January 2017


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New Media & the Courts Resources


Pennsylvania debating when to turn over social media discovery

To withhold social media evidence or not to withhold, that is the question Pennsylvania courts are asking when addressing discovery disclosure. According to the Legal Intelligencer, “Three decisions out of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas came down recently, all of which deny efforts by defendants who had sought to withhold their social-media-related findings until after the plaintiffs had been deposed.” Attorneys on both sides are arguing when social media evidence should be revealed. On one side, attorneys are saying social media posts should be reported at the beginning of the discovery process. The other side is trying to protect social media evidence from being turned over because they want to wait and use social media to contradict what witnesses are going to say during depositions.

Live tweeting to be permitted in Nebraska courtrooms

The Nebraska Supreme Court has overturned a 1992 rule that prohibited broadcasting, recording and photographing and live tweeting of judicial proceedings by the media. The Journal Star reports the new rule goes into effect March 1 and says “expanded media coverage shall be permitted in county and district courtrooms in Nebraska, with limited exceptions such as juvenile court, grand juries and jury selection.”

Massachusetts opinion advises judges on rules of Twitter

Massachusetts’ Committee on Judicial Ethics issued an opinion in November advising judges about how to use Twitter. While state judges are allowed to have a Twitter account, they must use it responsibly in order to maintain the image of objectivity. The opinion states judges must be sure their use complies with the judicial code of conduct: “These include the obligations to uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary; promote public confidence in the judiciary; avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in one's professional and personal life; maintain the dignity of judicial office; avoid abuse of the prestige of the judicial office; refrain from political activity; and conduct all personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.” 

New app allows teenagers to get quick legal information

The Florida Bar has produced a new app, #JustAdulting, that provides teens with legal information they need while making their “transition to adulthood.” Young adults can obtain information on a slew of issues – from employment and voting rights to texting and driving and social media harassment. The app lists topics A-to-Z and by most popular subject matter.

The benefits of reposting the same social media content

The Michigan Supreme Court is following a social media standard many organizations may not be aware of — it’s okay to repost the same content multiple times. Reposts not only bring you more traffic, hit multiple time zones, and reach your new followers, they allow you to share valuable information with your followers time and time again. Since the release of their guide, “Michigan Trial Court Standards and Guidelines for Websites and Social Media,” the Michigan Supreme Court has promoted the information to their followers on their Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Their most recent tweet, released in late December, read: “Should your court be on social media?” Take a look at the useful guide, SHARE the information with your followers, and let us know what you think.

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