California is considering fining jurors who tweet or Google cases

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Jurors in California who decide to tweet about or look up their case on Google might be in for a fine of up to $1,500, if a new bill passes the state legislature.

It's already illegal for jurors to talk about or look up cases they're working on, but until now that law hasn't been enforceable, the Associated Press  reports, with jurors usually just getting a telling-off from the judge.

Legislators in California want to change that, because they say social media and internet searches present more of a problem to trials as more jurors are connected through their smartphones than ever before.


Critics say the measure could discourage people from wanting to serve on juries, and say that judges should question potential jurors about their internet habits and just not pick people who might not stay away from Twitter and Google.


“You want to present the jurors’ obligations to serve as an inviting opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” Brian Walsh, a judge in the Silicon Valley county of Santa Clara, told the news agency. “One could consider it counterproductive to be laying out all the penalties a juror can incur if they blow it.”