Juror’s Tweets Get Death Row Inmate A Reprieve

Does any governor ever actually call at the last minute and stop an execution or does that only happen in old black and white movies? I’m not sure. But an Arkansas death row inmate recently got a reprieve when the Arkansas Supreme Court granted him a new trial because a juror had tweeted during his trial. The juror was apparently a pretty proficient tweeter. He continued to send out tweets even after the court instructed him to stop. And though the lower appellate court had ruled that there was no prejudice from the tweets, and therefore rejected the inmate’s appeal, the Supreme Court felt that the prejudice arose from the juror’s disregard for the court’s order. I posted back in October about a person convicted of tax evasion whose appeal failed despite the fact that a juror had posted comments on Facebook during the trial. That Connecticut based federal court found that the defendant suffered no prejudice and upheld the conviction. Apparently the standards are a little more strict when the stakes are higher. Probably not a bad thing.