No to Twitter in the courthouse

March 05, 2010

I completely agree with the decision by Baltimore Circuit Judge Marcella A. Holland to ban using Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites inside Baltimore courthouses ("Twitter in the court," Feb. 15). I agree that our court system is based on openness to citizens and letting the average man decide, but there has to be a limit on the openness. The usual jury of 12 seems enough to give a verdict on a defendant's guilt. Bailiffs need to be there to help impose order, and of course the state and defendant need representation through legal counsel. Anyone else directly related to the case should also be allowed in. But we don't need to allow everyone free access to courtrooms, including journalists.

There's a reason that there's already a ban on cameras, cell phones, pagers and other communication devices in Baltimore courts: to protect the privacy of those involved. If you're a juror deciding on the guilt or innocence of a alleged gang member, something we have plenty of in Baltimore, do you want your face or name plastered all over the Internet or news channels, letting the rest of his gang know you're partially responsible for putting him behind bars? The thought that there may be some kind of retribution coming my way should I punish this gang member would certainly affect my decision.

By banning the media and unrelated persons who may or may not be tweeting about the proceedings from the court, it is more likely that a defendant will be given a fair, unbiased trial.

Shaun Clifford

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