Jurors warned about using Internet searches

Jurors in Rhode Island are getting new instructions that focus on new technologies.

Judge Joseph Rodgers Jr., the state’s presiding justice, has added warnings against the use such things as Internet searches and text messaging to the standard juror warnings against watching the news, or discussing cases with other people.

Rodgers issued the revised juror policy to all Superior Court judges this month. He says the new language will replace the vague cautions currently in the handbook given to jurors, when the guide is revised in the coming months.

The Internet has caused at least one mistrial in Rhode Island courts.

Destie Ventre’s second murder trial ended in a mistrial when a juror turned to the Internet to look up the definitions of manslaughter, murder and self-defense to help move deliberations along.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.