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Twitter, Facebook updates halt court trials

Two trials in the US have been halted after it was revealed jury members posted messages about the cases on social-networking sites.

Arkansas-based Stoam Holdings, which was ordered to pay $12.6m to investors, is appealing against the decision after it was revealed juror Johnathan Powell had 'tweeted' from his mobile phone several updates about the case to micro-blogging service Twitter. One of the 'tweets' read: "Nobody buy Stoam. It's bad mojo and they'll probably cease to exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter".

In a separate case in Philadelphia, juror Eric Wuest admitted he referred to a case he was sitting on in a number of status updates on Facebook.

Lawyers for the defence called for Wuest's removal saying he "tainted" the case but he was allowed to remain on the jury.

The two incidents mirror a similar case in the UK last year when a woman was removed from a jury at Burnley Crown Court after she updated her Facebook status to reveal details of the sexual assault and child abduction case she was sitting on.

Under UK and US law, jurors are not allowed to discuss any cases they are sitting on with their friends or family. A little bit of common sense should indicate that jurors must refrain from 'tweeting' or updating Facebook or MySpace profiles with information about the trials. However, it appears as if the digital generation have other ideas.

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