San Francisco Superior Court has proposed a new rule scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2010, that notifies prospective jurors on the cover sheet of the juror questionnaire that blogging, tweeting, or utilizing the Internet to obtain or share information about their case is prohibited. According to Ann Donlan, the Communications Director for San Francisco Superior Court, "the judges currently admonish jurors from the bench about discussing the case. This [rule] is not to prohibit the use of technology by jurors. This is a rule to (1) provide consistent instructions for jurors in those cases in which a questionnaire is being used and (2) to remind jurors, in writing, of the admonishment not to discuss the case with anyone."
In my opinion, this is a very practical and long overdue rule that I believe should be implemented in some form throughout the entire U.S. court system. The last time I was called for jury duty I noticed that several prospective jurors were utilizing their blackberries and there is no way to know if they were just reading their email or tweeting about their jury duty service.
I would like to thank Ms. Donlan for sending me a copy of the proposed draft rules and providing some insight about them.
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