In a recent post I discussed the gag order some doctors are trying to place
on their patients to prevent them from posting negative information online.
As I mentioned, the Internet is everyone’s playground, and the rules
are few. Now courtrooms are discovering this to be true, as jurors are
dropping hints about trials and their possible outcomes on such social
networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. Easy access to the Internet
by jurors, whether through laptops or cell phones, means many tend to
let slip information that attorneys and judges would prefer be kept in
This article discusses instances where the Internet or Tweeting and Facebook status
updates caused some problems, including one trial that was declared a
mistrial because the judge discovered more than half the jury had conducted
online research about the trial, even after being instructed to avoid
media about the case. Many attorneys believe judges need to be clearer
in their instructions to juries and to specify that not discussing the
case means not discussing it in person or online.
So, jurors beware and be careful what you tweet!