Public access to electronic information seems like a good thing, especially in the area of courts and court records. With more and more courts allowing public users online access to court records, court opinions, forms, legal research and other such information, the push for more electronic access seems the logical and correct way to go.
It seems however, that there is such a thing as too much electronic access in the court arena. Recent news articles highlight the issue of jurors using twitter to send instant reports during jury proceedings as well as jurors using facebook to not only communicate during trial but to “friend” each other and other parties to the court proceedings.
Unfortunate instances such as these could well bring a ban on electronic devices during court sessions, especially when jurors are involved. It seems like such a ban is inevitable given the flagrant nature of some jurors’ involvement with outside sources during trial deliberations, including doing outside research despite specific prohibitions on such behavior.
One can only hope that this doesn’t lead to further tightening of other public access to court information.