Jury Instructions on Social Media (And Google Earth!)

Another example of how courts are modifying jury instructions to specifically address the nuances of modern technology.  The Northern District of Iowa has jury instructions that do an excellent job of tackling enough specific situations without being so broad as to numb the juror listening to the charge.  For example, the jury instructions state that jurors should not:

. . . use any electronic device or media, such as the telephone, a cell or smart phone, Blackberry, PDA, computer, the Internet, any Internet service, any text or instant messaging service, any Internet chat room, blog, or website such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or Twitter, to communicate to anyone any information about this case until I accept your verdict.

The instructions go on to address jury research during the case, and actually specifies that jurors may not use “Internet maps or Google Earth or any other program or device” to search for information about the case.

A copy of the instructions are linked below and will be added to the Social Media Research Repository, which now includes around 23 different jury instructions that address social media and technology.

Jury Inst. N.D. Iowa

Michigan State Courts’ Jury Instructions on Social Media

South Carolina Jury Instructions on Social Media

Model Jury Instructions Deal With Social Media In the Courtroom

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Provided that you’re not currently serving jury duty, you can follow me on Twitter @MollyDiBi

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