Prosecutor’s Facebook postings did not warrant overturning conviction

State v. Usee, 2011 WL 2437271 (Minn. App. June 20, 2011)

A jury convicted defendant of attempted murder and other violent crimes. He asked the court for a Schwartz hearing (which is what they call these things in Minnesota) to evaluate whether a posting by the prosecutor on her public Facebook page improperly influenced the jury. According to affidavits that defendant submitted to the court, the prosecutor made the culturally insensitive remark that she was keeping the streets safe from Somalis.

The trial court denied the motion for a Schwartz hearing. Defendant sought review. On appeal, the court affirmed the denial of the motion.

It held that there was no evidence that the Facebook posting led to any jury misconduct. The jurors had been instructed not to research the case. (And we all know that jurors take those instructions seriously, right?) Any harm to defendant’s interests, the court found, would merely be speculative.

One thought on “Prosecutor’s Facebook postings did not warrant overturning conviction

  1. Sheldon Toplitt

    No mistrial was warranted, but the prosecutor should be fired. An Indiana prosecutor lost his job for Tweeting about the Wisconsin public employees dispute that police should use live ammo against government works demonstrating in the State House. The D.A. acknowledged the prosecutor's 1st Amendment right to post such a Tweet, but said the sentiments were inappropriate for someone in his job who deals with the public.

Comments are closed.