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New California Law Bans Jurors’ Texting, Tweeting About Cases

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Apple iPhone 3GS

An Apple iPhone 3GS (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — A new state law clarifies that jurors are prohibited from texting, tweeting and using smart phones to discuss or research cases.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar also clarifies that jurors cannot use electronic or wireless communications to contact court officials. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB141 on Friday.

The bill adds to existing jury instructions. It specifies that jurors consider only facts presented to them in court without doing their own research or communicating outside the jury room.

The system’s Judicial Council said jurors’ use of electronic devices has become “an increasingly significant threat to the integrity of the justice system.”

The law, which takes effect in January, makes it a misdemeanor for jurors to use electronic or wireless devices to research or communicate with others.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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