Barry Bonds and the mystery surrounding his home run explosion is back in the news as the Federal Government is (finally) set to begin their perjury trial against him, and defense lawyers for Bonds are asking the judge to keep members of jury away from the Internet, at least when it comes to discussing the case.
Though it’s normal for jurors to be prohibited from discussing trials they are presiding over, this is perhaps one of the first times the social media sites we know and love have been named directly. Included in the defense’s request are the usual suspects of social media — Twitter, Facebook, as well as Google’s and Yahoo’s chat services, among others. Without these explicit restrictions, Bonds’ defense team doesn’t believe their client will receive a fair shot when his day in court comes.
In addition to the standard instructions to avoid media coverage of the trial, the defense wants the judge to tell jurors “you must not communicate with anyone about the case by any other means, direct or indirect, such as: a writing, the telephone, e-mail, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, instant messaging, Blackberry messaging, I-Phones, I-Touches, Google, Yahoo, any internet search engine or any other form of electronic communication for any purpose whatsoever.”
Again, asking the juror to remain silent with respect to the case their responsible for is quite common, if not expected. This is, however, the first time (at least for this writer) social media sites were specifically named as disallowed communication conduits. That being said, considering the perhaps over-usage these services receive, naming them in a gag order-related request is only reasonable.