Juror Ordered to Turn Over Facebook Postings

A  Sacramento judge has ordered a juror to turn over his Facebook messages he posted during the trial within 10 days or face jail time. 

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny said on Friday that juror Arturo Ramirez had 10 days to show the court his postings or face possible contempt charges, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Ramirez was part of the jury in a trial of five alleged gang members who were convicted of beating a man at a gas station in 2008. Defense attorneys for the five requested the postings to see if Ramirez was unduly influenced during the trial.

Ramirez's lawyer, Kenneth L. Rosenfeld, said that his client has no intention of releasing the Facebook posts. "It's a matter of principle and privacy," he told the Sacramento Bee, citing Internet privacy laws. "There's no reason this material should be turned over."

The judge had previously requested the information from Facebook, and its lawyers cited the Stored Communications Act, stating they would need Ramirez's permission to present his postings to the court.

According to the federal Stored Communications Act, disclosure is allowed only if the individual party agrees to it, if it is requested by law enforcement agencies investigating a crime or by court order in an ongoing criminal investigations. 

Ramirez allegedly called the trial evidence "boring" in one Facebook post and that he was on the jury of the trial in another missive. 

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