Law criminalizing juror electronic use repealed

The Associated PressJuly 8, 2014 

— Jurors who live-tweet trials and research their cases online will no longer face criminal charges.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB2683 on Tuesday, repealing a law that made it a misdemeanor to disobey a judge's order to stay off electronic devices during a trial.

Jurors who can't keep away from their phones when ordered to could still face civil contempt of court penalties.

The 2011 law was prompted by a string of cases that were derailed by jurors who posted on social media.

But a group that represents California courts says criminalizing the conduct threatened jurors' constitutional rights against incriminating themselves if judges questioned them.

That made it harder for judges to question jurors about using electronics. Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova introduced AB2683 to fix the problem.

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