Originally published in the Mississippi Bar Litigation Section Newsletter - May 2012.
A United States congressman, confronted with his own sexual exhibitionism, surrenders his office. A popular entertainer, frustrated with a concert review from a local column, utters incendiary, homophobic accusations. A well-known critic’s wry remark following a tragic automobile accident sparks controversy. And it all happens in the same week.
That’s right. In the span of just four days (June 16-20, 2011), Rep. Anthony Weiner, singer Cee Lo Green, and film critic Roger Ebert were front-page news and latenight talk show fodder. Their public careers were marred — or even derailed — as a result of “140 characters or less” postings on their personal microblog (Twitter) accounts.
These increasingly common indiscretions highlight a disturbing trend, one that reaches all the way to the jury box. Was it really two years ago that popular Today show personality Al Roker came under fire for publishing photographs of his jury duty experience on his Twitter account? Mr. Roker’s postings were limited to initial selection and the jury lounge. Unfortunately, many others are not. They have seeped into the courtroom itself, compounding problems with the integrity of an embattled judicial process. In December 2010, Reuters Legal, working in conjunction with Westlaw, described the following...
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