Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Twitter In the Courtroom

Adriana C. Cervantes, Hastings Law School, has published Will Twitter Be Following You in the Courtroom?: Why Reporters Should Be Allowed to Broadcast During Courtroom Proceedings, at 33 Hastings Communication & Entertainment Law Journal 133 (2010). Here is the abstract.

Thanks to micro-blogging and social networking tools, we no longer have to pick up a phone to call our friends and ask them what they are doing. Instead we turn to our laptop, BlackBerry, or iPhone to get instant information available to us through the Internet. Twitter is a key player in the Internet information exchange line-up. It has made its way into one of the oldest and most archaic forums: the courtroom. This article will discuss the history of prohibitions against broadcasting in the court, analyze the reasons why reporters should be allowed to use Twitter and other micro-blogging tools in the courtroom, and propose a solution for how their presence can be accounted for in order to maintain order in the court. This topic is significant because the digital era has presented new technology-in-the-court issues. People are entering courtrooms across America carrying electronic digital devices that can access blogging sites within seconds. The current law does not properly address whether reporters should be allowed to tweet, but this trend is becoming more prevalent. Twitter needs to be addressed with our current society in mind; a society wanting instant access to information. Legislatures and courts have both addressed the question of whether court proceedings should be broadcast differently. This note will examine whether broadcasting through websites like Twitter should be allowed during civil and criminal cases so that the public can have instant access to judicial proceedings.

Download the Note from SSRN at the link.

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