Oct 28, 2010

Florida Updates its Jury Instructions

The Florida Supreme Court has joined the handful of other states that have officially changed their standard jury instructions to account for new technologies such as Twitter, Facebook and text messaging.  The changes were first proposed by the court several months ago.  See
In Re: Standard Jury Instructions (Civil) And (Criminal), Juror’s Use Of Electronic Devices, Case No. SC10-51 (Fla. 2010).

The revised criminal instructions state in part,

... In this age of electronic communication, I want to stress that you must not use electronic devices or computers to talk about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, e-mailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other means at all. Do not send or accept any messages, including e-mail and text messages, about your jury service. You must not disclose your thoughts about your jury service or ask for advice on how to decide any case.

After you are called to the courtroom, the judge will give you specific instructions about these matters. A judge will tell you when you are released from this instruction. All of us are depending on you to follow these rules, so that there will be a fair and lawful resolution of every case.


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