Should smart phones be banned from the courtroom during trials ? A Kansas judge had to declare a mistrial recently in a murder trial . A local reporter from the Topeka Capital-Journal got permission from the court to use her camera phone to tweet from a murder trial. The reporter was even allowed to take pictures during the trial as long as no images of jurors were taken. A profile of one the jurors was taken. Once that was discovered , the court declared a mistrial.
Smart phone technology is becoming a growing problem for the courts. Juror privacy is one issue that was raised in this case. How about leaking trial testimony to future witnesses via tweets , Facebook, , and video or recordings from smart phones. It also brings the issue of whether phones should be taken from jurors during a trial. It is human nature not to want to discover some facts about a case if a juror feels they need the information.
In the Kansas case , the newspaper should be sanctioned for their negligence. The persons hurt was the victim’s family and the defendant who were both denied their day in court since the trial was continued. A trial should be in a vacuum . No outside information other than what is presented from the witness stand is allowed, but influence seeps in. The courts must deal with these technology issues.