stories filed under: "courts"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 2nd 2009 8:46am
So we've had plenty of stories about modern technology moving into the courtroom, but the issue is usually over jury members using Twitter, using Google or using Facebook. And there was the one case that involved witnesses text messaging each other from the stand. In all of these stories, the end result is the judge getting pissed off about the fact that the tech had been brought into the courtroom. However, this latest story is really quite incredible. Apparently a judge "friended" on Facebook one of the lawyers in an ongoing case (via Michael Scott). On top of that, the judge was found to have Googled information about the defendant, and even visited the defendant's own website -- which the judge admitted influenced how he felt about the defendant. The judge later disqualified himself from the case and has now been reprimanded for these actions. Still, while I can understand a jury member doing some of these things, you would think a lawyer would know better.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 5th 2008 10:46am
from the still-can't-use-them,-though dept
It's been somewhat amusing watching as various folks overreacted to the rise of cameraphones over the past few years, with some companies banning them entirely, and a few clueless industry analysts insisting that they were just a fad that should be banned from any workplace. However, as cameraphones have become much more common, it seems that this mass hysteria is, thankfully, dying down. Over in Connecticut, they've even backed down on a rule that banned cameraphones in the court room. You're still not allowed to use them, but the courts realized now that nearly every mobile phone is a cameraphone, that it was becoming ridiculously time consuming to stop everyone from entering the courthouse, and make them tag and bag every mobile phone for storage and later pickup. Apparently, the lines to get into the courthouse were getting rather long.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 26th 2007 6:22pm
from the well,-that's-good dept
When we launched the public beta of the Techdirt Insight Community, one of the things we tried to be very careful about was the terms of service. We wanted to avoid a lot of the annoying things you find in many of the terms of service. It took two separate law firms and (not joking) one special two hour meeting explaining that the terms of service needed to actually be for the benefit of the user, rather than positioning us against the user, but eventually things worked out. One of the things the lawyers came back with initially was a clause saying that we could change the terms at any time and it was the users' responsibility to check. That seemed pretty lame. In fact, our product development team had already set up our system so that any changes to the terms alerts the user and will not allow them to login to the service without agreeing to the new terms. I'll admit that our terms still suggest that the user check the terms for changes, but it also lets them know that they'll be alerted to changes as well. It's good that we did this, because as Greg Beck alerts us, a court has ruled that websites can't unilaterally change contracts on customers and claim it's the users' responsibility to check for changes. Eric Goldman gives his take on the case as well. This is something that should be obvious, but apparently wasn't. In an age of EULAs that no one ever reads, it's good to see the courts recognizing that it may be a bit ridiculous to consider them binding -- at least in some specific cases.