Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Social Networks The Courts The Internet

Courts Move To Ban Juror Use of Net, Social Sites 288

Posted by kdawson
from the tell-no-one dept.
coondoggie passes along a NetworkWorld report on the pronouncement of a judicial conference committee recommending that trial judges specifically instruct jurors not to use any electronic communications devices or sites during trial and deliberations. Here's the committee report (PDF). "If you think you're going to use your spanking new iPhone to entertain yourself next time you're on jury duty, think again. Judges are going to take an even dimmer view of jury member use of Blackberry, iPhone, or other electronic devices as a judicial policy-setting group has told district judges they should restrict jurors from using electronic technologies to research or communicate. ... The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, or communicate through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Courts Move To Ban Juror Use of Net, Social Sites

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:29AM (#31006878)

    Maybe that's so but it still feels like the little boy with a finger in the dyke - I know, I know times have changed and that means something quite different now ;)

    Actually, "dyke" has always been a slang term for a lesbian. The word you were looking for is "dike".

  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:41AM (#31006948)
    I can't imagine call phones or networked computers are allowed for a sequestered jury anyway

    Here in Western Australia, the courts "ask" you to surrender your phone. Doesn't even matter if it doesn't have a camera.
  • by coaxial (28297) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:57AM (#31007050) Homepage

    This seems to be about recommending that ALL jurors refrain from accessing these social networks, etc. But I can't see how it's practical outside of the courtroom or deliberation. They can "instruct" the jurors all they want not to go online for the length of the trial, but that's not going to stop too many people...

    The rules aren't any different than the current rules for jurors. You're not allowed to discuss the case, and refrain from news about it. This is just updating the rules for the 21st century.

  • Re:Uninformed Jury (Score:4, Informative)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:00AM (#31007074)

    Third, you do not have the right to nullify a trial, it is illegal to do so.

    to put it politely, bollocks... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Xeno man (1614779) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:16AM (#31007172)
    Yea, you tell them. I love masturbating and if I had to stop for days or even weeks because I was on a jury, I'd probably shoot up the place...wait, what ingrained habits were you referring to again?
  • by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:23AM (#31007222) Homepage Journal

    Exactly, unfortunately most people here need to RTFA.

    The suggested instructions specifically inform jurors that they are prohibited from using these technologies in the courtroom, in deliberations, or outside the courthouse to communicate about or research cases on which they currently serve, the group stated.

    There are a lot of comments below that are obviously by people who did not read that.

  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:53AM (#31007382) Homepage

    But, as with so many other new laws, why is it even necessary when there are already laws in place?

    The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, or communicate through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

    So that would be "You're not allowed to discuss the case, and refrain from news about it" with the extra clarification of "using any technology available, whether it existed at the time the law was drafted or not". That's still "You're not allowed to discuss the case, and refrain from news about it", whichever way you look at it. Unless someone was completely short-sighted in drafting the original law then these rewrites seem pointless and overly verbose purely for the sake of having another law.

  • by deniable (76198) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:40AM (#31007904)
    It was all electronics/recording devices the last time I had jury duty. You used to have to hand them to the Sheriff's officer as you went in to the box, but now it's only if you're actually empaneled. There was no 'ask,' it was a 'must' for us. I've gone three times, into the room four, into the box once and got challenged. They seem to change the setup every time. The last time they'd moved the court.
  • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:59AM (#31008002)
    Wrong, oh so wrong. A distinctively US mistake, I suspect, that I hear results in this bunch [blackdykeband.co.uk] getting some very strange correspondence.
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:09AM (#31008636) Journal

    From TFA, I believe it's only talking about using these things to discuss or research the case ("The suggested instructions specifically inform jurors that they are prohibited from using these technologies in the courtroom, in deliberations, or outside the courthouse to communicate about or research cases on which they currently serve, the group stated."), and not a blanket ban (which would be absurd and draconian).

    Although the article is rather badly worded - the paragraph "The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone ..." could imply a blanket ban, especially when taken out of context.

    A blanket ban in courtrooms isn't unreasonable too - although they'd better have secure storage facilities, and be fully liable for all costs if something goes missing.

    (Oh, and I guess I'm allowed to use my Nokia 5800 then, since it's not a Blackberry or Iphone.)

  • by jimbolauski (882977) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:21AM (#31008738) Journal

    This seems to be about recommending that ALL jurors refrain from accessing these social networks, etc. But I can't see how it's practical outside of the courtroom or deliberation. They can "instruct" the jurors all they want not to go online for the length of the trial, but that's not going to stop too many people...

    All that the committee is saying is that jurors can't use electronic media in the court house and can not use electronic media to research or discuss the case outside the courtroom.

  • by LordKronos (470910) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:37AM (#31008882) Homepage

    Juries do not need to research their "rights" while a trial is on, they should be concentrating on the evidence in court, and if there is a point of law or something, they should ask the judge.

    One of the "rights" of a juror is that of jury nullification. Though it is quite controversial, the history of common law and most of US legal precedent suggests it exists. However, if you ask a judge about this they will explicitly tell you that it doesn't exist.

  • by japhering (564929) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:13AM (#31010024)

    Yeah, I'm certainly not going to agree to being sentenced to weeks of solitary confinement without having myself been accused of a crime. Even prisoners get to receive visitors and make phone calls.

    Watch out, refusing to serve jury duty is punishable by jail time ...

    No jury would convict on that!

    In Texas, it is defined as contempt of court and only requires the judge to sentence you.. no trial involved.

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

Working...