Today is the first time I heard that courts have having problems with jurors using Twitter during trials. Am I surprised? Not one bit. Is it concerning? Yes.
The article mentions that most of the messages sent via this form of "microbloging" are innocuous, and are simply jurors saying that they are bored during trials. There was one case in Philadelphia this week in which the juror twittered that a decision was reached in a high profile case and there would be an "announcement on Monday."
Jurors are ignoring (or simply not listening to) the Court’s instructions not to discuss the case with anyone.
Should jury instructions be revised to include a non-twitter policy?
There is discussion now that jury instructions need to be updated to inform jurors that they cannot discuss the facts of the case on the Internet. I think a judge should probably admonish the jurors about posting anything on the Internet about the case during proceedings is strictly forbidden given how pervasive Web 2.0 has become. As for jurors who think they can get away with this are mistaken, and it still amazes me about how many people seem to forget that everything they do on the Internet is recorded – forever.
Take away for lawyers:
If you were the attorney presenting when the juror posted that he/she was bored – time to reevaluate your case theme and trial presentation skills.