Florida Jurors Banned From Blogging About Criminal Cases

    June 14, 2012

    The Florida Supreme Court does want any jurors in criminal cases to use social media to discuss their cases, Law.com reports.

    The high court recently adopted the work of its Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases. Trial judges must tell jurors they “must not use electronic devices or computers to talk about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, emailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other means at all.”

    The instructions against the use of social media are essentially the same as originally introduced in October 2010. There are now several versions, each tailored to the different phases of jury participation. The latest includes an instruction to be given just before jury instructions and another when the case is submitted to the jury for deliberations.

    A 2010 Reuters Legal survey found at least 90 verdicts subject to challenge from 1999 to 2010 because of internet-related juror misconduct, according to Law.com. More than half the cases cited occurred from 2008 to 2010. Despite instructions, jurors continue to misuse Google and their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

    Florida’s Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases can be found on the Florida Supreme Court website.

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