happen, which is not to say that there is any excuse for it. A juror during on a day off from trial, told the world via Facebook that she had already decided the defendant was guilty, writing that it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re guilty.” This statement, in addition to showing a disturbing lack of compassion and empathy, not to mention meanness, also was a violation of her duties as a juror. The trial wasn’t even finished, the jury hadn’t deliberated, and yet Hadley Jons, 20, had already decided on her vote and was bragging about it.
Fortunately, the post was discovered by defense lawyer Saleema Sheikh’s son. The next day, Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski confronted Jons, reprimanded her, and replaced her with an alternate. Jons now faces possible contempt charges, but the problem goes far beyond one foolish juror.
Michigan was the first state to ban jurors from having Blackberries, iPods and cell phones in the jury box. There is little the state can do short of sequestering juries in every case, however, to stop jurors who are ignorant of their duty to act with justice and fairness from harming the parties, hinder the administration of justice and embarrassing themselves and democracy. When a community has too many citizens who haven’t taken the time to understand their own country’s justice system, whose ethical comprehension is rudimentary and whose common sense is nil, it is going to end up with incompetent jurors and malfunctioning juries. There is nothing just or fair about a jury system that depends on people like Hadley Jons.