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Jurors In Barry Bonds' Trial May Have To Stay Off Twitter, Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Jurors chosen for baseball slugger Barry Bonds' perjury trial in San Francisco next week might have to leave their cell phones and laptops turned off for weeks.

The judge is considering this extraordinary step to make sure the jurors aren't tainted accidentally by outside information.

Jurors are not allowed to do their own research, Google the lawyers, etc.  But now judges are warning potential jurors they can't go on Twitter or Facebook either.

"It's become more of a growing trend and issue," said Dr. Joe Rice, head of the Jury Research Institute in Alamo. "It's become a very big issue in trials today."

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

Rice says what federal Judge Susan Illston is considering in the Barry Bonds trial, telling jurors they cannot use the Internet or smart phones at all because you never know what they might see by accident, is unusual.

"I think the biggest issue jurors have to understand, and I don't think the court does very well, frankly, is explain to the jurors why they shouldn't be looking at that information," Rice said.

Rice says there have been mistrials because of tweeting jurors.  Jury selection in Bonds' perjury case will begin late next week.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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