may 2016

     

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New Media & the Courts Resources

IN THIS ISSUE


California jurors could face $1,500 fine for using Internet

A proposed law in California would authorize judges to fine jurors up to $1,500 for using the Internet or social media during a trial. Currently, judges warn jurors against using social media and the Internet and have the power to hold them in contempt if they violate the rules. According to NCSC Knowledge and Information Analyst Greg Hurley, this would be a first. He is “unaware of any state that fines jurors outside the contempt of court process.” The bill could affect the juror vetting process. Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies states, “If you have an Internet addict who just can’t psychologically stop, you may want to excuse that person.” Read more about the proposed law in the Los Angeles Daily News.


Two states add guidance about use of social media to Codes of Judicial Conduct

West Virginia and New Mexico are the first states to add explicit references to social media to their codes of judicial conduct, according to an article in the recent issue of Judicature, authored by Cynthia Gray, director of NCSC's Center for Judicial Ethics. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals included the following language: “The same Rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct that govern a judicial officer’s ability to socialize and communicate in person, on paper or over the telephone also apply to the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook.” The New Mexico Supreme Court added wording to its Code that urges judges and judicial candidates “to exercise extreme caution in its (social media) use so as not to violate the Code.” Judicature says: “These admonitions may seem to state the obvious, but the number of judges who have gotten in trouble for careless conduct on Facebook suggests that emphasis is necessary.”


U.K. teens filming crimes for social media might receive harsher punishment

A proposed law in the United Kingdom states young offenders could face tougher punishments if they film their crimes in order to post them on social media. According to an article in the Telegraph, “judges and magistrates would be expected to take the use of technology in offending into account when dealing with children and teenagers.” The proposal, published by the Sentencing Council, comes after two 15-year-old girls “brutally attacked Angela Wrightson, 39, while posting pictures and comments about their assault on the photo sharing app, Snapchat.”  Sentencing Council Chairman Lord Justice Treacy said, “We want to ensure that young people who have committed offenses are sentence fairly and proportionally, with the primary aim of stopping them reoffending.”


Former mayor's old Facebook page must be reactivated

A former mayor's personal Facebook page is public record, a New Mexico court has declared. Now Susie Galea, former mayor of Alamogordo, New Mexico, must reactivate her Facebook account to see if there is any public information on it. According to the Alamogordo Daily News, "the city previously denied an individual's request to examine the Facebook page set up by Susie Galea, who resigned as Alamogordo's mayor in December 2015."


What’s new on NCSC’s Social Media & the Courts

We’ve updated and redesigned our list of state courts with social media accounts.

Here’s what’s new since June 2015:

View the complete list of Administrative Offices of the Courts using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr here.


Social media tip of the monthGifs are in. Words are out.

Note to court social media staff: GIFS are in. WORDS are out. A great gif resource is www.giphy.com, where you can search for gifs, aka animated images, to post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. #NCSCSM101


We welcome suggestions for future content and feedback on current issues.
Please e-mail Deirdre Roesch.