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Juror’s tweets ensure retrial for death row inmate

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A death row inmate in the southern US state of Arkansas has been granted a new trial after one juror during the original hearing was caught sending Twitter messages and another juror fell asleep.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the death sentence for Erickson Dimas-Martinez, 26, and ordered that he be tried again.

“Because we conclude that the one juror sleeping and a second juror tweeting constituted juror misconduct, we reverse and remand for a new trial,” the court said in its ruling.

Dimas-Martinez was convicted last year on charges of aggravated robbery and capital murder for the December 2006 robbery and slaying of a 17-year-old boy.

In their appeal, Dimas-Martinez’s lawyers complained “that one juror fell asleep during the guilt phase of the trial, a fact that was brought to the circuit court’s attention.”

Furthermore, “a second juror was posting on his Twitter account during the case and continued to do so even after being questioned by the Circuit Court, as evidence of juror misconduct that calls into question the fairness of his trial.”

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On the day of the sentencing, the juror posted the following message on his Twitter account: “Choices to be made. Hearts to be broken… We each define the great line.”

When defense attorneys pointed this out and claimed he was commenting on the proceedings, the judge spoke to the juror but was convinced he had not spoken about the case, so did not dismiss him from the jury.

“Don’t twitter anybody about this case. … don’t twitter, don’t use your cell phone to talk to anybody about this case other than perhaps the length of the case or something like that,” the judge ordered.

But the juror kept tweeting and broke the rule again when, 50 minutes before the verdict was announced, he tweeted: “Done.” The defense noted that one of the juror’s followers on Twitter was a reporter.

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Posting that message was “a flagrant violation of the Circuit Court’s instruction against twittering,” the defense attorneys argued.

Dimas-Martinez’s lawyers had urged that a mistrial be declared, but the judge denied the motion.

The Arkansas Supreme Court however agreed Dimas-Martinez deserved a new trial.

“Because of the very nature of Twitter as an on online social media site, a juror’s tweets about the trial were very much public discussions,” the state Supreme Court concluded in its ruling.

“Even if such discussions were one-sided, it is in no way appropriate for a juror to state musings, thoughts or other information about a case in such a public fashion.”

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Trump was ready to ‘blow up everything’: Biographer Michael Wolff on why Mueller didn’t indict

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It is not an easy task to discern the truth when confronting a president and his allies who have created their own reality, one in which truth and lies have no absolute meaning and are, for them, ultimately interchangeable.

Donald Trump does this on a personal level: he has lied at least 10,000 times while president.

During his recent interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Donald Trump continued to lie in public, asserting that he did not try to fire special sounsel Robert Mueller. As multiple sources and witnesses agree, this is not true. Trump also asserted that he can do anything that he wants, according to the Constitution: He apparently believes he is a king or emperor. This too is a lie. The Constitution grants the president no such powers, and was drafted by the framers to stop demagogues and would-be tyrants such as Donald Trump.

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2020 Election

CNN panel destroys Trump’s mass arrest threat of millions as a wildly unrealistic Orlando rally stunt

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The panel on CNN's New Day cast a jaundiced eye at a threat Donald Trump made on Monday night where he threatened mass arrests of millions of immigrant families as part of an ICE operation.

On Twitter, the president wrote: "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people."

According to one panelist on CNN, the president's threat was timed as a political stunt, with the contributor Jackie Kucinich calling it "rally-fodder" before his Orlando campaign kickoff.

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Trump’s ‘no collusion’ lie is finally falling apart — but will Americans actually notice?

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Although the Mueller Report has been in the public domain for nearly two months, there’s still a ton of confusion and disinformation around it. The confusion is specifically due to two things: Very few voters have actually read it, and Donald Trump is delighted to exploit that fact. It doesn’t help that Robert Mueller has been more than a little cryptic about his findings — refusing to answer questions or to appear for congressional testimony to clear the air.

Consequently, the president and his Red Hat loyalists continue to repeat the “NO COLLUSION!' lie with very little push-back. The all-caps falsehood gains momentum every time Trump repeats it. Likewise, Bill Barr’s March 24 letter and his subsequent public remarks erroneously confirmed Trump’s lie before anyone, including Congress, was allowed to actually read the report.

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