"In sum, to foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights."
The first piece of advice you'll likely hear from any criminal defense attorney is to keep quiet about the charges you face. Whether you did or did not commit the crime you have been accused of, anything you say can be used against you in court.
A unanimous decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals appeared to pave the way for removal of social networking restrictions on convicted sex offenders, until the NC Supreme Court stepped in and reinstated the ban, at least temporarily. According to the Court of Appeals, the restrictions against using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other online communication tools were an unconstitutional restriction on the free speech of those who've been convicted of a sex offense.
Recently, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that it was unconstitutional to ban registered sex offenders from using social media. The law that the court considered was an Indiana state law not unlike North Carolina's own prohibition against the use of sites like Facebook or Twitter by convicted sex offenders.
In our last two blog posts, we discussed a Reuters Legal analysis which revealed Internet access and social media sites are leading a growing number of jurors to engage in misconduct during criminal trials. North Carolina criminal defense attorneys are hopeful this problem can be addressed swiftly, as juror misconduct can deprive defendants of a fair and impartial trial. Today, we will look at how courts are responding to the Internet-related juror misconduct.
In our last blog post, we discussed the disturbing trend of jurors in criminal trials engaging in Internet-related misconduct. Some jurors are choosing to disobey the rules of the courtroom by performing independent research and blogging, tweeting and posting comments on the trial. This is especially troubling to North Carolina criminal defense attorneys, as these activities deprive criminal defendants of a fair trial by impartial juries. Today, we will continue to look at how juries' Internet misconduct can affect criminal trials.
Has the explosion of social media and our culture's obsession with constant connection begun to negatively impact our juries in criminal trials? A Reuters Legal analysis released earlier this month says yes. As Facebooking, blogging and tweeting have become daily necessities for many, jurors are increasingly engaging in Internet-related misconduct. Many, including North Carolina criminal defense attorneys, are disturbed by this troubling report.