It’s always a good idea to watch what you post on Facebook — especially if you’re involved in a court proceeding. One Milwaukee juror learned that the hard way this week after he or she posted about a federal civil rights trial, inadvertently jeopardizing the plaintiff’s $2 million verdict.
The trial in question involved a former police officer found responsible for violating a man’s civil rights during a 2010 arrest. The jury also found that two other officers failed to intervene during the arrest when they had the chance to stop the offending officer. As a result, the plaintiff in the case was awarded a nearly $ 2 million verdict. However, that’s where the Facebook-happy juror comes in.
According to the city’s lawyers, the juror posted on Facebook about the case, suggesting he or she researched similar cases while also sharing a post from a local anti-police activist. The city attorneys have asked the judge to question jurors under oath about the matter, and if he or she is found to have spoken about the case or performed outside research, the judge may have to throw out the $2 million award.
Even though Facebook can feel frivolous, this case is a good example of just how seriously — and costly — the wrong post can be.