Spencer Kuvin: Attorney presents case saying jurors were distracted by social media

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Judge Janis Keyser heard from attorney Spencer Kuvin Wednesday morning, who says jurors were distracted by social media during his client's trial. 

"We must hold these jurors accountable," Kuvin told the judge.

Kuvin presented 25 posts made to Facebook and Twitter.  He says the posts were made by two jurors who should have been paying close attention to the arguments.  For example, one posted, "Taking a Nap," on twitter during opening arguments. 

Monday, Kuvin told WPTV, "If they're tweeting and on their phone during a trial, how can they pay attention to the evidence that's being heard?" 

Another post Kuvin presented Wednesday reads, "I wish I wasn't a U.S. Citizen right now...I could give two [explicative] about jury duty." 

Kuvin says a juror tweeted prior to closing arguments, "Everyone is so money hungry."

Kuvin says he was representing an elderly woman injured in a car accident in the trial.  He believes there may have been a better outcome if the jurors had been more focused.  He believes the settlement should have been larger for his client.

Kuvin says the trial ended Friday.  On the following Monday, he discovered the tweets and Facebook posts. 

"In the future, I suspect you will be checking them throughout the trial,"  Keyser said, suggesting an alternate juror could have been used if Kuvin had noticed the social media posts during the trial. 

Kuvin agreed, saying he does plan to check social media posts from jurors during future cases, even if it requires extra assistance.

Opposing counsel said while he does not condone the use of social media in the courtroom, the posts do not suggest prejudice in the case, and called the motion a "fishing expedition."

Keyser says she believes it is too drastic a move to take cellphones away from jurors in the future, even though they can be considered a distraction. 

She said, "This is clearly an issue that we need raise public awareness about."

Kuvin said there is no precedent for this issue in Florida's courts.  The most similar case he could find was a case in Arkansas regarding a death penalty sentencing and the use of social media.

Friday at 11 a.m., the discussion will continue before Keyser to determine whether the jurors should be brought back into court to answer questions. 

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