CORRECTED at 11:53 a.m. Thursday: Due to an editing error, this item originally said jurors were told they'd get Friday off if they decide Thursday. In fact, and as the judge made clear in court Thursday, the order was for the attorneys' eyes only -- the jurors don't know of the "incentive."
The jury in Oracle v. Google could get a bonus if they reach a verdict Thursday: a day off.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued an order late Wednesday saying that if jurors reach a decision in the copyright phase by the end of Thursday, they can stay home Friday. The second phase -- dealing with patent infringement claims -- would begin Monday morning.
It looks like his honor had a change of heart after telling lawyers on Tuesday they should get ready to move forward with the several-week patent phase of trial as soon as the jury handed up its verdict.
Thursday would mark the third day of deliberations (not counting the few minutes they had Monday). Jurors left at 4 p.m. Wednesday after sending in a couple of notes, including one asking for a DVD player so they could view video evidence. (Presumably, the videos are favorable to Google: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison telling people at a conference that Google's use of Oracle's Java technology in the Android mobile operating system was flattering and a video of Sun employees doing some sort of nifty trick with Android and Java technology at a conference.)
A day off for the jury certainly doesn't mean a break for counsel or the court. There are plenty of legal questions the court needs to deal with, and those could be heard. Alsup asked for counsel to notify him if taking Friday off would create major problems for witnesses.