Online research has become ubiquitous. It has reached the point where a judge in one criminal trial issued individual written orders to members of a jury not to conduct any research regarding the defendant. The defendant was charged with murder. The judge had already been burned by a prior trial in which jurors discussed the defendant on their breaks before deliberations. Thiose discussions lead to a mistrial.
So, in a subsequent trial, Florida Judge William Fuente issued the members of a jury pool specific instructions not to conduct any online research about the defendant or to discuss the defendant. But, one member of the jury pool googled the defendant. Another member of the pool outed the offending potential jury member, Vishnu Singh. The researching potential jury member said he did not recall the judge’s instructions, just some "piece of paper." Angry, the judge told Mr. Singh, to provide a valid address with the bailiff and to expect jail time. See ABA Bar Journal report.
A trial is supposed to be all about the evidence. Jurors are specifically told they cannot bring in their own evidence – they must rely on the evidence authenticated and admitted in court. "Googling" the defendant or any other key aspect turns centuries of jurisprudence on its head. But, who has not looked up things online when they had a question?