Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New California Law Prohibits Jurors' Use of Social Media

Effective January 1, 2012, California jurors who violate a judge's instructions not to use social media or conduct research about the case may be punished with contempt of court, a misdemeanor.  This legislation was passed after several mistrials or near-mistrials occurred over the past several years when jurors have blogged or conducted research or otherwise used social media during trials.  (see my prior posts, below) Former Gov. Schwarzenegger had vetoed prior attempts at such legislation.  See story at http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2011/new-california-law-prohibits-jurors-social-media-use
including a link to the new statute, 2011 Cal. Laws chap.181.

In California it appears that these jury instructions are mandated by statute, not court rule.  Section 1122 of the Penal Code states "(a)...The instructions shall include, among other things, all of the following admonitions...(1)...The court shall clearly explain, as part of the admonishment, that the prohibition on conversation, research, and dissemination of information applies to all forms of electronic and wireless communication." 

Texas also recently amended its jury instructions to mandate admonitions against jurors using Facebook or Twitter during trial. (TRCP 226A)

No comments:

Post a Comment