A story out of Allentown, PA provides just one more example of social media's impact on jurors. Here, a witness in the Amanda Hein first-degree murder trial was apparently lovestruck by one of the jurors so much so that he attempted to contact the juror through social media. The witness posted the following ad on Craigslist Missed Connections:
you were a juror in the allentown baby killing case - m4w (Easton)
© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap
669 washington street
eye color : green height : 6'2" (187cm)
You...blonde juror 2nd row in the Amanda Catherine Hein case Me...testified first thing Wednesday morning about an online/phone relationship with Amanda You...smiling at me Me...making eye contact and trying not to make it obvious I was smiling back
Hope you get done soon
hope to hear from you
- do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers
The court learned about the ad on Wednesday and the jury returned its guilty verdict on Thursday. Fortunately for the prosecution, it appears that the juror in question was unaware of the ad. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the actions of the witness could lead to a mistrial or new trial for the defendant.
However, this case illustrates why judges must educate everyone in the courtroom to include witnesses about what they can and cannot do on social media. The actual Craigslist posting can still be accessed online.