Prosecutors apparently were worried that some jurors weren't paying attention during trial and that others were using their phones to pull information about the case off the internet.
While I find it interesting that prosecutors called for the ban in Michigan, I agree that Web 2.0 presents a problem in the courtroom. Text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and e-mail can all taint the jury process.
Maybe it means we should redefine the instructions we give jurors when they report for jury duty. It's very possible that this notion that a juror should not discuss the case outside deliberations or conduct any research on his own is as useful as the Maginot Line. If we go back 15 years we wouldn't be having this discussion -- the technology didn't exist and it was more realistic to expect a juror to remain insulated. And what good does it do to prohibit the use of the devices during testimony and deliberations when a juror is just as likely to hit the internet at home?
Maybe it's time to request questionnaires in ALL cases, including the most basic misdemeanor cases. Ask the jurors whether they use social media or blog. If they do, ask them what name they use on social media sites or on blogs. Then request time to research each site listed to see if there is anything on the web that could generate a challenge for cause.
What do you think?