New Bill Bans Jurors From Electronically Communicating About Cases; Violations are Contempt of Court

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last week that becomes effective January 1, 2012. Known as AB 141, this law codifies the existing rule that jurors are not allowed to "Tweet", text or otherwise engage in any electronic communication with respect to the case on which they are serving. If they disobey this law…for example, by doing research on their "smart phones" to investigate the case…they face a misdemeanor under California's contempt of court laws. If you violate California's contempt of court laws, you face up to six months in a county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Simply put, you violate California's contempt of court laws anytime you fail to obey a court order or disrespect the judicial process. California judges will now be specifically required to inform jurors that any electronic "misconduct" will subject them to these misdemeanor charges.

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