iPhones Causing Mistrials? Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia Out of Order?

The New York Times (via TUAW) is reporting that the iPhone is literally causing mistrials now. Howsat?

It might be called a Google mistrial. The use of BlackBerrys and iPhones by jurors gathering and sending out information about cases is wreaking havoc on trials around the country, upending deliberations and infuriating judges.

Others were, apparently, Twittering updates during trial, or looking up information in Wikipedia [citation needed...]

Sorry, smacked my head on the desk in utter disbelief of personal entitlement these days, one moment while I recover...

Is law once again failing to keep up with technology, or are humans -- also once again -- slipping further down the slope of irresponsibility? What say we?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Strange. Every courthouse I've ever entered doesn't allow mobile devices.
  • Agree with above. Courts need to share the blame on this.
  • I wouldn't have the balls to try something like that. People should stop sucking.
  • As far as I know courts do 't allow the use if mobile communication devices. If people are sending out information in court, they are breaking the law a a jurer
  • Why are these trials allowing any communication devices of the jurors into the courtroom in the first place?
  • well I think that a juror has the right to as much information as possible when making a decision regarding someone elses life but leaking information out of the courtroom is intolerable
  • Hmm... a few thoughts.
    Trials are decided on the presentation of evidence and arguments to the court (judge, jury, etc). How is the information these jurors are looking up online supporting that end? After all, no one else can see it... or refute it. And we all know how true everything we read on the Internet is, right?
    I would tend to agree that jurors should be basing their decisions on information available (and presented) to the entire court. As much as I'm a proponent of data availability everywhere, I think the devices have to stay out of individual hands in the courtroom in order for the process to operate according to expectation and in the interest of all parties involved.
  • The last time I was on jury duty, we had to leave our BlackBerries/phones in our cars or give them to the bailiff as we came into the courtroom. No excuse for using it during a trial.
  • Why don't they just put in signal blockers?
  • I go to traffic court all the time with my iphone. Ive even streamed video from qik.