Social Media

Is It Enough to Tell Jurors Not to Tweet?

The Arkansas Supreme Court has reversed a murder conviction – and death sentence – in a case where one juror tweeted during trial, while another fell asleep. Both these problems, the court said, constituted juror misconduct requiring reversal and a new trial. Erickson Dimas-Martinez v. State, 2011 Ark. 515 (Dec. 8, 2011).

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Live Tweeting from the ‘Restaurant of Broken Dreams’

When web developer Andy Boyle overheard a couple discussing their marital woes in a Burger King in Boston on Nov. 7, he immediately recognized the entertainment value and began tweeting a play-by-play.

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Tell Us, Judge Posner, Who Watches the Watchmen?

In what is now their widely publicized exchange, U

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The War on Terror, 'Material Support,' and the First Amendment

The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of organizations it believes engage in terrorist activity, and under federal law it is illegal to provide material support to them.

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Los Terroristas de Twitter?

Imagine you live in a country where criminal attacks on civilians are alarmingly familiar, and reliable reporting from the local media is regrettably unfamiliar.  You hear about an attack on your local school, so you take to the Internet to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter to warn people before it's too late.  Mercifully, the report you heard was mistaken, and everything's okay...

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Zen and the Constitutionality of Twitter 'Cyberstalking'

If you thought a spat between Buddhists couldn't devolve into a federal cyberstalking case of dubious constitutionality, consider the following.

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New California Law Prohibits Jurors' Social Media Use

UPDATE: Two years after the law went into effect, California's Judicial Council recommended that the statute be repealed, saying that that the possibility of criminal sanctions actually impeded courts' inquiries into improper online activity by jurors. The criminal provisions were repealed in 2014, 2014 Cal. Laws chap. 99, although civil penalties remain.

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BART Phone Blackout: Did the S.F. Transit Agency Violate Free Speech Protections? Part 2

This is the second half of an analysis of the free speech issues implicated by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)'s shutdown of mobile phone service on Aug. 11 in order to prevent scheduled protests.  The first part of the blog is available here.

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BART Phone Blackout: Did the S.F. Transit Agency Violate Free Speech Protections?

When the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut down cell phone service at various train platforms on Aug.

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Announcing OpenCourt

It is a fundamental principle of the United States legal system that courts should be open to the public.  This principle is widely regarded as more aspirational than factual, because of numerous practical barriers to courtroom access -- not the least of which is that most of us do not have the time or ability to travel to the court to witness proceedings in person.  While the news media report on judicial proceedings,

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