Trial judges are now required to order jurors not to use phones or other electronic devices while in trial or in deliberations. Would it be right to tweet about the latest happenings if you were on the jury, the judge, or even worse the defending attorney? At what great lengths does society need to put the breaks on social media applications? Being bored in such a scenario isn’t enough of a reason to be negligent, which could lead to a mistrial.
Googling for background info on a case is the legal equivalent of clearly crossing the line. Jurors need to utilize the facts presented in a trial, not base their opinions upon outside influences. When a judge interviewed the other jurors, he discovered that in total, nine of the 12 had been Googling after hours. Some were even found to post updates on their Facebook pages. This habit of gathering more information has clearly crossed the line.
Reality TV, TMZ, TV court shows have given the public a free look inside courtrooms. The line has clearly blurred between irresponsible access and even understanding the implications of such behavior. The advantage one side would have over the other to directly communicate with the jury directly without big brother watching is too far. A little common sense about who could read it, the media, the judge, the other party in the case, other lawyers, other victims, are really the ones getting hurt from too much access and the inability to know when to put down the smartphone.