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Social media influences jurors

| December 25, 2010 8:00 PM

SANDPOINT - The advent of social media is bringing new instructions to jurors in Idaho.

Bonner County jurors deciding a misdemeanor battery case in magistrate court this month were repeatedly instructed not to discuss or research the matter via Facebook, Twitter, blogs or electronic message boards.

Judge Robert Caldwell's admonishments during the trial are thought to be the first time a Bonner County jury has been instructed to steer clear of social networking sites during recesses, said Mark Johnson, chief bailiff at the Bonner County Courthouse. It was also the first time Bonner County jurors' mobile phones were confiscated when they retired to the jury room to deliberate a verdict, said Johnson.

Specific prohibitions of social media are also showing up in no-contact orders on a routine basis in domestic violence, battery and assault cases, according to Bonner County court documents. Prohibitions against using text messaging and e-mail to contact a protected party have been in place for years.

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