September 16, 2010
Juror Uses iPhone to Look Up a Dictionary Definition in Court, Sparks Mistrial
Florida’s Court of Appeals recently overturned a manslaughter conviction because one of the jurors on the case had used his iPhone to look up the definition of “prudence” during the trial. Geekosystem reports.
The state had been seeking to convict a man in his sixties named Jose Tapanes of first-degree murder for fatally shooting his 19-year-old neighbor.
Much of the case hinged on whether Tapanes had acted in a “prudent” manner in shooting Cote, a term used in the jury instructions and closing argument of the case.
The juror looked up “prudence” on Encarta and shared his remembered definition of something like “careful and sensible, with care to consequences” with the rest of the jury, which the Court of Appeals ruled may have influenced the ultimate verdict in an “improper” way.
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