Blue Ridge, Ga – An Ill-timed selfie taken by a juror resulted in the dismissal of the entire jury pool for the week of August 5, 2019.
Fetch Your News can confirm that individuals who disregarded the sanctity of jury duty resulted in the cancellation of criminal court for August 5 through 9.
Jurors reported Monday morning for a high profile criminal case involving a minor that carried serious charges. While waiting in the jury room, Roy Conner took a selfie of himself and the majority jurors in the room. He even tagged a prospective juror when he posted it to Facebook. Additionally, at least three other jurors also commented about their jury experience online.
As a result, the identity of jurors became public knowledge. The selfie exposed jurors to outside influences.
Conner has since removed the picture from his Facebook.
The selfie received 50 likes and 55 comments before disappearing from social media. A courthouse employee, Robin Gazaway, commented on the photo asking Conner to visit her if he gets a break and to tell the judge that he believed “all people [were] guilty.”
The selfie and comments removed any chance of anonymity for the jury and opened jurors up to jury bias and persuasion.
Out of the 250 citizens summoned to serve for the week of August 5, 113 appeared on Monday, and 102 remained for duty. The county paid $7,100 in funds to the dismissed jurors and lost a week of criminal court.
Fannin County only receives six criminal court weeks a year. With the dismissal, the court will have to adjust trial dates for this case and all upcoming criminal cases.
The criminal case involving a minor was picking a jury for the first time, but the indictment occurred on November 2018.
Typically, Clerk of Court requires 25 to 30 days to assemble a jury, from list pulling to jurors appearing for court. At the courthouse, clerk and bailiffs inform jurors to silence or turn off their phones while waiting for selection.
In the future, summons might include a written statement that expressly prohibits taking photos or publicly sharing jury service on social media.
When reached for comment, Conner said, “If my Facebook post caused this, I am deeply sorry that I caused any trouble. The post was in jest, and I truly regret posting it. My sincerest apologies to the court, the county, and all involved. If I would’ve known a simple selfie done in jest would have caused this much trouble, I most assuredly would not have posted it.”
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