What can you say about the trial after being excused from jury duty?
August 12, 2020 10:12 PM   Subscribe

What are you legally allowed to say about the trial after you are excused from jury duty but before the trial is over?

I know that as long as you’re on the jury you’re not allowed to talk about anything until after the trial is over, but I’m having a hard time finding information on when you’re allowed to talk about your experience if you were excused during the jury selection process.

This is in California.

The context is wanting to talk to loved ones in order to help process the experience but wanting to understand the rules first.
posted by unus sum to Law & Government (9 answers total)
Best answer: Whatever you want unless you're subject to an order from the court prohibiting you from discussing it, which would be pretty rare.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 10:36 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This set of jury instructions for California courts suggests that the information presented in open court is public information. The prohibition on talking to others is to prevent the juror from being influenced by outside opinions or other sources of information. So once you have been dismissed from service that concern no longer applies. (Note this is based on my logical reading of the source - not personally an expert.)
posted by metahawk at 11:09 PM on August 12, 2020

Pretty much as above. Someone who has been excused may be contacted by one of the lawyers, for instance, seeking impressions, and there is no prohibition on responding.

What I would not recommend is making some kind of public statement about the case, since that could generate publicity while the trial is pending.
posted by yclipse at 4:04 AM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

You're free to speak all you want. The rule against seated jurors speaking mostly pertains to whatever discussions the jurors may be having among themselves in private, as well as statements about how they feel the trial is going, if they feel the prosecutor is being a dick, etc.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on August 13, 2020

but I’m having a hard time finding information on when you’re allowed to talk about your experience if you were excused during the jury selection process.

You would know almost nothing about the case at this point except what the crime was, who the defendant is, and who is defending and prosecuting them.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:05 AM on August 13, 2020

Best answer: If they dont want you to talk about it, you will be told that very clearly by the court. I had a friend sit on a jury for a murder trial, and she was not only put in a hotel for the 3 weeks of the trial with no access to current news or social media, but also had to sign paperwork prohibiting them from discussing the case with anyone until after the trial was over.

This is obviously not a common situation but it illustrates what happens when you arent supposed to reveal case information.
posted by ananci at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2020

Have been excused from jury duty in CA, we were not prohibited from talking about the trial at all after we left. We weren't allowed to speak to each other during the selection process, but that was it. Process away!
posted by assenav at 7:16 AM on August 13, 2020

If your reason for asking is that another potential juror was heard saying something revealing a bias against on of the parties in the case, especially the defendant in a criminal case, and you are wondering if it's ok to tell counsel, the answer is yes, go ahead. Counsel for either side has a responsibility to be ethical that outweighs yours.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:57 AM on August 13, 2020

Nthing that you can say whatever you want unless the judge, etc., specifically indicated otherwise. I went through 4 days of jury selection (though was ultimately excused), also in California and was told that we couldn't talk about the case outside the courtroom *during the selection process*, or throughout the trial if we were selected. But beyond that, it was up to us.

And I definitely talked about it once I was allowed, both for the sake of processing and because it was pretty sociologically fascinating (ie, the selection process took longer than average due to the defendant having numerous facial tattoos, which had a strong biasing effect on many potential jurors).
posted by aecorwin at 7:32 PM on August 13, 2020

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