Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cali Lawyer Suspended Over Blogging While Serving as Juror

I thought the first and best article to post on my return from the illness that has knocked me off line is one where the feature had to do with lawyers and blogging.

A 40-year-old California attorney has had his law license suspended for 45 days over a trial blog he wrote while serving as a juror. Because of a blog post by Frank Russell Wilson, an appeals court reversed and remanded the felony burglary case, reports the California Bar Journal.

Although reportedly warned by the judge not to discuss the case, orally or in writing, Wilson apparently made a lawyerly distinction concerning blogs: “Nowhere do I recall the jury instructions mandating I can’t post comments in my blog about the trial," he writes, before forging on with unflattering descriptions of both the judge and the defendant. He also failed to identify himself as a lawyer to the trial participants, the bar journal notes.

Still, the whole point of blogging and texting and googling comes into play in another court of law, does it not? This is the wave of the future, and I dare say, the tide of the present. Either ride the wave like a surfer on Black's Beach, or get sucked under the powerful waters of the new reality. If you make a fool of yourself in court on a Monday, someone will blog about it on Tuesday.

You can tell jurors not to google and be as effective as telling Iranian protestors not to gather in the street. You can torch a car for insurance and while you think you were alone, a gas station video camera catches you buying the gasoline. You can fly through a red light and some computer mails you a ticket the next day after the snapshot sent an email with your license plate on it to another computer which printed out your name. You think you are alone. You are not. George Orwell is here with you. It is 1984, but it just took till 2009 to get here.

People used to write in diaries, now their unedited fortunes appear on facebook, my space, linked in, and blogs. We use the 'Net to connect with the past and link to the future. What that lawyer did in that trial was ride the wave, but he bucked the court, disobeyed the judge, and paid a price.

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