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Judge slams Palm Pilot and Web use in Las Vegas murder case

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A US judge has slammed jurors who revealed murder trial information on the Net and used a Palm Pilot to track press reports on the case.

The trial came to a head on Friday when former stripper Sandra Murphy and her lover Rick Tabish were given life sentences for the murder of casino magnate Ted Binion.

The two were initially found guilty of poisoning and suffocating Binion in May. They were also found guilty of robbing him of $15 million worth of silver coins, which are still believed to be buried in Nevada.

But the defence asked for a retrial when it emerged that one juror had used a Palm Pilot to read press reports of the case. Other jurors had also apparently posted trial information on chatrooms.

But Joseph Bonaventure ruled out a new trial, dismissing the allegations that juror misconduct had affected the ruling, according to Courttv.com.

But he was not impressed by the jurors concerned, and decided to name and shame them in his 12-page ruling.

When some jurors "decide to reveal the sanctity of their deliberations on the Internet for the entire world to see....or bring electronic devices into the jury room that are capable of downloading extraneous material; all of their deserved commendations do not make them immune from the rules of law," he wrote.

Bonaventure named jurors Elmer Glazener, who brought his Palm Pilot into the jury room, and Chris Sowell, who put a lot of information on the deliberation process on CourtTV.com noticeboards. ®

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