Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Social Media's Popularity Creates Dilemma For Courts

While most judges frown upon jurors' using their smartphones while sitting in the jury box, jurors typically have full access to social media outside the courtroom. The challenge for courts, legal experts say, is enforcing social-media bans during trials—which can last for weeks—at a time when authorities can't even stop some people from risking their lives by sending text messages while driving. 
About two-thirds of adult Internet users say they use social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a Pew Research Center survey last summer. Thaddeus Hoffmeister, an associate professor who researches juries at the University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio, said courts need to acknowledge that "some people just can't stop" using social media.
 There's got to be a better way that draconian jury instructions such as "stay off Facebook".

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