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Report – Most Federal Judges Warn Jurors About Social Media

Jurors’ Use of Social Media During Trials and Deliberations – A Report to the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, Meghan Dunn, Federal Judicial Center November 22, 2011

  • “Most federal judges have taken steps to ensure that jurors do not use social media to discuss the trial in which they are involved, a recently published survey indicates. The Federal Judicial Center was asked by a committee of the policy-making Judicial Conference of the United States to survey federal judges on the issue. Its report says that 94 percent of the 508 judges who responded said they have specifically barred jurors from any case-connected use of social media. “The most common strategy is incorporating social media use into jury instructions – either the model jury instruction provided by (the Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management) or judges’ own personal jury instructions,” the report said. “Also common are the practice of reminding jurors on a regular basis not to use social media to communicate during trial or deliberations, explaining the reasons behind the ban on social media, and confiscating electronic devices in the courtroom,” the report added. Only 30 of the 508 judges reported instances of detected social media use by jurors during trials or deliberations. The survey questionnaire was sent to all active and senior federal district judges, 952 in all. The response rate was 53 percent.”
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