Juror caught texting, jailed

The Associated Press
Published Apr 19, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

SALEM — A judge noticed an unexpected glow on a juror’s chest while the courtroom lights were dimmed during video evidence in an armed-robbery trial.

The juror, it seemed, was texting.

Marion County Circuit Judge Dennis Graves cleared the courtroom and excused all jurors except 26-year-old Benjamin Kohler.

Jurors in Oregon are given explicit instructions at the outset of each trial not to use cellphones in court.

Graves held Kohler in contempt, and Kohler spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday in the county jail. He was released Wednesday night.

An alternate juror took his place. Sheriff’s spokesman Don Thomson said the trial ended Thursday with the defendant found guilty.