According to the blog Legal Feeds,
the Ontario Superior Court has ordered a new trial in an assault case because a judge looked up information from Google Street View
on his own initiative:
"In coming to his conclusion, Goldstein [Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein, who ordered the new trial], citing one case from the Ontario
Court of Appeal as well as other trial decisions, noted judges could in
fact access Google maps to take judicial notice of facts. But the
question, he found, is when do the judge’s actions cross the line into
conducting an investigation and usurping the role of counsel. In this
case, a major concern was not putting the image to Ghaleenovee [the defendant] (...)"
"Criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown notes the case deals in part with
the scope of judicial notice when it comes to accepting facts generally
accepted to be true. When it comes to Google maps, according to Brown,
there’s a general acceptance that they’re accurate. But in this case, he
says, the trial judge went even further."
" 'That’s problematic for a few reasons,' he says, noting the Street View image may now be out of date."
Earlier Library Boy posts on misttrials caused by the use of the Internet or social media include:
- Impartiality of Juries Threatened by Web?
(October 22, 2009): "Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland's top criminal
lawyers, has warned that the impartiality of the jury system is at risk
due to jurors using internet search engines and has warned that the
Government cannot continue with its 'ostrich-like' attitude to the
problem (...) "
- More Jurors Get Into Trouble for Going on the Net
(December 13, 2009): "Last week, a Maryland appeals court upended a
first-degree murder conviction because a juror consulted Wikipedia for
trial information. Earlier this year, the appeals judges erased a
conviction for three counts of assault because a juror did cyberspace
research and shared the findings with the rest of the jury. In a third
recent trial, a juror's admission to using his laptop for off-limits
information jeopardized an attempted-murder trial. On Friday, lawyers
for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for a new trial in part because
five of the jurors who convicted her of embezzlement Dec. 1 were
communicating among themselves on Facebook during the deliberations
period - and at least one of them received an outsider's online opinion
of what the verdict should be. "
- U.S. Federal Courts Tell Jurors Twitter, Facebook and Texting Verboten (February 9, 2010): "Wired Magazine is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States, the body that develops policy for federal courts in that country, has proposed new model jury instructions that explicitly ban the use of applications like Facebook and Twitter ..."
Labels: courts, Google, web 2.0