Source: The Recorder
A federal judge admonished the 12 jurors and five alternates serving in the criminal fraud trial of Theranos’ founder Elizabeth Holmes to avoid media regarding the case after an especially lengthy three-day jury selection.
Almost every potential juror that was questioned had heard of Holmes’ defunct blood-testing company and many had read books, watched documentaries or listened to podcasts detailing the alleged fraud at the center of the government’s case against Holmes.
Although America’s modern fixation on high-profile crimes and courtroom drama is at least decades old, criminal defense attorneys say the influx of streamable true-crime content has affected juror behavior.
Marc Axelbaum, a Pillsbury Litigation partner who leads the firm’s Northern California Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Defense practice, said the overall concern about jury taint hasn’t changed, but the volume and diversity of information, as well as misinformation, coming at potential jurors has.
“The biggest shift in fairly recent times, I suppose, has been the ubiquity of information, where alerts from news outlets and social media may pop up on a potential juror’s cellphone years (and also days) before she or he reports for jury duty,” Axelbaum said. “Social media perhaps increases the likelihood a potential juror has been exposed to information about a case before counsel first introduces evidence, heightening the need for a defense lawyer to ask probing voir dire questions about myriad potential sources of misinformation.”
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