As an article in the Media Law Prof Blog reveals, the problem of jurors tweeting either during trial proceedings or recess is not solely a problem for U.S. courts. As you may recall, this issue has been covered in tech and legal blogs since at least early February. Here is an article from CNN on the topic. I wrote an article here entitled, “Will Model Jury Instructions Stop Twittering Jurors?” That article described efforts being made to answer a call from the federal bench to draft new model jury instructions to curb to growing tide of twittering in the courtroom. To my knowledge, as of today, those model instructions are not complete.
Meanwhile, research from the Institute for Advanced Studies, Glasgow, Scotland has concluded:
Despite jury instructions designed to prevent jurors from commenting upon the trial, their deliberations or the process by which they reached a verdict, some have ignored these instructions and face the risk of prosecution…In the past few years following an explosion in the use of blogging, microblogging via mobile technologies (i.e. Twitter) and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, there have been reports of juror impropriety and this has led to concerns being raised by many, including the Lord Chief Justice.
Have any of you out there – lawyers, court workers, or jurors – noticed this sort of behavior in any proceedings you have attended. If so, please report them here. If you would like to read the full research report from Glasgow, you can link to Media Law Prof here.