Texas juror gets community service after trying to "friend" defendant

It's hard meeting new people.

In July, a Texas man on jury duty in a Tarrant County civil case tried to Facebook "friend" the defendant and discussed the case on his personal page, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. As a result, Jonathan Hudson, 22, was charged with and pleaded guilty to four counts of contempt of court. Last week, he was sentenced to two days of community service.

"I've never seen this before," prosecutor Chris Ponder said. "But I'm afraid this is a new reality as the technology is so ubiquitous that we'll have these types of things occur."

The trial concerned a 2008 car accident and the defendant, Courtney Downing, notified her lawyer after getting Hudson's friend request on July 18. Downing's lawyer then told the judge, who dismissed Hudson the next morning. The trial went on with 11 jurors.

Hudson apparently felt bad about the whole thing, so he sent Downing a message apologizing and claiming that he thought she was someone else.

He wrote that he was being prosecuted for his actions, adding that he didn't use names or talk about what kind of case it was on his Facebook page, according to the records.

"I pretty much just said I was selected to be on a jury," his Facebook message to her read. "I'm pretty upset over this and I'm sure you guys are too. I guess you know what it feels like to be prosecuted too. Good luck with everything."

Hudson's lawyer, Steve Gordon, said his client "seemed to be a very nice kid who just made a silly mistake."

"It is a reflection of the times," Gordon said. "Most everyone has smartphones now. They can hop on at almost anytime. And there's a lot of down time in jury duty, so what most people do is hop on their phone. But the rules are there for a reason."

The state of Texas recently added new rules barring jurors from discussing cases on social networking sites.