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University of Colorado Law Review


This article begins by examining the traditional reasons for juror research. The article then discusses how the Digital Age has created new rationales for juror research while simultaneously affording jurors greater opportunities to conduct such research. Next, the article examines how technology has also altered juror-to-juror communications and juror-to-non-juror communications. Part I concludes by analyzing the reasons jurors violate court rules about discussing the case.

In Part II, the article explores possible steps to limit the negative impact of the Digital Age on juror research and communications. While no single solution or panacea exists for these problems, this article focuses on several reform measures that could address and possibly reduce the detrimental effects of the Digital Age on jurors. The four remedies discussed in this article are (1) penalizing jurors, (2) investigating jurors, (3) allowing jurors to ask questions, and (4) improving juror instructions. During the discussion on jury instructions, this article analyzes two sets of jury instructions to see how well they adhere to the suggested changes proposed by this article. This is followed by a draft model jury instruction.

As part of the research for this article, this author conducted one of the first surveys on juror conduct in the Digital Age. The survey was completed by federal judges, prosecutors, and public defenders throughout the country. The Jury Survey served two purposes. First, it was used to determine the extent of the Digital Age’s impact on juror communications and research. Second, it operated as a barometer for the reform proposals suggested by this article.

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Boulder, CO

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