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New Ohio app lets users follow state decisions

The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals has released an app that allows users to follow recently released decisions and the court’s oral argument calendar. The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals app permits users to browse or search a list of released decisions, view decisions in PDF format, receive a notification when new decisions are released, review the oral argument calendar, and obtain a notification when the oral argument calendar is updated. The app is free on the Apple App Store and the Android market.

Judge denies defense request to pay for data analysis of social media accounts

A Virginia judge dealt a blow to the defense of a mother accused of abuse and neglect in the death of her 5-year-old son, Noah Thomas. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Bradley Finch denied the defense motion asking the court to pay $14,000 for data analysis of social media comments made about the mother, Ashley White. The analysis would have been part of a defense motion for a change of venue. Defense attorney Kelsey Bulger said many social media comments were “violent and threatening messages that could point to widespread bias in the community that might compromise White’s right to a fair trial.” Noah was found dead in a septic tank near his home in Dublin, Virginia on March 26, 2015.  Read more about the motion.

California Supreme Court to review defense's reach to social media posts

The California Supreme Court is using a 2013 San Francisco murder case to determine when, or whether, defense attorneys can see  witnesses' social media postings to try to discredit their testimony. A 1986 federal law makes the content of “stored electronic communications” confidential, but “allows criminal prosecutors to gain access with a search warrant.”  In September, a state appeals court ruled that “defendants have no right to see electronic communications records before trial, while they are preparing their cases, but could seek access during their trial.”  The ruling upset defense lawyers, who argued “they should have the same access as prosecutors.” Earlier this month the state’s high court unanimously approved to set the ruling aside and review the appeal by defendants. Read more about the complex case.

Man wins lawsuit against Apple for losing honeymoon photos

Deric White, 68 years-old from the United Kingdom, walked into an Apple store to get his iPhone 5 repaired. But during his visit, an Apple “Genius” staff member wiped his phone clean of 15 years’ worth of contacts and all photos and videos stored on his device, including ones from his recent honeymoon. White filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming employees were negligent with his photos and data. The courts ruled in White’s favor awarding him $1,800 in compensation.

Happy New Year!

On behalf of us all at the National Center for State Courts and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, we’d like to wish our subscribers a Happy New Year! May 2016 be prosperous, adventurous, and enlightening!

Social media tip of the month—It’s okay to break from legalese on social media

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