Type “Jennifer Strange” into your favorite search engine and see how many hits come up. Try “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” or “water intoxication” and look at the tallies. You get tens of thousands of results. The San Diego Union-Tribune says that is what lawyer Harvey Levine wants to stop jurors from doing in a high-profile trial over the death of Strange during a radio station contest in 2007. Jury selection is set to begin this week in Sacramento.
Jurors will have to sign declarations attesting that they will not use “personal electronic and media devices” to research or communicate about any aspect of the case. That includes computers, cell phones and laptops. It is believed to be the first time in California that such a move has been made. It comes at a time when lawyers are becoming increasingly concerned about jurors firing up their iPhones and BlackBerrys to update their statuses and more easily breach rules that prohibit them from seeking information outside the courtroom. “It’s a huge problem,” said San Diego criminal defense lawyer Christopher Plourd.