New Jersey Model Jury Instructions Amended to Specifically Keep Jurors From Tweeting
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Florida's not the first jurisdiction to clarify its Model Jury Instructions to include specific language barring jurors from discussing the cases they are hearing via social media like Twitter and Facebook. In May 2010, the New Jersey state courts amended their Model Civil Jury Instruction 1.11C to include "added reference to Use of the Internet and other electronic media." While Florida's Standard Jury Instruction 3.13 ("Submitting Case to Jury") deals primarily with jurors' communications with others, the New Jersey Rule goes one step further in admonishing jurors to additionally not use the Internet to conduct research about the case.

It states:

You should not review or seek out information about the issues in the case, the parties, the attorneys or the witnesses, either in traditional formats such as newspapers, books, advertisements, television or radio broadcasts or magazines or through the internet or other computer research. ... You should not go on the Internet or participate in or review any websites, Internet “chat rooms” or “blogs” nor should you seek out photographs or documents of any kind that in any way relate to this case.

Also going one step beyond Florida's amended Jury Instructions which mentions only "Twitter" by name, the amended New Jersey Instruction names numerous specific social media services through which jurors should not communicate - in addition to a general restriction from using social media services to discuss the cases they're hearing.

The New Jersey Instruction states:

You also should not attempt to communicate with others about the case, either personally or through computers, cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, personal electronic and media devices or other forms of wireless communication.

Read the full text of New Jersey amended Model Civil Jury Instruction 1.11C below.

New Jersey Model Civil Jury Instruct 1-11C

h/t to Molly DiBianca for the heads up on the New Jersey amendment.



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