The Vermont Supreme Court has just unanimously overturned a conviction for molestation because a juror did online research on the defendant's ethnic culture, but if a recent survey of federal judges is right, the great majority of jurors are behaving themselves when it comes to turning off their cellphones, avoiding researching cases on the web, and not texting about the cases they're sitting on. The survey had an impressive 53% response rate. From the summary of the report (PDF) of the survey, provided to the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management:
The detected use of social media by jurors during trials and deliberations is not common, but it does occur. Thirty of the 508 responding judges reported instanc- es in which jurors were detected using social media during trial or deliberation, most often in criminal cases. This social media use most often took the form of posts about the progress of the case or the juror’s service in general. There were several instances of jurors attempting to contact participants in the case via social media. When social media use was detected, it was most likely to be reported by a fellow juror.