Access to Courts

Opening Up the Federal Court System, One Filing at a Time

Anyone who has spent even a few minutes looking for case documents in the federal courts knows what a crusty old system the federal government provides for searching and accessing filings in U.S.

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New York Attorneys Want Devices in Federal Court, But Only for Themselves

Attorneys in New York are hot and heavy (or should that be a-Twitter?) over rules being drafted by the Southern District of New York's Ad Hoc Committee on Cell Phones that may place severe restrictions on bringing electronic devices into the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan.

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Michigan High Court Sends Message to Tweeters

I blogged several weeks ago about recent cases in which jurors have caused a stir by using social media such as Twitter to communicate about their jury service.  Taking the issue on proactively, the Michigan Supreme Court has adopted a new rule requiring judges to admonish jurors to not use electronic communication devices during trial, and not to use them during breaks to comment or conduct research on the c

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Web of Justice?: Jurors' Use of Social Media

At the start of a trial, the judge usually reads to jurors general instructions about how the trial will proceed. The instructions also tell jurors how they should behave during the trial, including the admonition that they should not discuss the case with others, including both trial participants and outsiders.

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First Circuit Webcasting Argument Stems From Long History of Rules on Cameras in Courts

On Wednesday, April 8, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston heard oral argument (mp3) on whether a trial of a Boston University student sued for music downloading, Sony BMG Music v. Tenenbaum, should be allowed to be webcast live. Federal district judge Nancy Gertner had agreed to allow the webcast, but the recording industry plaintiffs appealed.

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Mistrial by iPhone, New Technologies Present Challenges in the Courtroom

While we are generally in favor of allowing new technologies into the courtroom (e.g., live blogging, webcasts, Twitter, etc.)  in order to make it easier for the public to monitor the functioning of our court systems, sometimes technology can be taken too far. 

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Twitter Moves to Federal Court

The fights over whether blogging ought to be allowed during trials -- and whether it's good journalism -- aren't even over, and a new front has opened in the war over technology and its proper role in coverage of the justice system.

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Live-blogging journalism? You betcha. It's just not always good journalism.

As a young journalist, I remember listening with interest to colleagues recounting long-ago fights for the right to bring cameras into the court room. And while that battle hasn't been won everywhere, it appears nevertheless to be giving way to a new wave of concerns.

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Live Blogging in the Courtroom, Is It Journalism?

One of the recurring themes I've discovered in my reading assignments for law school is that judges are, by and large, not technologically savvy.  Far from it, in fact.  Thus, it was of great interest to me to find an ABA Journal article about U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, who recently allowed a journalist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette to blog live during the a tax fraud trial in his Sioux City, Iowa, court.

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Judge Gertner Postpones Webcast of Hearing in P2P File Sharing Case

United States District Court Judge Nancy Gertner has postponed what would have been the first live webcast of a federal court hearing scheduled for tomorrow in order to give the plaintiffs in the case an opportunity to seek appellate review of her decision allowing video cameras into her Boston courtroom. 

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