My name is Jason and I am a geek. I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching how technology has reshaped society and the practice of law over the last decade. There was a time – not too long ago – when many lawyers swore they would never use email, and now email has become a requirement for attorneys.
The intersection of law and technology has not been without its fender-benders, however. The right to a fair trial as guaranteed by our Sixth Amendment is now under electronic attack by blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking jurors. As Egypt and Tunisia (and soon Bahrain), the Internet and social media make it hard to contain information – the very thing that a fair trial is predicated upon.
I have been commenting on this subject for over a year now and soon the Barry Bonds perjury trial will greatly test this. How can juror #7 restrain himself from tweeting to all his buddies what his one-time boyhood idol is now getting fried on the stand?
I have also been racking my brain to try and figure out a solution. I personally don’t feel that jury instructions prohibiting use of social media by jurors go far enough. One interesting idea that was brought up by Ben Buchwalter in the Legal Blogging group on LinkedIn: Digital Sequestration. Or more succinctly stated: Do Juries Need ‘Digital Sequestration’ to Remain Impartial?
What do you think? Should we now put an electronic moratorium on jurors in high profile cases? Will this contain information and protect the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to fair trial? Or does this go too far and unnecessarily restrict juror’s personal liberties?
 See Not Checking E-Mail Costs Attorney the Right to Arbitrate.