Tweeting In a Trial Brings Juror Trouble

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In February Arkansas juror Johnathan Powell was overseeing a court case where two investors were suing building manufacturer Stoam Holdings, claiming its owner, Russell Wright, has mismanaged their money. In the end Powell made a $12.6 million judgment against the company.

However, it transpires that during the trial he was also making Twitter updates that related to what was happening in the courtroom. That’s led Wright and his lawyer to protest that he was prejudiced against the company and Powell now faces legal action.

On February 26 he posted a Tweet that read:

"Oh, and nobody buy Stoam. It’s bad mojo, and they’ll probably cease to exist, now that their wallet is $12m lighter," and added the company’s URL. Later that day, in another update, he added:

"So, Johnathan, what did you do today? Oh, nothing really. I just gave away twelve million dollars of somebody else’s money!"

AP has seen a copy of the appeal filed by Wright’s lawyer, stating that Powell "was predisposed toward giving a verdict that would impress his audience."

But a lawyer for those who sued the company has said the appeal is unlikely to be allowed, as Arkansas law only prohibits information entering the courtroom, not leaving it.

Meanwhile, Powell is still tweeting about his problem. On March 13 he wrote:

"Well, I’m off to see a judge. Hope they don’t lock me under the jail, and forget about me for four days."