California Jurors may be Sentenced to Jail for Tweeting During Trial

    September 20, 2011

    California jurors who tweet during trial or deliberations can be sentenced to up to six months of jail time, under a new law to be imposed in 2012.

    The new legislation states that trial judges must inform jurors that the prohibition of communication or research about a case includes all forms of electronic or wireless communication or research:

    This bill would expand those admonishments to include the conduct of research or dissemination of information on any subject of the trial. The bill would require the court, when admonishing the jury against conversation, research, or dissemination of information pursuant to these provisions, to clearly explain, as part of the admonishment, that the prohibition applies to all forms of electronic and wireless communication. The bill would require the officer in charge of a jury to prevent any form of electronic or wireless communication.

    According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bill was by prompted by numerous reports about jurors using cell phones and other devices to research cases or contacts.  A similar bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he believed the current warnings to jurors were adequate the ABA reports.

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