Juror Misconduct & Criminal Contempt. In California, Tweet and Go to Jail

courtbenches-1 (2).jpgIn an effort to deal with the ever increasing misuse of social media at trial, the California Legislature amended the criminal contempt definition to include juror misconduct as outlined below.

  •  CA Assembly Bill 141.  Signed into law by Gov. Brown on Aug. 5, 2011.  Amends Sections 611, 613, and 1209 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Sections 166, 1122, and 1128 of the Penal Code.
    • Courts must remind jurors “that the prohibition on research, dissemination of information, and conversation applies to all forms of electronic and wireless  communication.”
    • Contempt of court includes “[w]illful disobedience by a juror of a court admonishment related to the prohibition on any form of communication or research about the case, including all forms of electronic or wireless communication or research.”
    • Makes a misdemeanor:  “Willful disobedience by a juror of a court admonishment related to the prohibition on any form of communication or research about the case, including all forms of electronic or wireless communication or research.”
    • Makes violations of the revised statute punishable by up to six months of jail time for criminal contempt.
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About the Editor
Hayes Hunt concentrates his practice in the representation of individuals, corporations and executives in a wide variety of federal and state criminal law and regulatory enforcement matters as well as complex civil litigation. Hayes is a partner in the firm's Commercial Litigation Department as well as its Criminal Defense and Governmental Investigations Group.
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