Florida Supreme Court Updates Jury Instructions to Keep Jurors From Tweeting
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The Florida Supreme Court has updated its Standard Jury Instructions to specifically admonish jurors from discussing the cases they are hearing, "in person or through the telephone, writing, or electronic communication, such as a blog, twitter, e-mail, text message, or any other means." Interestingly, the Court has singled out "twitter" by name, but not other popular social media outlets like "Facebook" (although it seems pretty clear that court means to include all such activity.)

Additionally, the court updated the Instructions to specifically admonish jurors from conducting "any investigation of their own. This includes reading newspapers, watching television or using a computer, cell phone, the Internet, any electronic device, or any other means at all, to get information related to this case or the people and places involved in this case. This applies whether you are in the courthouse, at home, or anywhere else. You must not visit places mentioned in the trial or use the Internet to look at maps or pictures to see any place discussed during the trial." (Read the entire decision below.)


As with previous Jury Instructions, this admonition applies only to discussing the facts of the case. It does not explicitly instruct jurors to curtail any other of their (non-case-related) online activities. The information jurors post in their public social media profiles (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) can be excellent indicators of their personal interest, views, likes and dislikes. Many attorneys have found the information in these profiles useful as part of juror research during the selection process.

In our book Find Info Like a Pro, we discuss numerous instances where information lawyers have found in social networking profiles has proven crucial to a case. We also walk you through the process of searching the major social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Classmates, and others for information about specific individuals.

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