Juror's Online Research Leads to Murder Reversal

Sep 19, 2014
Research by a juror in a Pennsylvania trial which uncovered the defendant's prior involvement with the law has led a judge to order a new trial in a murder case in which the defendant has been on death row since 2007.

This marks the second known time that a murder conviction has been overturned because of a juror's online research, although in that case the reversal was also based on a juror who fell asleep during the trial. See Erickson Dimas-Martinez v. State, 2011 Ark. 515, 385 S.W.3d 238 (2011).

Prosecutor's Exclusive Access to Courtroom Cameras a Problem

Aug 27, 2014
Criminal defense attorneys in Warren County, Ohio are objecting to a closed-circuit video and audio system that allowed Prosecuting Attorney David Fornshell to observe trials from three courtrooms at his desk, the ABA Journal reports, citing articles from the Cincinnati Inquirer and the Dayton Daily News.

Jury's Still Out on Juror Internet Use

Aug 4, 2014
A recently-released report from the Federal Judicial Center says that in a survey of 494 federal trial judges (48 percent of all 1,021 sitting federal trial judges), only 33 of the judge (seven percent of respondents) reported that they were aware of instances of juror use of social media to communicate during trials or deliberations in their courts

Should a Judge Blog? And Tell the Supreme Court to Shut the F--- Up?

Jul 8, 2014
U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Kopf -- who I mentioned in my previous post on the availability of federal courts' audio recordings of their proceedings -- has gotten into a bit of hot water for a post on his personal blog criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Limiting Damage of EU Privacy Ruling

Jun 26, 2014
Google has began implementing a decision (summary) by the European Court of Justice requiring search engines to honor requests to remove links to online information about individuals that is "no longer necessary in the light of the purposes for which they were collected or processed," under the European concept of "the right to be forgotten." And it has done so in a way that limits the damage to the internet as a source of information.

Credential Decision Circles the Wagons

Jun 24, 2014
Back when I was a lawyer in Washington, D.C. -- for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press -- I received an invitation to "cover" President Clinton's announcement of his nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court. When I arrived at the White House gate, I had to wait a bit while the Secret Service checked my ID. As I waited, members of the regular White House press corps arrived, and tried to flash their access passes and get through the checkpoint. When they were delayed because of the line of non-regulars like me, they got upset and belligerent.  They yelled, and banged on the glass windows of the booth. Eventually they -- and I -- got in for the press conference.

I'm reminded of this incident because of the recent decision by the Standing Committee of Correspondents of the Senate Press Gallery denying Senate press credentials to SCOTUSblog.com. Both incidents reveal an "insider," "us-versus-them" attitude of the established press towards other sources of news: an attitude that is increasingly anachronistic in the modern media age.

Sixth Circuit Finally Ends the Chill

Jun 16, 2014
In 2012, the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a lawsuit against a web site over comments posted by users to proceed to trial. Now the same court has held that a federal law bars such suits, a position that it rejected two years ago.

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