A Lawyer Seeks to Have Online Court Records Blocked
A lawyer for five defendants filed motions to prevent access to his clients’ online court records.
J. Anthony Rich, attorney for defendants Brady Phillips, Anthony Riggins, Richar Perry, Gregory Barnes, and Billy Gilbert, filed the motions for the purpose of avoiding juror misconduct. Gilbert, Perry and Phillips were charged with murder and a few other charges, Riggins was charged with rape, and Barnes was charged with kidnapping and rape.
Rich in his motions stated that jurors can view information on the defendants. They could tweet, e-mail, or blog whenever they are at home, or even during breaks if they are allowed to keep within their possession cell phones and other “windows to the world.” Moreover, as Rich put it, “Jury instruction by the judge about communication outside the courthouse has not kept pace with technology.”
Rich further stated that every person has a right to a fair trial and when jurors try to Google any info, they are actually disobeying a judge’s order.
One good example was the trial of Richard Boone, who was actually found guilty for rape and sexual imposition. Due to the fact that a juror looked up the criminal history of Boone, Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge James Burge is considering a mistrial.
Michael Stepanik, Boone’s attorney stated that he understands the reason behind Rich’s filing of said motions. He said that a juror might be confused and assume that the defendant committed a crime if a person with the same name having committed other crimes turn up in the results.
Judges Mark Betleski, James Miraldi, and Edward Zaleski will decide on the motions filed by Rich.