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California Juror Posting Facebook Updates on Carney Marines Murder Trial

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Some people are stupid, some are strange--and some fit the bill for both descriptions. A California juror's been dismissed after a trial judge got a phone tip regarding juror number twelve who was ignoring court order to stay offline. She was posting Facebook comments from a murder trial where one Marine is dead and one former military man could face life in prison. The defendant's lucky--that the one who presumed him guilty decided to update that status, to make it known.
Weird things have gone on with Facebook and murder though -- unlike Craig's List -- the social networking site does not yet stand accused of murder after people meeting on the site. The links between Facebook and death are more bizarre ones.
Just last June, Angela Voelkert as wife of a suspected cheating spouse unexpectedly became suspected murder subject -- in her mind -- when she got the tables turned: In the midst of a divorce, she decided to pose as another woman in efforts to dig up some dirt for legal use in court or Settlement. Husband David, on the other hand, seems to have caught on to the role-playing and decided to have a little fun himself: Via the wife's Facebook account, where she was posing as a woman by the name of "Jessica," the husband said he wanted to hire someone to "put a cap in her ass for $10,000". He was kidding. He was charged, but all charges were dropped. At least that one didn't end in real murder.
But there is real murder too: A Florida teen's accused of a gory plot where police believe the 17-year-old's responsible for murdering his parents with a framing hammer last July -- later throwing the dead bodies in a room while holding a house party at the Port St. Lucie address. Cops think the teen's role in the double-murder was over a Facebook party invite -- a Florida party the parents opposed. So he's thought to have gotten rid of those parents in order to clear any problem of 40-60 people arriving. Unfortunately for attendees, it's a party they may never recover from PTSD after attending: whomever ran across a body or two, maybe while trying to locate a bathroom, could be the one who tipped off police as to the problem.
This particular California court case involves a Facebook tie-in to one of the jurors, rather than one of the suspects facing trial. Number thirteen better prove lucky for Defense; The alternate has to be luckier than juror number twelve would've been. The last juror on the panel was actively participating on Facebook from the courthouse and, despite orders to ditch technology during the trial, she wasn't keeping those comments or posts to strictly her personal life. She was revealing things about the case, and about her.
There was the more harmless reference to a fellow juror and knuckle-cracker who provided her so much annoyance that the juror wanted to punch the other woman. That was less damning since no physical violence occurred. Along with other oddities or updates, the juror also liked playing fashionista it seems -- snapping pics of other jurors' shoes and posting them on Facebook, along with some questionably kind comments. 
One of many communications actually posted from the Santa Ana, California, courthouse was the woman's reference to the Carney murder case involving Marines as having "intrigued" her. That might be one thing, to find something interesting, but the next idea she conveyed was a whopper: The juror expressed interest in wanting to be in contact with the accused -- after the trial -- an occurrence that seriously upped the bizarre factor.
Gripes about fellow Santa Ana jurors, irritations about knuckle-cracking and even less-than-pleasant commentary about fellow jurors' clothing choices was one thing -- violations of instruction, but far less harmless than other aspects found via Facebook. The damning part came through juror number twelve's expression of the concept that she felt the defendant "presumed guilty."
It was one ethical person that turned to one lucky day for the defendant. Or a very good Defense team responsible for actively monitoring. Whichever the case -- whether found guilty or not guilty -- a man may have spent life in prison over a possibly persuasive woman who could've translated to a tainted jury.
Of course the jurors had all received the standard courtroom trial orders: not to perform an independent investigation about the case, not to consult any reference material like a dictionary -- and not to talk about the case with anyone else. Though not talking about the case was already covered, the judge additionally tried to cover every base -- telling jury members to stay off the internet and also avoid tweeting or texting. Apparently the woman did not consider Facebook as part of the internet.
She informed her Facebook world that she'd been chosen as juror number 12 in the trial of People vs Christian William Carney. To make matters scary, it's a murder trial that could cost a man his permanent freedom.
25-year-old Christian William Carney is charged with murdering a Marine in San Clemente, Stephen Serrano -- over an alleged dispute having to do with stolen drug money in 2008. Four Marines including the murdered man are allegedly involved, two of which are accused of murder after supposed robbery by two fellow Marines -- one of which is allegedly Serrano, the man now dead.
Carney faces 53 years to life term in prison should he receive conviction. A co-defendant, yet another Marine by the name of Lovely, is facing separate trial for the Stephen Serrano murder. Opening statements for the Carney trial had already been covered when an anonymous caller contacted Judge Froeberg of the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California -- to tip off the court about the juror's Facebook time.
While deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh reportedly requested juror dismissal, reprimand and possible prosecution over the Facebook use during a trial, the trial will continue with the same jury -- and an alternate juror.
Judge Froeberg instructed the remainder of the California jury that he was disappointed and didn't want to have to deal with a similar scenario again -- once again reiterating that jurors were to stay off the internet, adding: "And certainly, don't be Facebooking." Well, why did the good judge not just say so?


Superior Court of California - County of Orange
909 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
United States
Phone: (877) 872-2122
33° 45' 10.9512" N, 117° 52' 3.0252" W
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