Latest Court Hazard: Jurors Text-Messaging Each Other


Two Chicago jurors who admitted text-messaging each other will be allowed to continue serving in the civil trial in which a family is suing police over an 8-year-old boy’s arrest for murder, a judge ruled yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reports. The wrongful arrest suit stems from a police investigation into the 1998 slaying of 11-year-old Ryan Harris.

The ruling came after an anonymous letter singled out the jurors for allegedly using their cellular phones to text-message each other. Michael Sheehan, a lawyer for the city, said the city believes the jurors should be removed. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that removing the jurors would disrupt the racial balance of the jury. There are four African-Americans, four Hispanics and four whites on the jury. The male juror in question is African-American and the woman is Hispanic. Two of the alternate jurors who would take their places are white. The lettere said:”We have some jurors who feel it necessary to speak about the case, the young lady and young man text message each other in the [jury] room after each break and make remarks such as, `He’s guilty,’ or, `Explain what the lawyer meant by ‘


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