Judge Subpoenas Facebook Due To Juror’s Posts

Some lawyers in Sacramento have subpoenaed Facebook.  They want the website to hand over some status updates that were posted by a Jury Foreman.

Arturo Ramirez of Sacramento is getting more attention right now than the five men he helped convict of savagely beating a San Francisco man in a gas station parking lot on Halloween 2008.

Ramirez was the Jury Foreman that convicted five said to be gang members.

In one of his Facebook photos, Ramirez appears to be wearing his juror badge, and one friend commented saying, “Hey, did you get a letter or certificate from Judge Kenny?”

Ramirez may not get a certificate from the judge, but he may get seriously reprimanded. Because after trial, another juror came forward saying that Ramirez may have committed Juror Misconduct because he posted on his Facebook profile.

A judge ordered Facebook to turn over Ramirez’s Facebook postings, but so far, Facebook has returned nothing.   Judge Michael Kinney signed a subpoena ordering Facebook to appear in court or give a reason why they’re violating his order.

“Facebook is aware it’s become a privacy issue with them, but it’s become a problem with trials because people sharing information and violating the admonitions,” explained Defense Attorney Keith Staten.

Staten represents one of the men who is convicted in the case and he knows better than anyone, judges tell jurors to not speak with anyone during the trial including family, friends and the media.  But judges usually don’t mention social networking sites, such as Facebook.

“Realistically, if the guy just said he was bored in court,  does that really influence whether or not your client was found guilty,” asked CBS13 reporter David Begnaud.

“It may or may not, but we don’t know until we see what kind of records that it does reflect, and whether that is all that he expressed,” replied Staten.

The judge could order Facebook to turn over Facebook postings for other jurors, to see if they were involved, as well as friends of those jurors.

Now, the attorney’s want a new trial, and depending on what happens, they could get it.

  • Lynn Wilder

    Unbelievable! No one should have to list off every conceivable way of communication when the very basic instruction the judge gives every juror is “You cannot discuss this case with other jurors or anyone else.” You should have to pay at least half the cost of the retrial for all these men.

  • Anonymous

    From this story and the comment ““Hey, did you get a letter or certificate from Judge Kenny?” Ramirez does not sound like he has violated any orders…maybe he can sue for defamation of character…

  • http://keithjstaten.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/judge-subpoenas-facebook-for-juror-posts/ Judge Subpoenas Facebook for Juror posts | Law Office of Keith J. Staten & Associates

    […] CBS News video […]

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