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The Guide to Live-Blogging and Tweeting From Court

These days, anyone with a phone and a Twitter account has all the tools they need to provide real-time coverage of court proceedings. The courts are now coming to grips with this reality, and are slowly issuing guidance and rules to govern those who might wish to "live-blog" or tweet from court. In fact, some courts have banned the practice altogether. As I wrote here, a federal court in Georgia ruled last month in United States v. Shelnutt (M.D. Ga. Nov. 2), that Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits “tweeting” from the courtroom.

Cmlp The many interpretations and standing orders that are now emerging from courts around the country on this subject have created a confusing situation for would-be court tweeters, but yesterday things became a lot clearer thanks to the Citizen Media Law Project. On its blog, the CMLP announced yesterday that it has created and will now be maintaining a guide to live-blogging and tweeting from court. This new guide provides step-by-step guidelines to help people "avoid legal trouble if you intend to provide live coverage of court proceedings through Twitter, live-blogging or other social media tools." CMLP's suggestions include checking the appropriate court's local rules and standing orders, contacting the court's public information officer, or even contacting the court or its staff directly.

In addition, CMLP has compiled a growing list of courts and judges that are known to have previously allowed live-blogging in their courtrooms.

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 11, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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