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Updated instructions aim to prevent social media use during trial

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Federal judges have new guidelines for keeping Twitter and Facebook out of the jury box.

A Judicial Conference Committee has issued an updated model set of jury instructions that federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases during a trial.

The update comes in response to a national survey of federal trial judges by the Federal Judicial Center at the request of the Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management.

These new guidelines include the judges’ recommendation that jurors be reminded daily about the restriction on social media. Also, the jurors should be told why refraining from the use of social media promotes a fair trail and what the consequences will be for violating the ban.

In addition, the guidelines stress to jurors that if they become aware of another juror violating these instructions, they must inform the judge.

 

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