Patterico's Pontifications

3/7/2010

No Tweeting Allowed

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 6:26 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

What’s the newest problem America’s courts face? Juror tweeting and other electronic communications:

“Enough with the tweets, the blogs, the Internet searches.

That’s the message being communicated by courts across the country as jurors using their portable electronic devices continue to cause mistrials, overturned convictions and chaotic delays in court proceedings.”

The Denver Post lists three instances where juror conduct disrupted or halted legal proceedings:

• Last year, a San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed 600 potential jurors after several acknowledged going online to research the criminal case before them.

• Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon challenged her misdemeanor embezzlement conviction after discovering five jurors “friended” one another on Facebook during the trial.

• A federal judge in Florida declared a mistrial after eight jurors admitted Web surfing about a drug case.

New technology brings new problems, and it may take the courts time to catch up.

— DRJ

7 Responses to “No Tweeting Allowed”

  1. The Same happened with cell phones when they came out the parliament in Israel had to put special transmitters just to block the signal because people were walking out during the nations debates.I personally believe that the only communications in a courtroom should be police radios

    Roezer (123a3f)

  2. Even my rural courthouse prohibits cell phones and the like. Never occurred to me that wasn’t common (for potential jurors anyway).

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  3. New technology brings new problems, and it may take the courts time to catch up.

    Indeed, how can we hope to have justice if the courts are not allowed to make every juror as ignorant and stupid as the courts and the attorneys themselves?

    😀

    IgotBupkis (79d71d)

  4. Indeed, how can we hope to have justice if the courts are not allowed to make every juror as ignorant and stupid as the courts and the attorneys themselves?

    obviously, we need more wise latinas in the judicial system….. 😀

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  5. How smart are judges if they can’t think to confiscate all electronic devices before the proceedings start?

    Geez, it is government of the morons, by the morons, for the morons.

    AD - RtR/OS! (3a472f)

  6. DRJ,

    What similar provisions prevent judges – in those trials where the defendant has chosen a judge instead of a jury – from doing much the same things? Haven’t they always?

    ras (88eebb)

  7. In the cases where jurors looked up stuff, were they not told not to do so? Heck, I have seen, in movies from the 1930s, a judge instructing jurors not to read newspapers or listen to the radio.

    But tossing out prospective jurors for having tried to keep informed about the news, well, that is a very grey area.

    John A (56ba4c)


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