Oregon Adopts Social Media Jury Instruction

Last year I blogged about a new jury admonition adopted by Ohio on the use of social media.  With today’s release of the 2010 Supplement to the Uniform Civil Jury Instructions (UCJI), Oregon is the latest jurisdiction to explicitly address this issue.  Due to copyright privileges, I am not able to reproduce the new language here, but I can give you an overview.  Revised UCJI 5.01 specifically directs jurors to refrain from:

  • Searching the Internet, Web sites, or blogs
  • Using other electronic tools to get information about the case
  • Communicating by cell phone, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, Twitter, blogs, Web sites, chat rooms, Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, YouTube, or any other social networking site

The instruction goes on to make some interesting comments about why the law limits these forms of communication.  I encourage you to read it.  A 2010 supplement to the Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions (UCrJI) is still in progress, but presumably UCrJI No. 1004 will be similarly strengthened.  The current criminal instruction contains a brief admonishment against such communications.

The Uniform Civil Jury Instructions and Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions are included in BarBooks and therefore free to all Oregon lawyers.  You can access the revised civil instruction now via BarBooks.  If you prefer the traditional hard copy version, you can pre-order either or both at the Oregon State Bar Legal Publication Bookstore.  

Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis

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