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Tweets from the jury box: jurors using Twitter jeopardize trials

In one case, a juror divulged a verdict on Twitter before it was announced. Now, some judges are trying to manage how members of the jury use Twitter.

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During the trial of an Arkansas lumber supplier In February, one of the jurors tweeted his buddies that they should stay away from that product: "It's bad mojo," he thumbed, "and they'll probably cease to exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter."

During a four-month-long political corruption trial in Philadelphia earlier this year, one juror was found to have been updating his Twitter account almost daily, at one point posting: "Stay in touch for a big announcement on Monday everyone."

And as reporters in Tuscaloosa, Ala., try out their new micro-blogging accounts this week to cover the high-profile trial of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, who faces federal corruption charges, defense attorney Michael Rasmussen says he's worried about jurors also taking to the Internet to research the case or send tweets to their friends.

Indeed, in an age of citizen journalism and Web publishing, a growing number of jurors are tapping away at their BlackBerries and iPhones from the jury box and the deliberation room – potentially putting trial outcomes into jeopardy.


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