Leave it to Steve Martin to turn jury duty into performance art. Tweeting over the last couple of days, Mr. Martin has regaled his 380,000-plus followers on Twitter with observations inspired by the legal process unfolding before him.
Using his Twitter name @SteveMartinToGo, the comedian, a prospective juror, at 12:10 p.m. on Monday tweeted: "REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: defendant looks like a murderer. GUILTY. Waiting for opening remarks." A follower named @luvjack713 warned: "If you're really on jury duty you could get into trouble tweeting from it AND announcing he's guilty!!! Careful Steve!"
He quickly responded: "(I'm kidding) Shhhh....." And then he kept at it: "REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: guy I thought was up for murder turns out to be defence attorney. I bet he murdered someone anyway."
While the jokes may be original, the conduct isn't. Reuters Legal last week reported that judges granted new trials or overturned verdicts in dozens of criminal and civil cases due to jurors' online diversions, and bored citizens waiting for jury selection are tweeting, blogging and otherwise venting in growing numbers.
Martin's tweets read like a parody of the scourge of the tweeting juror. At 12:41 p.m. on Monday he wrote: "REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: Prosecuting attorney. Don't like his accent. Serbian? Going with INNOCENT. We're five minutes in." A day later there was this: "REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: I'm cracking up defense with my jokes. Judge not pleased. Defendant finds me funny. Nice guy!" And then, two hours later: "REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: Other jurors are stupid. First, they don't believe in 'hexes.' Plus, they want me to put my magazines away."
A spokeswoman for Mr. Martin said he was a juror awaiting selection - she wouldn't reveal where. "He is not actually tweeting during a trial but is on jury duty. He's making jokes that are really funny, nothing actually factual though," she wrote in an email to Reuters Legal.
Asked if a judge had removed Mr. Martin from the jury pool, the spokeswoman responded: "Not kicked out yet."