NOVEMBER 2015

     

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New Media & the Courts Resources

IN THIS ISSUE


Colorado Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Office of the State Court Administrator launch Twitter accounts
Rob McCallum, public information officer

The Colorado Supreme Court (@CoSupremeCourt), Court of Appeals (@CoCourtAppeals) and Office of the State Court Administrator (@CoCourts) are now on Twitter. @CoSupremeCourt will feature case announcements, oral argument schedules, proposed and adopted rule changes, committee actions, events, and other information related to the operation of the Supreme Court. @CoCourtAppeals will Tweet changes to any Court protocols and policies, outreach initiatives and events, and other important information related to the Court of Appeals. @CoCourts will provide information on high-profile cases, press releases, media alerts, closures and delayed openings, judicial vacancies, career opportunities, jury information, and other timely news. Read the full press release.


Chicago lawyer goofs after posting tweets during ‘spoofing’ trial

Vincent Schmeltz, co-chair of a financial and regulatory litigation group in Chicago faces possible punishment for posting nine photos on Twitter during a ‘spoofing’ trial. An FBI agent spotted Schmeltz snapping photos on Oct. 28 in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenwerber. Court officials found the tweets on Schmeltz’s Twitter page (@TraceSchmeltz), each with a caption describing evidence that was displayed during the trial. On the day Schmeltz posted his tweets, there was a four-foot sign posted outside the courtroom that read “PHOTOGRAPHING, RECORDING or BROADCASTING IS PROHIBITED.” Schmeltz claims the posts were part of a “unique civics lesson he wanted his 244 followers to know about.”


Registered sex offenders banned from using social media in North Carolina

The North Carolina Supreme Court has approved a state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from using social networking sites, like Facebook, that minors can join. The court issued an opinion earlier this month that reversed a lower court ruling that found the law unconstitutional. According to Justice Robert Edmunds, “the General Assembly has carefully tailored the statute in such a way as to prohibit registered sex offenders from accessing only those Web sites that allow them the opportunity to gather information about minors.” E-mails and text messages aren’t restricted by the new law. The law was established in hopes of prohibiting sex offenders from “communicating with others through many widely used commercial networking sites.”


Michigan Supreme Court issues website, social media guidelines

The Administrative Office of the Michigan Supreme Court, in conjunction with the Technology Implementation Committee, recently released Michigan Trial Court Standards and Guidelines for Website and Social Media. The document is split into three sections that outlines statewide policy and minimum standards and guidelines a trial court must observe in designing and maintaining a trial court website; provides statewide policy and minimum standards and guidelines a trial court must observe in designing, maintaining, and using a social media site; and assists trial courts in developing its own social media use policy and procedures for its trial court employees, and for contractual employees who have signed a computer acceptable use agreement. See more social media resources for courts.


Juror’s Facebook statuses leads to mistrial

A Queens (New York) juror caused a mistrial after posting on Facebook she was “dying from boredom.” Kimberly Ellis discussed the 2014 robbery case on Facebook as much as twice per day during jury deliberations. In late September, Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis found Ellis in contempt of court and, although Ellis admitted she made a mistake, the judge charged her with a $1,000 fine.

Social media tip of the month—Emoticons can be a court’s best friend


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Please e-mail Deirdre Roesch.