Googling juror must serve -- on jury or in jail - FOX 13 News

Googling juror must serve -- on jury or in jail

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A Googling juror, now humbled, began with a simple "I'm sorry" Friday.

"I'd like to apologize to you, Judge Fuente, and the court and the staff. I admitted that I violated the court's orders," said Vishnu Singh.

Singh, a technical supervisor at Bright House Networks, found himself in the crosshairs of Judge William Fuente.

"I'm going to find you to be in contempt," said Judge Fuente.

It was last summer. Jury selection was under way in the murder trial of Kenneth Ray Jackson.

Singh, like all potential jurors, was reminded over and over by Judge Fuente not to talk about or research the case.

But Singh ignored the judge's rules and Googled the case anyway. He told another juror about it and eventually it got to the judge.

"Curiosity got the better part of me. I'm aware of my mistake by doing so," said Singh.

Judge Fuente was not swayed by his apology. "When a juror such as yourself, for whatever reason -- curiosity, disrespect -- whatever the case maybe, and I take you at your word that curiosity got the best of you. I'll accept that but when you do that it causes a lot of problems."

Singh was ordered to attend jury duty for one week a month for the next three months. If he's not picked for an actual trial, he'll go to jail.

He also has to check in with Judge Fuente every month for an update.

Judge Fuente said he could have let Singh off easy, but this punishment also serves as a stern message to future jurors: "Hopefully some jurors will see this is what happens to a juror when he or she does not obey the court's order."

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