Absurd Perversions Of Justice, Courtesy Of Social Media
The effects of the internet are a bit like the effects of LSD: Every once in a while, we're Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter, but more often than not, we're naked teens at risk of burning our apartments down. (click for full) http://goo.gl/QHkvCu
- •You Get More Chances In Court If You Have An Interesting StoryTwo weeks ago, a judge announced that Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of Serial, will have his case retried. It seems like there were a lot of errors made in the original case, so that's probably a good thing. But what's troubling is that he's getting the retrial because of the show. Syed's current defense attorney said that because of Serial, he "had thousands of investigators working for me, and that produced information we otherwise would not have had."
- •Juries Are Compromised All The Timethe internet makes it impossible to avoid taint. Merely by looking at their phones, jurors are instantly awash in inadmissible information. In order to avoid it all, they would pretty much have to puncture their eardrums and claw out their eyes. Or maybe even not get on Twitter for a while. The point is, it would be impossible.
- •Jurors Friend Everyone Involved With The CaseIn the corruption trial of a former Baltimore mayor, jurors who weren't supposed to be discussing the case outside of deliberation friended one another. Even in a trial about inappropriate backroom dealings, jurors could not refrain from inappropriate backroom dealings. When the judge chastised them for it, they failed to see the irony, with one of the jurors posting "Fuck the Judge" on his Facebook page.
- •The Internet Ensures That Criminals Stay Criminalsfinding work for ex-cons of all kinds is harder than ever, increasing the likelihood of recidivism. So instead of employing hundreds of thousands of people in positions where some proportion of them might be so good as to smoke you out in the bathroom, we send them back to prison. All because the internet turbo-charges employers' baseless assumptions about people who have done a little time for any number of reasons.
- •Internet Vigilantes Can Ruin Your Life For Absolutely No ReasonJust ask Justine Sacco, who was guilty of nothing more than tweeting a joke that Twitter misunderstood (seriously, read that whole thing -- the details are insane). Without knowing any of the details of the situation, tens of thousands of people banded together to destroy her life. They got Sacco fired, ambushed her with cameras, and permanently damage her ability to make a good first impression on anyone with a working knowledge of Google.