COME JANUARY, before trials, California judges will admonish jurors to forgo any online research or chatter on Facebook or Twitter. The penalty for ignoring the instruction will be contempt of court charges, punishable by jail.
The new law is considered the sternest attempt yet to avoid "Google mistrials," a catch-all phrase used for verdicts overturned because jurors researched the trial online, mentioned it in social media forums or type out real-time updates in texts and tweets.
The Google mistrial is becoming a more frequent problem, according to legal researchers. Last year, the news service Reuters Legal and Westlaw, a legal research consortium, jointly published findings that jurors' Internet inquiries, blog comments and tweets had been cited by attorneys in challenging at least 90 verdicts since 2010.
>Read more about California's new law here