Attorneys in the Vincent Fumo trial have announced that the State will appeal the sentence, which prosecutors argue is too lenient. The State’s expected appeal will likely trigger an appeal by the defense, who are expected to argue that the case was tainted based on one juror’s postings about the case on Twitter and Facebook.
Melanie McGuire is serving the third year of a life sentence in a correctional facility in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She received the sentence after being found guilty of the murder of her husband. Her attorneys appealed the conviction last August, contending that a juror may have blogged about the trial from the jury room. One news report quotes the defense counsel as saying “exposure to extra-judicial influences fatally undermined the trial’s fairness."
Another story comes from Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the murder trial of gang member Edariel Melendez. During the trial, several jurors admitted to having viewed a Star-Ledger article about the case on one of the juror’s cell phones. When questioned by the judge, none of the jurors would admit to being the owner of the phone. The judge ruled that the jury was not reliable and had failed to comply with his orders. He also said that he would consider confiscating the jurors’ phones at the new trial.
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