Judiciary Revises Policy Governing Juror Use of Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices
For immediate release: March 17, 2010
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig
The Judiciary has updated its policy regarding jurors’ use of cell phones and other electronic devices in order to continue to safeguard the integrity and security of judicial proceedings against the inappropriate use of electronic devices by jurors and others during trials and jury deliberations.
The policy expands the Judiciary’s 2003 policy regarding jurors’ use of cell phones, pagers and PDAs to include “any device that is capable of providing Internet access and any device that may be used to record or transmit sound or images, whether video images or still image” in courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms and grand jury rooms.
The policy also makes clear that jurors, during their service, are not to disclose information about their experience as a juror through any electronic means and are not to research information about the case, including about participants in the trial.
Jurors are allowed to bring electronic devices with them to use in juror assembly rooms and, subject to the trial judge's instructions, during court recesses. Many jury assembly rooms provide wireless Internet access as a convenience for jurors who have not yet been assigned to a trial.
The courts will continue to provide jurors with a phone number that can be used by family members and others who need to contact them while they are in court.The policy preserves the trial judge's discretion to order additional restrictions on jurors' use of electronic devices during a trial.