While the idea of jurors blogging during trial is troublesome, it is not necessarily a new concept. Unfortunately, it is becoming an all too common occurrence. What is new, however, is when that juror also happens to be a licensed attorney. This was the situation before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week in Donald McNeely v. Mattew Cate.
In a nutshell, McNeely, who was convicted for burglary and sentenced to 38 years and 8 months because he was a habitual offender, argued that he should be granted a new trial because the foreman on his jury failed to inform the court that he was an attorney and had blogged about the case.
Initially, the California Supreme Court had vacated the defendant's conviction. However, on remand it was reinstated. Subsequent to that reinstatement, a federal district court judge denied the defendant's habeas motion which was then appealed to the 9th Circuit.
It remains to be seen whether or not the defendant will be successful at the 9th Circuit. Based on the tenor of the questions asked to McNeely's counsel, it did not look promising for the defendant. To hear the audio of the oral argument go here.
For more background on the case go here.