A juror who wrote detailed Facebook posts about the trial she was hearing has been fined $1,000 after the robbery case resulted in a mistrial.
The New York Daily News reports that Kimberly Ellis, of Queens, New York, was found in contempt of court after posting details about a 2014 robbery case to Facebook on 17 September 2015:
Everything about this process is inefficient. I’m trying to remain positive and centered but, truthfully, I’m dying from boredom.
In another post, Ellis wrote:
God help me, the other jurors don’t trust the police and want to outright dismiss the confessions as well as the majority of the rest of the evidence. Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day.
One of Ellis’ Facebook friends, a former District Attorney’s Office prosecutor, alerted authorities to the posts.
Once Ellis was removed from the jury, there remained only 11 jurors and no alternates, resulting in a mistrial.
On 30 September Ellis appeared before a Supreme Court Judge. Asked whether the rules had been explained to her before the trial started, she said yes.
When asked why she disobeyed the order from the court not to divulge proceedings in public, she replied that she “wasn’t thinking clearly”:
Well, I sometimes — I suppose I forget it’s so public and it’s Facebook and it’s something that I use a lot, and I’m pretty quiet in my day-to-day dealings with people, so it’s just a way for me to, you know, express myself.
The judge said her posts had wasted thousands of taxpayers dollars:
One of the robbery victims because of what happened to her moved out of state and came back for the trial. This is just wasted taxpayers’ money because of what the defendant did and it’s not that she was not aware.